Tyson Barrie was a bit of a question mark last off-season. Most significantly, he was a restricted free agent, and the Colorado Avakabcge didn’t sign him until September 7, 2014. Part of the question, though, was whether he’d be able to sustain the kind of clutch play he showcased in the second half of the 2013-14 season.
Well, Barrie led all Avalanche defensemen in points and was one of six players to earn 50+ points last season. He became only the fourth defenseman in Avalanche history to earn 50+ points in a season. So, I guess Barrie answered that question at least.
Every Sunday during the off season we’re going to take a look at different Colorado Avalanche players and the contributions they made to the team. This week let’s look at roving defenseman Tyson Barrie.
Tyson Barrie Statistics
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Tyson Barrie is accounted an offensive defenseman, and that shows in his statistics. In his 53 points last season, 12 came from goals. Ten of those came during even-strength play. Barrie was tied with Erik Johnson for number of goals scored by a defenseman.
Barrie earned an impressive 41 assists — team-leading number of assists, might I add. That many assists and overall points helped him earn a +5 on the team.
When you look at physical play, that’s when you remember that Barrie is almost more throwback rover than true defenseman. He did block 90 shots, but he only laid out 80 hits. At 5-foot-10, 190 pounds, Tyson Barrie is the smallest defenseman and one of the smallest players on the team — and he’s not a gritty kind of small.
That said, head coach Patrick Roy utilized Barrie, giving him an average 25 shifts or 21.36 minutes of ice time per game. Barrie played even strength and power play as well as whenever coach Roy pulled the goalie for the extra attacker.
Tyson Barrie’s statistics from Sporting Charts:
Statistics for Colorado Avalanche defenseman Tyson Barrie for 2014-15. Photo credit: Sporting Charts.
Tyson Barrie Role
Tyson Barrie is the second line defenseman.He’s not going to see the big minutes against the big lines — he’s just not big or gritty enough to stop such players. However, he does an excellent job positioning himself and skating around second or third lines as a defender.
He is also the Colorado Avalanche’s clutch scorer. If the Avs are down by one or two with less than two minutes to go, Tyson Barrie is the player you want on the ice. I don’t know if he feeds off the pressure of such a situation or if he has ice water in his veins — or both. However, Barrie just has a knack for scoring those last-minute or last-second goals.
Watch Barrie in action against the Dallas Stars:
I like to think of Tyson Barrie as a throwback player, back to the days when teams had rovers. The hockey rover’s job was to rove around and add his skills to both offense and defense. That sounds like Barrie.
Of course, head coach Patrick Roy once joked that Tyson Barrie reminded him of retired defenseman Sandis Ozolinsh:
"“He creates a lot of scoring chances — at both ends of the ice.”"
Center John Mitchell also joked about Barrie, saying he had a “Number four, Bobby Orr vibe going on.” However, Mitchell calls him a “dynamic player, especially on the back end and the way he rushes the puck.”
Tyson Barrie’s Future
Tyson Barrie has one year left on his bridge contract. After that he’s a restricted free agent. Avalanche GM Joe Sakic stated there wasn’t any rush to signing Barrie at this moment because he’s “just going to be a restricted free agent.”
Even if Tyson Barrie were to have a disastrous season next year — please, no — it’s highly unlikely the Colorado Avalanche would give up on him. This kid who had such a hard time in the beginning seems to have become a part of the central core of the Avs.
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