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Blackhawks re-sign five, extend Barker

Monday, 07.06.2009 / 6:27 PM / 2009 NHL Offseason News

NHL.com

"I am happy to have these five players back with us. They are quality individuals who played an important role with us last season and their talents are a big part of our goals for next season."
-- Blackhawks GM Dale Tallon

The Chicago Blackhawks worked toward keeping their young nucleus intact Monday, announcing the re-signings of five free agents as well as a contract extension for defenseman Cam Barker.

Barker received a three-year contract extension worth $9.25 million, according to TSN.

The 23-year-old put up six goals and 40 points in 68 regular-season games and added three goals and nine points in 17 playoff games this past season as the Blackhawks reached the Western Conference Finals. Barker has totals of 13 goals and 66 points in 149 games over parts of four seasons with Chicago.

Right wing Troy Brouwer and goaltender Corey Crawford received two-year contracts, while left wing Ben Eager, center Colin Fraser and defenseman Aaron Johnson all signed one-year deals.

"I am happy to have these five players back with us," Chicago GM Dale Tallon said in a statement prior to the announcement of Barker's contract extension. "They are quality individuals who played an important role with us last season and their talents are a big part of our goals for next season."

Brouwer, the youngest of the five players at 23, is coming off a solid rookie season in which he registered 10 goals and 26 points in 69 games while finishing third on the club with 125 hits. He added two assists in 17 postseason games and continued to provide solid physical play with 50 hits.

Crawford, a second-round choice in the 2003 Entry Draft, is expected to see an increased role after Nikolai Khabibulin left for Edmonton via free agency. The 24-year-old has a 1-2-1 record in seven regular-season NHL starts, and stopped six of seven shots in a 12-minute relief appearance after coming on for Cristobal Huet during Game 4 of the Western Conference Finals against Detroit.

Eager, a sparkplug acquired from Philadelphia during the 2007-08 season, contributed career highs this past season with 11 goals, 15 points and 74 games played, while leading the team with 161 penalty minutes. He also registered a goal and an assist in 17 playoff games. Eager, 25, has scored 20 goals and collected 36 points with 501 penalty minutes in 195 career games.

Fraser, 24, emerged as a reliable blueliner during his rookie season. He played in 81 games and chipped in six goals, 17 points and 55 penalty minutes. He also got a taste of the postseason by playing in a pair of games, registering four shots against Detroit in Game 5 of the Western Conference Finals.

Johnson, the veteran of the group at 26, had filed for salary arbitration Sunday before agreeing to terms with the Blackhawks a day later. A former third-round draft choice by Columbus, he has played in 184 career games with the Blue Jackets, Islanders and Blackhawks, with 10 goals, 36 points, 156 penalty minutes and a plus-19 rating. This past season, Johnson had three goals and eight points in 38 games for Chicago.
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