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 is an overachiever in every sense of the word. A sixth round pick back in 2012, he has exceeded expectations every step of the way. In three years at Miami (Ohio), he is consistently been one of the better scorers in college hockey and impressed on the international stage with Team USA. While Barber does not have outstanding physical gifts, he has scored consistently at every level and plays a strong two-way game. Barber also has the makings of a future leader, having captained the World Junior Championships team for the United States in 2014.
After a highly successful career at Miami (Ohio), Barber appears to be ready to make the jump to professional hockey. His strong two-way game and consistent scoring should find him a regular spot with Hershey in 2015-16. Going forward, Barber will likely need at least another year of seasoning in the AHL before he is ready to challenge for a roster spot in Washington. At best, he could be a quality top six winger who plays a strong all-around game. At worst, he can be a very good third-line option.