Welcome to “get to know your Avs”! This feature will take a look at current Avalanche players (and maybe some staff, too) to give you an idea as to just who these guys are and what they mean to the Avalanche.
Yes, some (or most) of you will already know these guys but don’t be party poopers; nobody likes party poopers.
Today, we look at another young defensive prospect for the Avs; someone they’ll be counting on this year to improve the defense and help bring them out of the basement: Tyson Barrie
Who: Tyson Barrie
Nicknames: Like Elliot, we need a nickname for this guy. Not “Tyson” or “Bar” or something stupid. Something like “Star Scream” but not as forced sounding as “megatron”.
How He Came to Denver: 64th overall, 2009 NHL Draft
What he’s done: Like Elliott, he’s only had what amounts to a large cup of coffee but he’s been impressive in his short time in Denver. Like Elliott, he is a puck-mover but Barrie might be better. He had a pretty impressive 32 points in 49 games in 2011/12, with 29 points in 38 games with Lake Erie before making the jump to Colorado after the lockout ended. He’s been playing top minutes for the Monsters, getting minutes in all situations and thriving on the AHL level.
In a near full season last year (32 games), Barrie managed 13 points and showed some impressive puck possession abilities; something direly needed on the Avalanche bluleline.
What he means to the team currently: Barrie will likely play most of this season (all of it if he stays healthy) and get a big increase in minutes as the Avalanche push him and Elliott further into development. With his offensive abilities, he’ll see power play time but it’s a matter of which unit. The Avs used five forwards on the first unit at times last year and could do so again; if they don’t, they’ll likely still use at least four forwards with Erik Johnson in competition for that top power play defenseman role.
He also makes the top six better. He’s strong with the puck and knows what to do with it; like Elliott, his physical game is a bit of a hindrance but his offensive game has big-time potential to balance out that lack of body work. If the Avs can potentially protect him a bit, leave a more physical partner to win the battles and be responsible defensively, Barrie could take off.
What to expect: Barrie is a strong skater and a very talented defenseman and this will be his breakout year. He was solid in a lockout-shortened season and should only grow from here. It’ll be interesting to see how he does over the full 82-game grind that is the NHL regular season but his skating and awareness help him avoid contact well so he should remain relatively fresh.
Expect him to steal away a little time with the first power play unit, if not there, he’ll certainly see time with the second team which isn’t a huge detriment given the talent the Avalanche possess in their forward corps.
Look for him to have a strong season, though he likely won’t chip in offensively like he did in the AHL (.65 and .76 points-per-game averages the last two seasons) but he’ll make his presence known offensively even if he doesn’t end up on the score sheet. Look for 75-80 games out of him, somewhere around 10 goals and 35-40 points.
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