Tyson Barrie and his murky future with the Avalanche


Tyson Barrie probably isn’t going to be a member of the Colorado Avalanche. The question is whether that uniform change happens two years from now or by the time you get to the end of this post.

Barrie filed for salary arbitration on Tuesday, which means the Avalanche will choose the duration of his next contract. Assuming it’s two years, that means he’ll have one more year of RFA status after that.

The question is whether they want him. Which is a nutty question, when you consider how good he is for the Avalanche and how much better he could be away from that system – read Carolyn Wilke’s piece on Today’s Slapshot for more. (For another look at Barrie and his possession numbers, check out PPP here.)

There’s been some citation that Patrick Roy sees Barrie as a No. 5 defenseman, although the only reference I could find was Terry Frei talking about Barrie:

Tyson Barrie likely will go to arbitration, seeking a deal in line more with his offensive numbers than with his overall value. The fact is, he’s a good hybrid defenseman, but he would be most valuable as a No. 5 D-man and power-play specialist. The Avs have been forced to ask him to be more than that.

Which, again, brings us back to what the Avs see in Barrie and how they want to pay him. Could they bridge him until they’re sure about him, like they did with Matt Duchene? Do they go two years just so they don’t have to worry about this stuff this season?

But if it all tracks back to “not worth the money” – or if Barrie has a little Ryan O’Reilly in him and doesn’t necessarily want to play for the Avalanche – well then the only option is to trade him.

Where? Well, the Edmonton Oilers have long been considered a destination. And Bob Stauffer, pretty plugged-in, laid out this scenario (via Cult of Hockey):

“My guess is they trade him before signing the big contract. My guess is they might trade him before arbitration. I will take it one step further. People said, ‘Well, how do you do it without trading Nugent-Hopkins?’ You go to Anaheim and you Anaheim a condition No. 1 (draft pick). A Top 5 protected pick to the Anaheim Ducks, OK, plus something else not named Nugent-Hopkins or Eberle for Cam Fowler. Because (Avs GM) Joe Sakic wants a defenceman back in a deal for Tyson Barrie. And then you give Cam Fowler and something else to Colorado, and that’s how you get Tyson Barrie.

“But you might have to do a three -way in order to make it happen. And the reason I mention Anaheim is Anaheim is another team that is an internal budget team. They are a budget team and they’ve got to get Hampus Lindholm signed. And they’ve got some money to take on a forward. (Nail) Yakupov has been mentioned in the past. I know (TSN 1260 announcer) Jason Gregor mentioned Yakupov or (Benoit) Pouliot to Anaheim after the All-Star break. I don’t know if that’s feasible or not.”

As he mentioned, both the Avalanche and the Ducks are internal budget teams, and Fowler is signed through 2018 at a $4 million hit. (That’s when he goes UFA.)

Again, the Avalanche don’t have to do anything with Barrie. He’s beholden to them for at least the next two seasons. This would be a purely proactive move, assuming them don’t want to go long-term and big money with him.

Is it better to keep him for the short-term or deal him while the conditions – and the trade partners – are seemingly right?

Greg Wyshynski is a writer for Yahoo Sports. Contact him at or find him on Twitter. His book, TAKE YOUR EYE OFF THE PUCK, is available on Amazon and wherever books are sold.