Colorado Avalanche: Trading Tyson Barrie Beneficial or Not?

Apr 3, 2016; Denver, CO, USA; Colorado Avalanche defenseman Tyson Barrie (4) controls the puck in the first period against the St. Louis Blues at the Pepsi Center. The Blues defeated the Avalanche 5-1. Mandatory Credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports
Apr 3, 2016; Denver, CO, USA; Colorado Avalanche defenseman Tyson Barrie (4) controls the puck in the first period against the St. Louis Blues at the Pepsi Center. The Blues defeated the Avalanche 5-1. Mandatory Credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports /

The Colorado Avalanche are in the midst of one of the dry times in the offseason, and one of the exciting things taking place are trade discussions surrounding Tyson Barrie.

First of all, it’s good to be back. For those of you who missed me — I don’t imagine it to be a large group — I was gone due to a wrist surgery I had on the 11th.

I can finally write again, and so let’s begin.

Elliotte Friedman, an author at, stoked the flame that is Tyson Barrie trade rumors just a couple weeks ago, saying: “I think he’s definitely in play. Absolutely. I do think Tyson Barrie is going to go.”

Since then, the rumors surrounding Tyson Barrie and potential trade outlets have certainly increased.

I’m not here to discuss rumors, or evaluate possible destinations, I’m just here to evaluate the pros and cons of a Barrie trade.

Let’s first start with some stats about the young d-man, just so we can gauge Barrie’s value for the Avalanche.

Barrie Offensively

Anyone who covers the Colorado Avalanche — or calls themselves a fan of the team — knows that Tyson Barrie is an extremely gifted offensive defenseman.

Barrie also has plenty of time to mature into the role of an offensive defenseman further because he is so young (turning 25 this summer).

Perhaps the most surprising thing about Barrie is that he has only played in two full NHL seasons since his breakout rookie year during the 2013-14 season.

Both full seasons Barrie has played in, he has eclipsed or nearly eclipsed the 50 point mark (53, and 49 respectively over the last two seasons).

Furthermore, in the 2013-14 season, where he only played in 64 games, he had 38 points, which would have equated to 48 points over a full season.

More from Mile High Sticking

Finally, in his first (real) NHL action during the 2012-13 season, Barrie amassed 13 points in 32 games, which would have meant 33 points over a full 82 game season.

Barrie was 21 for most of that season, showing that he has always had a knack for the game at an offensive level.

Since Barrie has joined the league in a capacity suitable to a full-time NHLer, (the 2013-14 season), Barrie has scored 140 points in 222 games, which places him in company with premiere defensemen, at least offensively.

Over the last three years, only 11 defensemen have scored more points than Barrie. Here’s the rankings from QuantHockey:

Screen Shot 2016-05-28 at 11.49.40 AM
Screen Shot 2016-05-28 at 11.49.40 AM /

That’s some good company to be amongst right there, especially when you consider some of the names ahead of him, and how close he is to being on par with them offensively.

But, being a defensemen is not only about what you do offensively, it’s mostly centered on what you do defensively.

This is especially true if your defensive production cannot be offset by other d-men on your team who can take on those responsibilities while you take the offensive responsibilities.

The Avalanche are not a good defensive team, so when Barrie makes mistakes they are more glaring than they would be if the top four was more solidified with quality defensive production.

Barrie Defensively

During the last two seasons, Barrie has played his most defensively responsible minutes.

I don’t mean to say that he has played the most defensively responsible in the past two seasons — although that could probably be said as well — I mean to say that over the last two seasons Barrie has consistently played in the top-four minutes category.

Whereas during his 2013-14 season, and even some of his 2014-15 season, he played more sheltered minutes. Regardless, this last season was his most taxing as far as production and responsibility is concerned.

Here’s a good metric of what he has offered since the 2013-14 season though; it’s what is referred to as H.E.R.O. (Horizontal Evaluative Rankings Optic) chart:

Screen Shot 2016-05-28 at 12.06.14 PM
Screen Shot 2016-05-28 at 12.06.14 PM /

Sorry it’s cut off at the top, I took the screenshot from someone’s twitter account.

Since Barrie has come into the league and started playing more consistent NHL minutes (ever since he has become a regular) he has proven that he is at least a capable top-four pairing defenseman.

Sure, he’s not the most defensively responsible player in his own end, but when he’s pushing the play offensively — when he’s controlling the puck — he makes others around him better.

More From Mile High Sticking: Draft Prospect of Kieffer Bellows

Barrie might have had more turnovers than takeaways last season (a -30 in that category), and his +/- at five-on-five (-16) is also something to worry about, but Barrie knows how to keep offensive pressure on, something that this Avs team lacks.

When you have the puck, you’re able to create plays and opportunities to score, and it’s no secret that Barrie knows how to do that, and also knows how to help his teammates do that.

One of the Barrie trades that is interesting Avs fans, and writers at Mile High Sticking, during this current juncture is a trade involving Barrie and Travis Hamonic from the New York Islanders.

Related Story: Tyson Barrie for Travis Hamonic

I think that Mark T. presents some great points about the value of Hamonic versus Barrie.

Hamonic has a cap friendly contract, and seems to be more defensively oriented, which would help the Avs, but just take a look at Hamonic’s H.E.R.O. chart:

Screen Shot 2016-05-28 at 12.28.33 PM
Screen Shot 2016-05-28 at 12.28.33 PM /

That’s over the same time span as Tyson Barrie’s H.E.R.O. chart, and the numbers are a little less gratifying for Hamonic during that timeframe.

Hamonic still proves to be a capable top-four defenseman, but Tyson Barrie shows a lot more potential, at least according to the above graphs alone.

However, production is one thing, especially when concerned with contracts.

Tyson Barrie’s Contract

Tyson Barrie will go to arbitration with the Avalanche if he is not traded before then. I don’t see the Avalanche signing him to a contract that both sides can agree upon, so it’s either trade or arbitration for Barrie.

If the contract goes to arbitration then Barrie can expect a bridge deal because that’s just how arbitration goes.

Arbitration has gone that way recently for the Avalanche, with the most applicable situation of late being Ryan O’Reilly’s last minute two-year contract two summers ago.

I’ve already discussed what I think Barrie’s contract should be in another post, but I was more in the mindset of trading him then, and now I’m not so sure.

Related Story: Tyson Barrie's Fate Uncertain with Avalanche

If the Avalanche are going to sign him for a longer-term deal, then they should aim for 5 mil at four our five years.

If not, then they need to plan on trading him, or obtaining his rights for a couple more seasons before restricted free agency, and at a price suitable to a bridge deal.

That deal probably looks like at least 4 mil over two-three years. The Denver Post has that deal looking like 4.8 million over two-three years:

If it appears that the video has nothing to do with Tyson Barrie, then just pause it and look for the title of video with Barrie’s picture and a caption that says: “Will the Avalanche Trade Tyson Barrie”.

I encourage you to watch the whole video — even if it is a little awkward — but the arbitration contract discussions take place around the 3:05 mark of the video.

Arbitration is always a cop out, a way to avoid what you know is inevitable.

Sometimes it works and the bridge deal proves that a player is not worth the price he marks himself at, but in the case of Barrie that is just not possible.

Barrie has a work ethic, a work ethic that will propel him to the top.

More From Mile High Sticking: Why UFA’s Should Choose Colorado

He also has elite offensive skills, and even if his defensive skills lack the prowess necessary to a successful Avalanche blueline at this point, his offensive production is worth the risk alone.

Travis Hamonic is certainly a target for the Avalanche right now because of his defensive ability.

However, based off of the H.E.R.O. charts above, and Barrie’s emergence on the scene as an offensively gifted defenseman in such a short time, the Avs need to consider the detriment of losing a player like Barrie.


As of now, Tyson Barrie looks like the better defenseman between him and Travis Hamonic (a trade the Avs might consider with Barrie), particularly with the ceiling he has offensively.

He just needs to prove that he can be better defensively, especially in the giveaways versus takeaways category, and his overall five-on-five play.

If he can improve those areas of his game even marginally then Barrie projects to be an absolute superstar at the NHL level, and the Avalanche should certainly pay the man if that is the case.

All in all, Tyson Barrie certainly provides the Avalanche with a difficult decision this offseason, and it will be intriguing to see how it smacks out.

Next: Proposed Blockbuster Trade Between Avs and Oilers

Nonetheless, if I’m Colorado Avalanche management, I’m thinking long and hard about the worth of Tyson Barrie, what that worth looks like in the terms of money, and whether or not I think the money is worth the man.

Barrie seems like he is worth it.

If the Avalanche can’t pull off a trade that makes a lot of sense for the team right now then I pay Barrie and hope that he is able to shore up his defensive ability.

You pay him because you think he will become the superstar-in-making that he appears to be.