2009-10: Riley Barber skated for the Compuware U16 midget minor team in Michigan. In 38 games he scored 16 goals with 22 assists and had 28 penalty minutes. Barber was selected by the Dubuque Fighting Saints with the first overall pick in the 2010 USHL Futures Draft.
2010-11: Barber played for USHL champion Dubuque and represented the USA in two U17 tournaments. In 57 regular season games for the Fighting Saints he scored 14 goals with 14 assists and was minus-14 with 48 penalty minutes. Dubuque finished first in the Western Division and defeated Green Bay in the playoff finals. Barber scored 2 goals and had 6 penalty minutes in 11 playoff games. In August he had 1 goal and 1 assist in four games as the US squad won the Five Nations U17 tournament in Switzerland and he had 1 goal with 1 assist in three games as the team captured the 2011 Vlad Dzurilla U18 tournament in Slovakia.
2011-12: Barber joined the US National Development Team Program in Ann Arbor and was the third-leading scorer for the NDTP’s U18 team. In 60 games he scored 21 goals with 15 assists and had 85 penalty minutes. In six games at the 2012 U18 World Junior Championship, Barber scored 1 goal with 2 assists and was plus-two with 2 penalty minutes. The USA won its fourth straight U18 championship. In his second year of draft eligibility, he was ranked 86th amongst North American skaters in Central Scouting’s final rankings and selected by Washington in the sixth round (167th overall) of the 2012 NHL Draft.
2012-13: Barber was the second-leading scorer for CCHA regular season champion Miami in his freshman season and won a gold medal skating for the USA in the 2013 World Junior Championship. In 40 games with the RedHawks he scored 15 goals with 24 assists and was +12 with 22 penalty minutes. After finishing first in the final season of the CCHA, Miami was upset by Michigan in the CCHA semifinals. The RedHawks defeated Minnesota State before falling to St. Cloud State, 4-1, in the NCAA Midwest Regional final. Skating on a line with Montreal prospect Alex Galchenyuk and Miami teammate Sean Kuraly (San Jose) at the WJC, Barber scored 3 goals with 3 assists in seven games and was +1 with 4 penalty minutes.
2013-14: Barber was once again the second-leading scorer for Miami University in his sophomore season with the RedHawks and was a team captain for the USA U20 team in his second World Juniors tournament. In 38 regular season games he scored 19 goals with 25 assists for 44 points, three behind team leader Austin Czarnik. He was +6 and had 28 penalty minutes as the RedHawks finished last in the first season of the National Collegiate Hockey Conference. Miami swept first-place St. Cloud State and shutout North Dakota to reach the NCHC championship game, falling short of an automatic NCAA bid after falling to Denver, 4-3. Barber scored 4 goals with 2 assists and was +1 with no penalties in five games at the WJC. The USA finished fifth after a 5-3 loss to Russia in the quarterfinals.
Barber was an underrated sixth-round draftee in the 2012 NHL Entry draft. He has average size and possesses a very solid all-around game. His offensive instincts are very strong and he has been a consistent scorer He has played in all situations at Miami University since his freshman season and captained the USA U20 team at the 2014 World Junior Championship. Barber's overall skating and technical skills are only above average — and his limited physical abilities are viewed as liabilities by some scouts; the perception exists that while he's been successful against younger players and in college hockey his upside is limited.
Barber is in his junior season at Miami University in 2014-15 and is once again one of the top scorers in college hockey. He has continued to mature physically while developing his technical skills during his career with the RedHawks; complementing his top rate anticipatory skills and a high level of competitiveness. Barber will likely have a tough decision to make following the season — whether to turn pro or return to Miami for his senior season. Long-term questions exist about his ability to translate his college success to the pro level. At the minimum, while he may not score with the consistency he has in the past Barber should be a valuable two-way forward at the NHL level one day.