26-Year-Old Defenseman – Colorado Avalanche
Tyson Barrie Contract Information:
Signed a four-year contract with the Avalanche in July of 2016, which is expected to be worth $5.5 million per year.
Barrie (leg) is slated to play in a preseason contest or two this weekend, Mike Chambers of The Denver Post reports.
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RotoWire's Preseason Outlooks
Barrie has quickly entered the conversation as arguably a top-10 blueliner coming into his sixth season with the Avalanche. He narrowly avoided an arbitration ruling at the end of July by agreeing to a four-year, $22 million contract extension. The 25-year-old has been a force on the power play for two straight seasons – three goals and 18 assists last year – and is one to be watched on even-strength offense. Altogether, the 2009 third-round pick notched 13 tallies, 36 helpers and five game-winning markers to round it out. The only knock is his minus-16 rating, but Colorado is coming in improved and hungry, leaving the door wide open for a better number in 2016-17. Barrie won’t budge from his first pairing and consistent time on the man advantage, making him an excellent draft pick with upside.
After establishing himself as a dangerous offensive blueliner with 38 points in 2013-14, Barrie took his game up another notch last season, recording 12 goals and 53 points in 80 games. In a disastrous year for Colorado, Barrie was one of the few bright spots, emerging as a lethal power-play option and becoming one of the league’s premier talents on defense. Moreover, the 24-year-old showed a developing two-way game by leading all Avalanche players with a plus-5 rating, in addition to making large gains in the hits and blocks categories from a season earlier. With rising stars Matt Duchene, Gabriel Landeskog, and Nate MacKinnon among others offering playmaking abilities up front, Barrie has the supporting cast in place to churn out another 50-point season, with the potential to even surpass his 2014-15 total. This guy is the real deal and should be drafted with confidence among the league's other top fantasy defensemen.
Barrie emerged as a significant source of offense from the back end for the young Avalanche last season, as his 38 points in 64 games were just one behind Erik Johnson -- who played in 16 more contests -- for tops among Colorado rearguards. The British Columbia native skated to a very efficient plus-17 rating and also flashed his prowess in clutch situations on several occasions, finishing third among league defensemen with five game-winning goals -- three of which were in OT. That made him the co-leader in that category, joining top-flight snipers James Neal and Alex Ovechkin. In terms of special teams, the 2009 64th-overall draft pick quietly led the upstart Avs in average power-play ice time, spending 2:47 per game on the man advantage. Unfortunately, Barrie's postseason was cut short when he sprained his MCL in Game 3 of the Avs’ first-round matchup against Minnesota, after taking a knee-on-knee hit from Matt Cooke. However, with a full summer to recover, Barrie is expected to enter training camp in September fully healthy and ready to build upon the success of last season.
Barrie had 13 points in 32 games last season for the Avs and seemed to be the lone bright spot on a horrendous blue line. The talented prospect proved he was NHL ready, playing over 21 minutes per game last season, but he was surprisingly sent down to the minors at the end of last season. That move had little to do with his talent and a lot to do with the way his contract was structured -- the Avs saved nearly a million dollars with the move. He seems to be a lock to make the team on the Avs' second defensive pair and see solid time on the power play, too. There's fantasy value in that.
Barrie, who turned 21 in July, joined the Avs late last season and saw limited action, registering no points in just 10 games. He struggled at times at both ends of the rink, but overall showed flashes of the offensive player he was the previous four seasons at WHL Kelowna (225 points in 249 games). Barrie is one of several very promising young defensemen who will continue to compete for a job on the Avs’ blue line next season, but will likely start the year at AHL Lake Erie.
Barrie finished second in voting for the WHL’s top defenseman last year - edged out by fellow Avalanche prospect Stefan Elliott - after winning the award the previous season. Barrie, who had 11 goals and 58 points this season for the Kelowna Rockets, is expected to compete for a roster spot with the Avs at training camp in September, but will likely open the season at AHL Lake Erie.
Barrie is one of a handful of offensive-minded defensemen currently in the Avs' system. He's been on a real tear for Kelowna of the WHL the past three seasons, having scored a combined 167 points in 195 games. He is expected to spend one more year playing junior before turning pro, but make no mistake - you will see him in the NHL eventually, and he'll be worth owning.