Baber has steadfast Spirit

Randy Russon
March 6, 2020

He is a valuable depth player, a third or fourth center on a high-octane Saginaw Spirit squad that is in a furious chase for first place in the Western Conference of the Ontario Hockey League.

And as Saginaw skates it out with the London Knights, Kitchener Rangers and Spirit arch-rival Flint Firebirds for the top four seed spots in what is the Western sandwich of the OHL, Camaryn Baber is someone who can be counted on for maximum effort.

Perusing through a smattering of quotes from Saginaw coach Chris Lazary relative to Baber and his value to the Spirit speaks volumes about the 18-year old Sault Ste. Marie native.

“He is our undercover MVP … We never have to worry about Cam being ready to play … He accepts his role with us and gives us 100 per cent effort at all times … Cam is the epitome of a true team player through and through … His stats do not come close to defining his value to our team,” are just a few of the phrases of praise that Lazary has used over this season and last to describe Baber, who is in his second full season in Saginaw after an 11-game OHL debut with the Spirit back during the 2017-2018 campaign.

The second of two third-round picks by Saginaw general manager Dave Drinkill at the 2017 OHL priority selections draft, Baber has gone from star player with Soo teams at the Great North Midget Hockey League and Northern Ontario Jr. Hockey League levels to more of a secondary role with the Spirit.

But that is more about the full cupboard of star forward talent that Drinkill has stocked for Saginaw, which is one of the more explosive and exciting teams in the entire 20-team OHL.

Saginaw’s scoring machine features the phenomenal Cole Perfetti, who is poised to be a first round pick at this year’s National Hockey League draft. Then there is center Ryan Suzuki, who was acquired by Saginaw from the Barrie Colts at this year’s OHL trade deadline after being a first-round NHL draft pick by the Carolina Hurricanes in 2019.

And if that isn’t enough, the Spirit also boasts three other top point producing, NHL draft picks on its roster in wingers Cole Coskey (New York Islanders) and Damien Giroux (Minnesota Wild) and center Blade Jenkins (New York Islanders.)

Then there is Baber, who just goes out and does his job and is always ready to go when his coach taps him on the shoulder for a turn of duty.

Through 57 games of the 2019-2020 OHL season, Baber has netted nine goals, 17 assists, 26 points. This, after putting up the exact same totals — nine goals, 17 assists, 26 points in 59 games with Saginaw prior to this season.

A comparison to his good friend and Saginaw teammate, the aforementioned Cole Perfetti, is an indicator of how much more scoring opportunities the latter has had this season.

That is, Baber has taken 91 shots on goal (and scored nine times.) Meantime, Perfetti has taken a whopping 238 shots on goal (and scored 36 times.)

And as Perfetti is an undisputed OHL superstar, his Spirit buddy Baber merely goes out on to the ice every game and performs his tasks to the best of his unyielding ability.

PHOTO: Camaryn Baber of the Saginaw Spirit takes a smack to the chops from Jaden Peca of the Soo Greyhounds. (Photo by Eric Young.)

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