Chicago Blackhawks Cam Barker to Make Return to Lineup Saturday Night

Michael WagnerSenior Analyst IJanuary 15, 2010

LOS ANGELES, CA - NOVEMBER 28:  Cam Barker #2 of the Chicago Black Hawks rushes past the blue line against the Los Angeles Kings during the game at the Staples Center on November 28, 2009 in Los Angeles, California.  (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
Harry How/Getty Images

According to Chris Kuc of the Chicago Tribune, defenseman Cam Barker will make his return to the Chicago Blackhawks lineup Saturday night against the Columbus Blue Jackets.

The 23-year-old defenseman has been out of the lineup since Jan. 2 with an upper body injury. In 39 games this season, Barker has recorded 13 points, three of which have come on the power play.

Barker has seen a bit of a drop-off in his production, which could likely be contributed to his lack of ice time, as he was bumped from the second defensive pair to the third because of the emergence of Niklas Hjalmarsson as a defensive stud.

Since Barker's absence from the lineup, he has been filled in for admirably by Jordan Hendry—although Hendry does not possess the kind of point shot that Barker does, he has been a stable force in the defensive end, and in someways, has made some forget about Barker.

Although Barker is a good offensive defenseman, his production has not been missed, as Brian Campbell and Duncan Keith have picked up the offensive slack, scoring a combined 11 points in the five games that Barker missed.

With how little Barker has really been missed from the Chicago lineup, trade rumors are likely to swirl as early in the season Barker's name was on a short list of players who the Blackhawks would likely need to trade to get under the cap next season.

For now we will just see how well Barker fits back into the lineup and to see if his return actual helps of hurt the Chicago defensive corps.