Stu Barnes was a minor-league hockey sensation in the province of Alberta. From the time he was ten years old, a celebrated pee-wee player scorching goalies from the mountains to the prairies, people talked about him being a star scorer in the NHL. In junior he continued to put up big numbers--386 points in three WHL seasons, capturing MVP honours in 1989.
When he made the transition to the big league, first with Winnipeg, the team that originaly drafted him back in 1989 and then with Florida, his duties were suddenly a checker, filling a role by stopping the other team's best players. After a trade to Pittsburgh in 1996, Barnes, with the retirement of Mario Lemieux who has since returned to the Penguins, was given a chance to return to his offensive game, playing on a line with Jaromir Jagr. The one-time defensive specialist responded with a thirty-goal season, reminding hockey fans in Alberta of the time when everybody was talking about the kid from Spruce Grove.
In 1988-89, his goal total slipped down to 20 and he was subsequently dealt to the Buffalo Sabres. Barnes went on to play three full seasons with the Sabres before being dealt to the Dallas Stars midway through the 2002-03 season. Upon his arrival with the Stars, Barnes has gone on to surpass the 800 games played plateau and during the 2003-04 season notched his 500th NHL point.
On the international stage, Barnes represented his homeland at the 1990 World Junior Championships and went on to play one season with Canada's National Team in 1990-91.