Wild puts Barker on waivers; will buyout be next?

  • Article by: MICHAEL RUSSO , Star Tribune
  • Updated: June 28, 2011 - 10:14 PM

The defenseman was key to the Nick Leddy trade but has struggled in Minnesota.


Wild defenseman Cam Barker (right)

Photo: Charles Rex Arbogast, Associated Press

CameraStar Tribune photo galleries

Cameraview larger

The Wild might be close to cutting the cord on Cam Barker, the player who was supposed to make Wild fans forget about former Minnesota Mr. Hockey Nick Leddy.

With the 20-year-old former Wild first-round draft pick already playing for the Chicago Blackhawks, the Wild placed Barker, the player for whom Leddy was traded, on waivers Tuesday.

With speculation all month that the Wild was thinking about buying out Barker's contract if it couldn't trade the 25-year-old defenseman, this might be the first step toward that end.

If Barker clears waivers at 11 a.m. Wednesday, the Wild could immediately place him on unconditional waivers.

If he passes through that unclaimed, the Wild could cut ties with him by Thursday's buyout deadline. That would make Barker an unrestricted free agent Friday. With a number of teams below the $48.3 million salary-cap floor, the Wild clearly is hoping somebody puts in a claim.

General Manager Chuck Fletcher declined to comment Tuesday, other than to say this doesn't necessarily mean he's buying Barker out. Out of sensitivity for Barker, Fletcher recently has declined to discuss the February 2010 trade of Leddy and Kim Johnsson for Barker, other than to routinely praise Leddy, an Eden Prairie native and former Gophers defenseman.

At the time of the trade, the Wild was trying to push for a playoff spot and Fletcher was searching for a young defenseman who could contribute right away.

Barker is five years older than Leddy, had scored 40 points the year before and was the third overall pick in the 2004 draft. "He hopefully can be a part of our group for a long time," Fletcher said then.

But Barker has struggled in parts of two seasons with Minnesota. He has been erratic defensively with costly turnovers and poor footwork. He began to play better during last year's second half until a back injury caused him to miss 21 of the final 22 games. In 71 games with the Wild, Barker has two goals and 10 assists, has taken only 75 shots and has a minus-12 rating. Leddy played 46 games with the Blackhawks last season.

If Barker goes unclaimed twice through waivers, the Wild could buy out Barker at one-third of his $3.25 million salary as opposed to two-thirds because he's younger than 26 years old. That would cost the Wild $1.083 million and it also would decrease his salary-cap hit from $3.083 million to $375,000 next season and $541,667 in 2012-13.

Barker's agent, J.P. Barry, met with Fletcher last weekend in a hope of persuading the GM to give Barker one final chance. Barry could not be reached for comment Tuesday.

With Brent Burns traded to San Jose and Barker potentially gone, the Wild's back end might be young next year. Veterans Marek Zidlicky, Nick Schultz and Greg Zanon could be joined by Jared Spurgeon, Clayton Stoner and likely Marco Scandella.

Nate Prosser and Justin Falk also will vie for spots, while the Wild might look for at least one NHL defenseman via free agency or trade.

Brunette's travels

Think Andrew Brunette is stressing out heading into Friday's free agency?

Brunette and his wife flew to London on Tuesday to meet up with Wild goalie Niklas Backstrom and his girlfriend for a vacation.

The couples have tickets for Wimbledon on Thursday through Sunday.

"I can't wait until Friday," said Brunette, talking about the men's semifinal -- not free agency. "I want to see [Roger] Federer. A Federer-[Rafael] Nadal final would be great."

As of now, Brunette figures his second stint with the Wild is over. "I'm guessing so because I haven't heard anything, so it feels like it anyway," Brunette said.

Brunette, 37, has scored 256 goals and 706 points in 1,032 games, playing all 82 games in seven of the past eight seasons.

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions


Los Angeles - LP: C. Frias 2 FINAL
Colorado - WP: J. De La Rosa 16
San Francisco - WP: S. Romo 4 FINAL
Arizona - LP: A. Reed 2
Boston - LP: C. Buchholz 1 FINAL
Pittsburgh - WP: F. Liriano 9
Toronto - LP: J. Happ 1 FINAL
Baltimore - WP: B. Norris 6
Washington - LP: R. Detwiler 1 FINAL
Atlanta - WP: A. Wood 3
Miami - WP: H. Alvarez 4 FINAL
NY Mets - LP: D. Gee 3
NY Yankees - WP: B. McCarthy 3 FINAL
Tampa Bay - LP: A. Cobb 2
Cincinnati - LP: D. Corcino 1 FINAL
Chicago Cubs - WP: K. Hendricks 3
Chicago WSox - LP: C. Sale 2 FINAL
Kansas City - WP: Y. Ventura 6
Cleveland - WP: C. Carrasco 2 FINAL
Houston - LP: B. Oberholtzer 0
Detroit - LP: D. Price 4 FINAL
Minnesota - WP: K. Gibson 8
Milwaukee - LP: M. Fiers 0 FINAL
St. Louis - WP: A. Wainwright 2
Seattle - LP: J. Paxton 0 FINAL
LA Angels - WP: C. Wilson 5
Texas - WP: R. Ross Jr. 6 FINAL
Oakland - LP: S. Doolittle 1
Philadelphia - WP: C. Hamels 5 FINAL
San Diego - LP: E. Stults 2
Tampa Bay 7:25 PM
San Diego 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Dallas 9/21/14 12:00 PM
St. Louis
Washington 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Houston 9/21/14 12:00 PM
NY Giants
Minnesota 9/21/14 12:00 PM
New Orleans
Tennessee 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Baltimore 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Green Bay 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Indianapolis 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Oakland 9/21/14 12:00 PM
New England
San Francisco 9/21/14 3:05 PM
Denver 9/21/14 3:25 PM
Kansas City 9/21/14 3:25 PM
Pittsburgh 9/21/14 7:30 PM
Chicago 9/22/14 7:30 PM
NY Jets
(5) Auburn 6:30 PM
(20) Kansas State
Connecticut 9/19/14 7:00 PM
So Florida
Old Dominion 9/20/14 11:00 AM
Troy 9/20/14 11:00 AM
(13) Georgia
Georgia Tech 9/20/14 11:00 AM
Virginia Tech
Eastern Mich 9/20/14 11:00 AM
(11) Michigan State
Iowa 9/20/14 11:00 AM
Bowling Green 9/20/14 11:00 AM
(19) Wisconsin
Maryland 9/20/14 11:30 AM
Tulane 9/20/14 11:30 AM
Hawaii 9/20/14 1:00 PM
Marshall 9/20/14 1:00 PM
North Carolina 9/20/14 2:30 PM
East Carolina
Army 9/20/14 2:30 PM
Wake Forest
Virginia 9/20/14 2:30 PM
(21) BYU
(6) Texas A&M 9/20/14 2:30 PM
Rutgers 9/20/14 2:30 PM
Central Mich 9/20/14 2:30 PM
Utah 9/20/14 2:30 PM
Florida 9/20/14 2:30 PM
(3) Alabama
Louisville 9/20/14 2:30 PM
Fla Atlantic 9/20/14 3:00 PM
Indiana 9/20/14 3:00 PM
(18) Missouri
San Jose St 9/20/14 3:00 PM
Texas State 9/20/14 3:00 PM
Massachusetts 9/20/14 3:00 PM
Penn State
Georgia State 9/20/14 5:00 PM
Appalachian St 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Southern Miss
Miss State 9/20/14 6:00 PM
(8) LSU
Northern Ill 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Middle Tennessee 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Utah State 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Arkansas State
Miami-Ohio 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Idaho 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Ohio U
Ball State 9/20/14 6:00 PM
(14) So Carolina 9/20/14 6:30 PM
(4) Oklahoma 9/20/14 6:30 PM
West Virginia
Ga Southern 9/20/14 6:30 PM
South Alabama
UNLV 9/20/14 7:00 PM
(22) Clemson 9/20/14 7:00 PM
(1) Florida State
Miami-Florida 9/20/14 7:00 PM
(24) Nebraska
New Mexico 9/20/14 7:00 PM
New Mexico St
California 9/20/14 9:00 PM
Louisiana 9/20/14 9:30 PM
Boise State
(2) Oregon 9/20/14 9:30 PM
Washington St
San Diego St 9/20/14 9:30 PM
Oregon State
Toronto 9/19/14 9:00 PM
Brt Columbia
Edmonton 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Calgary 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Ottawa 9/21/14 3:00 PM
Montreal 9/26/14 6:00 PM
Saskatchewan 9/26/14 9:00 PM
Hamilton 9/27/14 5:30 PM
Brt Columbia 9/27/14 8:30 PM
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters





question of the day

Poll: Which local pro team are you most excited about?

Weekly Question