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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Barker on waivers, will be bought out

Posted by: Michael Russo under Wild off-season news Updated: June 30, 2011 - 11:27 AM

UPDATED WITH DEPTH CHART BELOW

Wild defenseman Cam Barker has just been placed on unconditional waivers for the purposes of buying him out as long as he clears Friday at 11 a.m..

As I described on yesterday's blog, there were ways the Wild could drag this out another month. But by doing so, that would be unfair to Barker. If bought out now, Barker can become an unrestricted free agent Friday and find a new home. If the Wild drags this out another month, Barker can find himself in a tough spot to find a gig.

Because Barker is 25, he'll be bought out for one-third his $3.25 million salary -- $1.083 million. Instead of the Wild being charged a $3.083 million salary-cap hit for Barker next season, a buyout will decrease the cap charge to $375,000 next season and $541,667 for 2012-03.

This is quite the fall for Barker, who was drafted after Alex Ovechkin and Evgeni Malkin third overall in 2004. The Wild had been trying to trade Barker for some time. In 71 games with the Wild after being acquired from Chicago before the Feb. 2010 Olympics for Nick Leddy and Kim Johnsson, Barker scored two goals and 10 assists, and was minus-12.

Mike Commodore and Sheldon Souray are also on unconditional waivers for the purposes of being bought out.


Wild Depth Chart

Here's a look at the Wild's depth chart for next season as it stands today. The TBDs indicate open spots that either need to be filled through the promotion of Wild prospects or external acquisitions (free agency or trades). Below each player are his 2011-12 salary and 2011-12 salary-cap hit. The salary-cap ceiling for next season is $64.3 million.

FORWARDS

Line 1: Pierre-Marc Bouchard ($4.25 million salary, $4.08M salary cap hit); Mikko Koivu ($7.29M, $6.75M); Devin Setoguchi ($2.75M; $3M)

Line 2: Guillaume Latendresse ($2.6M, $2.5M); Kyle Brodziak ($1.3M, $1.15M); Martin Havlat ($5M, $5M)

Line 3: Darroll Powe (RFA); Matt Cullen ($3.5M, $3.5M); Cal Clutterbuck ($1.5M, $1.4M)

Line 4: Eric Nystrom ($1.4M, $1.4M); TBD; Brad Staubitz ($600K, $575K)

TBD; TBD

Note: Two or three spots are open depending on if the Wild keeps 13 or 14 forwards, or seven or eight defensemen.

Vying for spots: Colton Gillies, Casey Wellman, Cody Almond, James Sheppard, Carson McMillan, Matt Kassian.

Restricted free agents: Powe, Wellman, Sheppard, Gillies, Jarod Palmer

Unrestricted free agents: Andrew Brunette, John Madden, Antti Miettinen, Chuck Kobasew, Patrick O’Sullivan

Minor league unrestricted free agents: Robbie Earl, Jed Ortmeyer.

DEFENSEMEN

Pair 1: Nick Schultz ($3.6 million salary, $3.5M salary cap hit); Marek Zidlicky ($4M, $4M)

Pair 2: Greg Zanon ($2.1M, $1.933M); Jared Spurgeon ($535K, $527K)

Pair 3: Clayton Stoner ($575K, $550K); TBD

TBD; TBD

Note: Two or three spots are open depending on if the Wild keeps 13 or 14 forwards.

Vying for spots: Marco Scandella, Nate Prosser, Justin Falk.

Restricted free agents: Falk, Jeff Penner.

Unrestricted free agent: Cam Barker*

Minor-league unrestricted free agent: Drew Bagnall.

* As long as Barker clears waivers Friday.

GOALIES

Starter: Niklas Backstrom ($6 million salary, $6M salary cap hit)

Backup: TBD

Note: One spot is open.

Vying for spots: Dennis Endras.

Unrestricted free agents: Jose Theodore, Josh Harding.

SALARY BREAKDOWN

• Actual 2011-12 payroll (as of today): $48,469,445

• Salary cap hit: $47,168,111

Notes: Includes bought-out Mark Parrish’s $927,778 payoff and cap hit and soon-to-be-bought-out Cam Barker $541,667 payoff and $375,000 cap hit.

This total also includes the 16 of a possible 23 players. So this doesn’t include Powe, the youngsters vying for the team or possible free-agent or trade acquisitions. Obviously the payroll and salary-cap hits are in actuality higher because Powe will be signed and players like Gillies, Scandella, etc., will be on the team.

 

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