Blackhawks Confidential

Barker traded to Minnesota as Blackhawks fail with a first-rounder

barkertrade.jpgLet's look back at the 2004 NHL draft and how it has affected the current state of affairs.

Washington takes forward Alexander Ovechkin No. 1. Not too bad, perched for a Stanley Cup bid this year.

Pittsburgh takes forward Evgeni Malkin No. 2. Not too bad, seeking to repeat as Cup champs.

Chicago takes defenseman Cam Barker No. 3. Not too hot, as it turns out, especially when the Capitals had three first-round picks and used the final one lower down to select defenseman Mike Green, who has 58 points (27 on the power play) to Barker's 14 points (6 on the power play).

While coach Joel Quenneville teased us the last couple days with the prospect of putting Barker back at the point more regularly on the power play this weekend, it turns out that Barker's shrinking ice time was really more the point all along.

The Hawks did what had long been expected and traded him Friday afternoon before the NHL froze their rosters heading into the Olympic break. Barker goes to Minnesota in return for defenseman Kim Johnsson and a prospect in Nick Leddy, who was a first-round pick for the Wild in 2009.

That rids the Hawks of Barker's salary cap burden of $3,083,333 and a contract in which he is signed through 2012. Johnsson's deal expires after this season.

But I think it tells you everything you need to know that the Hawks don't mind running into Barker quite often in the future when he plays for the Wild. His one-time promise faded and the snafu last summer of not getting offers to free agents on time, leading to some awfully big paydays as a result to avoid embarrassment, may indeed have been the last straw for the stewardship of Dale Tallon as GM.

To pay Barker so handsomely and have him disappear so steadily as this season progressed, to the point he was seldom seen or heard, is not a business decision that would fly very well under the strict demeanor of team president John McDonough.

Whether this move frees enough salary space for GM Stan Bowman to now pursue other needs and make another trade before the March 3 deadline will be debated for the next couple weeks as we step back and make way for the Olympics.

Barker seemed like a good guy and losing good guys is always done with a tinge of sadness. But this championship train is not waiting for guys to catch up and jump on later, and as Quenneville has noted, Barker never really got started this season.

Sometimes it's not how you finish, the way athletes like to say, but how you start. Barker is going to finish nowhere this season with the likes of Minnesota, because he could never find the ignition this time around.



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Hostile Hawk said:


It is sad, but it had to be done. Im sure he gets better and has a few really strong seasons in the near future, but the Hawks couldn't wait for that.

beaverwarrior said:


Does mean Niklas Hjalmarsson will be getting an new contract soon?

fattybeef said:

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hes a restricted free agent this summer so as long as they send an offer in time and dont biff that again they shouldnt have to pay him that big of a pile of money reletively speaking

fanof19 said:

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Then Bowman better be looking over his shoulder, because Al MacIsaac wants that job. Maybe AMcI does what Bowman did and holds the offer back......He may have learned from the best on that...I'm just sayin......

SouthSideHawkMan said:


Going into that draft I was extremely disaapointed that they missed out on the great Ovie, and I waited and wait for Barker, injuries, contract issues and last year he finally arrived and played pretty good. Cannon for a shot, great on the PK and had a solid playoffs. However, Baker's defense is average at best he was and always will be a victim of his draft status and paycheck. I hope he puts it all together in Minn.

SouthSideHawkMan said:


LOL sorry I meant PP not PK

borg said:


Barker has a big, accurate shot and that's about it. I'm not sure he's above-average at anything else. He could be hidden as a #4-6 D-man on a team like the Hawks. If the Wild are expecting him to be a top 3 guy, they're in for a rude awakening.

cubby23(eric) said:


Give it time, Barker is young (less than 300 NHL games as a d-man). With more ice time and responsibility, he'll either flourish or become trade bait for Minnesota. Plus, they want offense from him and that plays to his strength, if they get any defense it's a bonus.

VegasHawksFan said:


Seems like the Wild and the Hawks are both admitting a mistake on a first round draft pick. This is probably a silly thing to wonder about, but I wonder if the Hawks, as an organization, has reached a point where they are strong enough to develop young talent. After this year when the Hawks will need to dump salary, I think the question becomes more important.

As for this trade, it seems pretty good to me. We got exactly what you would want to get, a journeyman D guy who should be able to help this year and a prospect that may also turn out down the road. Barks did seem like a decent guy and you hate to lose character. Still, though it may hurt when and if he does have a breakout year, the Hawks have needs and salary issues to address right now. Good luck to him against every team but us, and hopefully the mouthbreathers screaming obscenities at him on ice will shut up when he returns with the Wild.

cubby23(eric) said:


Barker wasn't going to get top-4 minutes here, but watch him flourish in Minnesota. It's one of those things that when Campbell was signed I think most knew the Hawks would be dealing a few d-men away due to cap constraints. Wiz was the first and now Barker is gone as well.

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