Barker a victim of Blackhawks' cap woes

CRAIG ELLINGSON

, Last Updated: 9:56 AM ET

You knew something had to give in Chicago, be it during this season or in the summer, but the Blackhawks finally shed some salary for the 2010-11 campaign by trading defenceman Cam Barker to the Minnesota Wild Thursday for blueliners Kim Johnsson and Nick Leddy.

The Hawks have been dealing with a cap conundrum all season after inking young stars Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane and Duncan Keith to lucrative contract extensions.

Barker is making about US$3-million a year and has two years left on his contract. And while Johnsson commands a $4.85-million salary this season, the 33-year-old is an unrestricted free agent come July, while 2009 first-round pick Leddy is still a cheap prospect.

It wasn't hard for the Hawks to part with Barker for the most part, given the 23-year-old's numbers have dipped this season, from a 40-point performance in 68 games last season to a measly 14 points in 51 so far this campaign.

Mind you, Barker's icetime is down an average of more than five minutes a game compared to 2008-09 (18:20 to 13:05). Johnsson has the potential to make up for any lost output from Barker, at least, as he had been logging 23-plus minutes a game for Minnesota and had put up some decent numbers earlier in his career, particularly with the pre-lockout Philadelphia Flyers. But Johnsson won't be staying in the Windy City -- Chicago's full up cap-wise without him come next year as it is.

30

During their recent 14-game winning streak, the Washington Capitals poured a ton of pucks into the net -- 67 of them, to be exact, 15 from star captain Alex Ovechkin. But get this -- 30 of them came in the third period of those games. Consider the opposition scored 33 goals against them in that span. Six Capitals players hit double digits in plus-minus by the time the streak was over, led by Ovechkin at plus-18. Ovechkin's line with Niklas Backstrom and Mike Knuble was a collective plus-47.

1,208

That's how many days it had been since Capitals goalie Jose Theodore suited up for a game in Montreal's Bell Centre prior to Washington's thrilling 6-5 OT loss to the Canadiens Wednesday, which snapped their winning streak. The last time Theodore, who won the Hart Trophy while with the Habs in 2002, played in Montreal was in his hometown return with the Colorado Avalanche in an 8-5 loss Oct. 21, 2006. Just two players in the current Canadiens lineup were on the roster when Theodore was dealt to the Avs in March 2006 -- Andrei Markov and Tomas Plekanec.

3

The Saskatchewan Roughriders defence is getting thinner by the day as linebacker Renauld (Rey) Williams signed Friday with the NFL's Pittsburgh Steelers. The 29-year-old is the third Green and White defensive starter to depart Taylor Field this year, following defensive ends John Chick and Stevie Baggs south of the border. Chick inked a deal with the Indianapolis Colts, while Baggs signed with the Arizona Cardinals.

CRAIG.ELLINGSON@SUNMEDIA.CA

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Cap Hit

Player, team 09-10 Salary (March 3)

F Paul Kariya, StL $6M $1.32M

G Marty Turco, Dal $5.7M $1.25M

D Lub. Visnovsky, Edm $5.6M $1.23M

D Sheldon Souray, Edm $5.4M $1.18M

D Tomas Kaberle, Tor $4.25M $932K

D John-Michael Liles, Col $4.2M $921K

F Slava Kozlov, Atl $3.6M $789K

F Ray Whitney, Car $3.5M $767K

D Andy Sutton, NYI $2.9M $636K

F Colby Armstrong, Atl $2.4M $526K

F Raffi Torres, Cbs $2.2M $482K

F Keith Tkachuk, StL $2.1M $460K

F Alexei Ponikarovsky, Tor $2.1M $460K

G Martin Biron, NYI $1.4M $307K


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