The Chicago Blackhawks accomplished exactly what they needed in trading for Minnesota Wilddefenseman Kim Johnsson on Friday. In sending Cam Barker to Minnesota, the Hawks were able to shed salary for next season while adding an experienced blue-liner with both power play and penalty kill time under his belt.
Johnsson will turn 34 next month and will be an unrestricted free-agent at the end of the season. Barker is signed for two more years after this one, at an average of about $3.1 million.
Johnsson had six goals and eight assists with a plus-3 rating for the 29-26-4 Wild. He was averaging 23:46 of ice time, though that number should come down with the Hawks. He has played in 43 postseason games with three different teams in his 10-year NHL career.
Joel Quenneville has options now with a more veteran defense than he had before the trade. Johnsson could slide into Barker’s spot and play with Brent Sopel while becoming insurance for any of the top four D-men. Or, he could be paired with Niklas Hjarmalsson for a more rugged twosome behind Brent Seabrook and Duncan Keith.
He also provides another penalty killer for a banged-up defense. Sopel and Hjarmalsson have missed frequent practices while taking a beating blocking shots.