“We’ve got such a good young team here. Hopefully I’ll be a part of it for a long time, and we can make some noise in the playoffs in the future.” — Tyson Barrie
It’s September, and hockey season is nigh. While the popular hashtag among hockey fans questions whether it’s October yet, truthfully the action is already gearing up:
- Players such as Matt Duchene and Erik Johnson have already tweeted that they’re on their way back to Colorado after spending the summer in their hometowns. (And fishing, according to Duchene.)
- While the Avalanche inexplicably haven’t done so, most teams have announced their training camp schedule, which is just over two weeks away.
- There are Sakic days until the Burgundy and White scrimmage at DU’s Magness Arena.
One piece of business seems glaringly outstanding at this point in time: the Tyson Barrie contract hasn’t happened. People wonder if he’s asking for too much money or if the Colorado Avalanche are tired of having to deal with Pat Morris, who’s also Ryan O’Reilly’s agent.
Very few people, though, are asking if the Avalanche even need Barrie.
Is Barrie Necessary?
- Erik Johnson
- Brad Stuart
- Jan Hejda
- Ryan Wilson
- Nate Guenin
- Zach Redmond
- Nick Holden
Marc-Andre Cliche is still an option, but no one is going to pose playing him over Barrie. Since head coach Patrick Roy typically prefers having eight regular defensemen from which to choose, it does appear that Barrie is, indeed, necessary in this scenario.
Except there’s the matter of another offensively-gifted defenseman who’s already agreed to take just $850,000 for the 2014-15 season: Stefan Elliott.
Who’s Stefan Elliott?
Stefan Elliot is a young, 6-foot-1, right-shooting defenseman with great hockey vision and a sniper’s shot. He also got selected 15 positions before Barrie in the 2009 draft. (Boy, that was an excellent year, seeing Matt Duchene and Ryan O’Reilly drafted by the Avalanche as well.)
Elliott has spent the majority of his professional hockey career playing for the Avalanche’s farm team, the Lake Erie Monsters. In three seasons he’s played just 58 games for the Avalanche, earning six goals and 12 assists for a total of 18 points.
Stefan Elliott in action December 13, 2011:
Elliott vs Barrie?
“I’m confident he’ll be here (Avalanche training camp).” — Joe Sakic
On the face of it, the answer is obvious. After all, Barrie was the Avalanche’s Mr. Clutch last season. If it was getting near the end of the game, and the Avs needed a goal, coach Roy pulled goalie Semyon Varlamov and sent Barrie in. If it was overtime, Barrie was on the ice. And Barrie delivered five game-winning goals.
However, that reputation as Mr. Clutch is based just on his play from January on. At the beginning of the season it wasn’t even sure if he’d make the team. He did poorly in the first four games of the season. Roy expressed disappointment in Barrie and benched him for eight games before sending him back to Lake Erie.
So, looking at the two players’ careers prior to January, the answer to the question of Elliott vs Barrie becomes less obvious.
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To be fair to Barrie, his 2014 numbers were impressive — 11 goals and 19 points for a total of 30. He finished only behind cornerstone defenseman Erik Johnson for points total.
Therefore, the answer to the question is that having Barrie in the lineup is preferable. Elliott is bigger and a little stronger, and he has similar talents, but he is even less proven than Barrie.
However, Elliott will do in a pinch.
Colorado Avalanche Tidbits
Besides what players have announced on their personal Twitters — essentially that Duchene is participating in a high altitude hockey camp in Vail, Colorado, and Nathan MacKinnon is psyched to have turned 19 — the other bits of news concerning the Avs are the following:
- Barrie participated in the Power to Golf Charity Classic in Victoria, Cananda, Thursday, August 28. The charity raises funds to support recreation programs for those in need.
- Jarome Iginla participated in Joe Sakic’s annual charity golf tournament at the Sanctuary Golf Course in Sedalia, Colorado, on August 20. Iginla has reportedly already relocated to Colorado in preparation for the 2014-15 season.
- Mike Chambers reports that the Colorado Avalanche training camp begins for veterans on September 15, but Marc Moser of Altitude Sports tweeted that it begins September 18, which coincides with most other NHL teams. The Avalanche have made no formal announcement.
- Speaking of no formal announcements, single-game tickets for the Colorado Avalanche are set to go on sale Saturday, September 6, according to ticket sales representatives. So far, only group tickets, multi-game packs and season tickets are on sale.