Friday, February 12, 2010

Blackhawks trade Barker to Wild

The Chicago Blackhawks have traded defenseman Cam Barker to the Minnesota Wild for defenseman Kim Johnsson and 2009 first round pick Nick Leddy.
Kim Johnsson gives the Blackhawks some much needed playoff experience at the back end and is a good puck mover who should fit into the Hawks high flying transition game. He currently has six goals and eight assists in 52 games this season. Another notable factor for this trade is that Johnsson is slated to become a UFA at seasons end and will give the Hawks some cap relief.

Nick Leddy was selected 16th overall by the Wild in the 2009 NHL entry draft. He played for Eden Prairie (Minn.) High School last season and was the winner of Minnesota's prestigious "Mr. Hockey" award. He currently plays for the University of Minnesota.

The 23 year old Barker was the third overall pick in the 2004 NHL entry draft behind Ovechkin and Malkin. In 51 games this season Barker has four goals and ten assists and is +7. The 6'3, 215 pound Barker is in his first year of a three year $9.25 million deal. Barker was one of the Blackhawk players who was involved in the infamous Dale Tallon contract paperwork debacle, which forced them to, perhaps, overpay on few contracts.

Barker really broke out last season with the Hawks, he had six goals and 40 points in 68 games and averaged 18:20 of ice time per game. He also had 29 points while on the powerplay and was a solid top four defenseman. This year however, it has been a much different situation. Barker has seen his ice time drop significantly from 18:20 last year to just 13:05 this year. With the emergence of Nik Hjalmarsson, Barker became a number five or six defenseman for Chicago. With the Hawks recent resigning of Toews, Kane, and Kieth, something had to give and Barker was clearly the odd man out.

This is a trade that could work out for both teams. The Wild get a big and very skilled defenseman, while the Hawks bolster their blueline for the playoffs. The Blackhawks also improve their cap situation and get a very good prospect in Nick Leddy.

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