|Position: Right Wing
Born: May 4, 1973
Birthplace: Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
Height: 6'0" Weight: 188 lbs.
Drafted by Buffalo, 4th Round, 83rd Overall, 1992
NHL Entry Draft
Seasons with Buffalo: 1992-93 to 1998-99
Uniform Number: 36
|In seven seasons with the Buffalo Sabres, Matthew Barnaby was both the team's most popular player and it's most despised. His stay in Buffalo was a roller coaster ride unlike any other in team history. During his tenure, he was at the forefront of both the team's highest high, and it's lowest low.
The best way to describe Matthew Barnaby as a player is as the game's ultimate pest. His style of play is in your face, agressive to the point of infuriation. He's brash, cocky and arrogant. He taunts opposing players, talks trash, and fights just about anyone who will pay attention to him long enough to drop the gloves. There's very little middle ground where he's concerned. Barnaby's fans love him. Everyone else in and around the league can't stand him.
Whether you love him or hate him, it's undeniable that Matthew Barnaby remains one of the most interesting and unpredictable characters in the National Hockey League.
|Matthew Barnaby fought his way into the NHL, both literally and figuratively. He was cut from his midget team twice by the time he was sixteen. Rather than give up his childhood dream, he persevered, and continued to develop his skills. In 1990, at seventeen, Barnaby entered the junior draft. Again, he nearly didn't make the cut. Barnaby was the last player taken in that year's draft, taken by the Beauport Harfangs of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League in the 20th Round, 240th overall.|
|Barnaby finished out his junior career in 1992-93, playing 65 games with three different teams. In that time he ammassed another 448 penalty minutes, but also managed to score another 44 goals and 111 points. He also made his NHL debut with the Sabres on April 13, 1993 against the Montreal Canadiens. He continued to show signs of the offensive prowess he displayed in the juniors, scoring his first NHL goal two nights later, as he beat Tommy Soderstrom of the Philadelphia Flyers. He added an assist in his sole playoff appearance that year.|
|penalty minutes. He also came alive offensively, scoring 15 goals and 31 points. With his agressiveness, willingness to fight and ability to score, Barnaby was well on his way to becoming a fan favorite in Buffalo. He was also on his way to becoming one of the most hated players in the league, as his constant chatter annoyed opposing players, often to the point of drawing careless penalties.
The following season, 1996-97, Barnaby continued his offensive improvement, netting a career-high 19 goals and 43
|Things took a turn for the worse in the off season, as a much publicized dispute in the Sabres' front office resulted in the departure of Ted Nolan fron the club. Barnaby, a staunch Nolan supporter, blamed Dominik Hasek for much of what had transpired. He went so far as to announce that he would run the superstar goaltender at the upcoming training camp. Nothing came of the threats, however, as with the best interests of the team in mind, Barnaby and Hasek settled for an uneasy truce.|
|Resigned to the fact that he would be staying in Buffalo, Barnaby refocused in time for the 1998 Playoffs. In the post-season, Barnaby regained his 1996-97 form as he led the Sabres to the Eastern Conference Finals. His 13 points was tied with Donald Audette for the team lead. He led the team with 7 goals. He also recorded his first career hat trick, scoring the last three goals of the Sabres 6-3 win in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals against the Montreal Canadiens. Barnaby was possibly the Sabres' best player in the post-season, and for the time being all the ills of the 1997 off-season seemed to be water under the bridge.|
|Small even by junior standards at 5'8" 140 pounds, Barnaby knew he wouldn't make the team based on his size, speed or skill. He needed something to give him an edge. At the team's training camp, Barnaby fought anyone he could get his hands on. In the two day camp, Barnaby was involved in a dozen fights, many with players well bigger than him. The coaches rewarded his tenacity with a spot on the team, and from there he kept on fighting anyone who came along.
Barnaby continued his scrappy ways throughout his junior career. In 1990-91, Barnaby racked up over 250 penalty minutes in just 52 games. In 1991-92, he nearly doubled that mark, leading the QMJHL with 476 penalty minutes. Despite spending so much time in the penalty box, that year Barnaby showed another dimension to his game. He scored 29 goals and 37 assists, and showed that he could do more than just fight. By the time the 1991-92 season ended, Barnaby was eligible for the NHL Entry Draft. This time, he didn't have to wait until the last overall pick, or even the last round of the draft. Barnaby was selected 83rd overall, in the fourth round by the Buffalo Sabres.
|Barnaby started the 1993-94 season in Buffalo. He scored the team's first goal of the season, a power play goal in the season opener, October 7, 1993 in Boston. Two nights later he posted his first NHL assist. Barnaby was sent down to the Rochester Americans, Buffalo's affiliate in the American Hockey League early in the season to receive more steady ice time. In Rochester, Barnaby played in 42 games during the season, scoring 10 goals and adding 32 assists. He amassed 153 penalty minutes, leading all Amerks rookies. Through various callups, he played 35 games for the Sabres that year, and spent 106 minutes in the box, while scoring 2 goals and 6 points. At the end of the season, the Amerks Booster Club voted him their Most Popular Player.
Offensively, Barnaby fared no better in the strike-shortened 1995 season, again splitting time between Buffalo and Rochester. In 23 NHL games that year, he totalled only one goal and one assist. Despite having played in less than half of the team's games, his 116 penalty minutes was second best on the team behind only Rob Ray.
1995-96 was Barnaby's first full season with the Sabres. He flourished under the direction of first-year coahc Ted Nolan, whose tough, agressive style matched Barnaby's own playing style. In 73 games, Barnaby posted a league-leading 335
|points as the Sabres turned in an impressive season, winning the Northeast Division, and advancing to the second round of the playoffs for the first time since 1993. Barnaby was one of the most popular players on the team, and one of it's rising stars. Everything seemed to be heading in the right direction for him that year.|
|For Barnaby, the 1997-98 season was as tumultous as the off-season that had preceeded it. Early in the season, he asked to be traded, but reconsidered before a deal could be made. He again led the team in penalty minutes with 289, but failed to match his offensive numbers of the previous two seasons, scoring only 5 goals and 25 points. Unhappy with the situation in Buffalo, and his own poor production, Barnaby again asked to be traded as the trade deadline approached. GM Darcy Regier stated he would honor the request, but decided against it when the right deal didn't present itself.|
|Barnaby's 1998-99 season bore a closer resemblance to the 1997-98 regular season than the 1998 Playoffs. He struggled once again on and off the ice. The Sabres organization, and many of the Buffalo fans, were tired of Barnaby's antics. At the All-Star break, Barnaby was once again asking to be traded. This time, the right deal did come along for Darcy Regier, and Matthew Barnaby's career as a Sabre was over. On March 11, 1999, Barnaby was traded to the Pittsburgh Penguins for center Stu Barnes.
As a Penguin, Barnaby continued to play the same style of agressive, irritating hockey that got him into the League and made him one of it's biggest villians. His numbers improved in his one full season there, but he was unable to match his production from the 1996-97 season, which remains his best season in the NHL. He still has yet to realize the offensive potential that he showed as a junior.
Mid way through the 2000-01 season, Barnaby was traded again, this time to the Tampa Bay Lightning for fellow former Sabre Wayne Primeau. He finished the season with Tampa Bay, and once again led the NHL in penalty minutes, compiling 265 minutes in penalties between the two teams.
Barnaby began the 2001-02 season with Tampa Bay, and played in the team's first 29 games without scoring a point. On December 17, 2001, the Lightning traded Matthew Barnaby to the New York Rangers of left wing Zdeno Ciger. Barnaby made his New York Rangers debut two nights later in Buffalo against the Sabres at the HSBC Arena. Barnaby finished the 2001-02 season with the Rangers. He had 8 goals and 13 assists and finished with 214 penalty minutes, the 5th highest total in the league.