Something that's being seriously underrated here is Barker's contribution to the powerplay. He does much more for us than the 7 million dollar man.
Don't get me wrong, I understand what he brings to the PP but the real question is what he brings an untradeable asset to the team. I personally don't think so as 2 of the Keith, Seabs, Campbell trio should be able to fill in, and I also think Hjalmarrson is skilled enough to effectively play the role. In some instances they may not be quite as good as Barker, however if we get a more responsible D man in return it can potentially be more than enough to offset what Barker brings to the PP.
If the Hawks didn't have as many offensively capable d-men as they do I'd be more inclined to keep him. I just think his skill set is more valuable for teams without that luxury, thus making him expendable.
I also like to look at it this way: which Hawk would you rather keep, Hammer or Barker? Considering that Hammer is younger, has less service time, has better instincts, and is already the better all around player, I'd much rather keep him. I really think it may come down to that.
Any trade that comes along this year, I doubt, will upset the balance of the team as they will surely use every piece they can to make a cup run. Minor trades may happen, but I expect the off-season to be Bowman's moment to really do something.
Quote: Burke won't wait much longer. On the weekend he thought he was close to making two trades, including this odd deal with Chicago for Brent Sopel (as if that would make a difference). By Monday, both deals were all but dead.
He's got a big body that could potentially keep the crease clear for his goalie, but he hasn't learned how to fully utilize it. His defensive awareness is horrible, as he is often out of position and loses players around the net as he is often caught staring at the puck along the boards. In addition, he's not a very smart player in general as he makes ill-advised passes and just doesn't seem to know what to do at times. As we speak, he is our 5th best d-man and is miles behind Seabs, Keith, and Hammer in his own zone, and quite a ways behind Campbell for that matter.
At this juncture, Barker's game is strictly offensive. He's not a bad skater for his size but he looks slow on this team as he and Sopel (as they play together this is magnified) are about the only guys on the team that are (somewhat) slow. He has a good shot from the point and is a lefty to boot. His lack of hockey sense sometimes rears it's head on offense as well as he often makes poor choices with the puck, namely bad passes and horrendous shot selection; he's prone to blast shots with teammates out of position and this leads to the occasional odd-man rush the other way.
To sum it up, Barker can be valuable to a lot of teams. He can be a power play quarterback and still figures to have his best years ahead of him. What you probably have to have though is a good complement that can mask some of his defensive shortcoming. IMO he's one of those guys you sell high on before everyone figures out he'll never reach his full potential. There's a chance he becomes elite, but I just don't think he has a good enough head on his shoulders.
If he had the head of our other 3 top d-men (seabs, Keith, Hjalmarsson) I'd be real reluctant to give him up.