Michael Russo has covered the National Hockey League since 1995. He has covered the Minnesota Wild for the Star Tribune since 2005, after 10 years of covering the Florida Panthers for the Sun-Sentinel. He uses “Russo’s Rants” to feed a wide-ranging hockey-centric discussion with readers, and can be heard weekly on KFAN (100.3 FM) radio and seen weekly on Fox Sports North.

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Cam Barker on waivers, buyout possible

Posted by: Michael Russo under Wild off-season news, Wild player moves Updated: June 28, 2011 - 11:55 AM

According to sources, the Wild placed defenseman Cam Barker on waivers at 11 a.m. -- the first necessary step to likely buying him out. If he clears, it'll be 11 a.m. Wednesday. Then he'd have to run through waivers again to be bought out.

As reported by the Star Tribune on June 3, the Wild was seriously considering buying out Barker because of a clause in the collective bargaining agreement. Because he is under 26, the Wild can buy him out for one-third (rather than two-thirds) his $3.25 million salary through the first buyout period June 30.

That's a $1.083 million payoff. By doing this, instead of having a $3.083 million cap hit next season, the Wild would be charged a $375,000 cap hit next season and $541,667 cap hit in 2012-13.

Barker's agent, J.P. Barry, met with Chuck Fletcher this past weekend in a hope of convincing the GM to give Barker one final chance. In other words, if Barker didn't prove himself this season, just don't qualify him next summer when he's due to become a restricted free agent.

The 25-year-old defenseman, the former No. 3 overall pick in 2004, has struggled in parts of two seasons with Minnesota. The hard-shooting but erratic blue-liner began to play better in the second half until a back injury caused him to miss 21 of the final 22 games.
 
Barker, if bought out, would become an unrestricted free agent Friday.
 
Fletcher won't comment today, but the Wild will only say this doesn't mean it's definitely buying him out because he's just on regular waivers.
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