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Ex-1st rounder Barker goes full circle, will attend ‘Hawks camp

Cam Barker

Free agent defensemen Cam Barker takes part in an informal hockey practice with the Vancouver Canucks at the University of British Columbia, Wednesday, Jan. 9, 2013, in Vancouver, British Columbia. (AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Darryl Dyck)


One of the most infamous draft busts in Chicago Blackhawks history is coming home.

Well, sort of.

Cam Barker -- who the ‘Hawks took third overall at the 2004 NHL Entry Draft, behind Alex Ovechkin and Evgeni Malkin -- is headed to training camp on a PTO, the club announced on Wednesday.

Barker, 28, has been a hockey nomad over the last three years, spending time in Edmonton, Texas (AHL), Vancouver and Barys Astana (KHL), never playing more than 26 games in a single season.

That said, there is something mildly intriguing about him returning to Chicago, the site of his greatest NHL success. Barker was a guy, remember, that had six goals and 40 points in 68 games during the 2008-09 campaign -- and another nine points in 17 playoff games -- as a 22-year-old.

He really seemed to lose his way following a trade to Minnesota, which netted the ‘Hawks Nick Leddy in return. Barker never fit in with the Wild and was bought out of his deal after just 71 games, which began his aforementioned nomadic journey.

It’ll be pretty interesting to see what Barker can do at camp (and in the preseason, if he sticks that long). The ‘Hawks are in a bit of a cap crunch and there is talk of moving a veteran defenseman -- Johnny Oduya’s name has popped up -- which could open something up for Barker, who would undoubtedly be joining the club on the cheap. That said, there are a couple of figures he’d need to jump on the organizational depth chart, namely David Rundblad and Kyle Cumiskey.