Coming into the 2010-2011 season, Mark Barberio did not know if he was going to start the year in the AHL or ECHL. With a strong showing and a little luck, Coach Cooper saw the drive and passion that kept the Montreal native on the opening night roster for the Norfolk Admirals.
The young offensive-minded defenseman played limited minutes for Coach Cooper during the 2010-2011 season because of the veteran depth on the Admirals blue line. Barbs would often be paired with Troy Milam, an AHL seasoned veteran who also had an offensive mindset. Barbs posted 9 goals and 22 helpers in 68 games during his rookie campaign.
Mark Barberio shows similarities to that of Mike Green who plays for the Washington Capitals. They both have a “pass first” mentality and have superb puck handling skills for defenseman. They both are often called upon to quarterback the power play.
Going into the 2011-2012 season, Barberio was relied on more and was often put on the 1st defensive pairing because of his offensive skill set. Barberio saw his numbers double by racking up 48 assists and amassing 13 goals. He showcased his talents in the 2012 AHL All-star game and was named a starter. Along with collecting the Calder Cup with the Admirals, he also collected the Eddie Shore Award that is given to the AHL Defenseman of the Year.
Barberio has a play-style that Tampa Coach Guy Boucher utilizes on a nightly basis. The 2008 draft pick projects as a play making defenseman who can be utilized on both the penalty kill and the power play. The competition always has to be aware of Barberio since his accurate shot makes him a danger on the blue line. If he works hard enough during Lightning training camp, it will be hard for the Lightning brass to send him back to the minors for the 2012-2013 campaign.