The Hawks have confirmed they have signed restricted free agent defenseman Cam Barker to a three-year, $9.25 million contract extension.
The signing was a quick response to the announcement made earlier Monday by the NHL Players Association that it had filed a grievance against the Hawks over the way their restricted free agents were notified of their qualifying contract offers.
It meant the Hawks could have lost Kris Versteeg and Barker should they be declared unrestricted free agents by the impartial arbitrator that now will hear the case.
Barker made $984,000 so it's likely the mistake by the Hawks cost them more money in the end to re-sign the defenseman who had 6 goals and 34 assists last season.
The status of only Versteeg now is in question since the Hawks signed five of their other restricted free agents on Monday: Troy Brouwer, Ben Eager, Colin Fraser, Corey Crawford and Aaron Johnson.
According to a source, those five restricted free agents chose to re-sign with the Hawks rather than be part of the union's grievance. Brouwer and Crawford signed two-year deals while Eager, Johnson and Fraser re-uppped for one.
Obviously the agents for Versteeg and Barker saw the Hawks' blunder as a golden opportunity to get their clients a bigger payday.
The qualifying offers for both players was less than $1 million from the Hawks.
The Hawks claimed their qualifying offers were mailed on the June 29 deadline and postmarked with that date. Some players didn't receive the offers until after the start of free agency on July 1.
The NHL's collective bargaining agreement calls for the offers to be faxed or sent via overnight courier.