Colorado Avalanche: Exploring What Tyson Barrie Does for the Team

DENVER, CO - DECEMBER 18: Tyson Barrie
DENVER, CO - DECEMBER 18: Tyson Barrie /

Colorado Avalanche defenseman has been bringing a lot of offense to the team.

Colorado Avalanche skater Tyson Barrie is quietly dominating in his category — as an offensive defenseman. At the time of writing, Tyson Barrie was second in the entire NHL for defenseman scoring with 27 points (4 goals, 23 assists), behind only John Klingberg.

Let that sink in — Tyson Barrie is ahead of perennial Norris Trophy favorites Drew Doughty (#5), P.K. Subban (#10), and Erik Karlsson (#15).

I fully admit, Tyson Barrie is sometimes the bane of my existence. I’ve taken to calling him Swiss cheese on the blueline because he can’t keep the puck in the zone during a power play to save his life. And we all know defense is the first part of his game to go.

Well, Barrie got two goals against the reigning (and back-to-back) Stanley Cup champion Pittsburgh Penguins on Tuesday night. He was seeing the ice well and shooting the puck all the time.

Coach Jared Bednar had words of praise in his post-game presser:

"“I thought Tyson was outstanding tonight. I loved the way he was shooting the puck… Every time the puck got in his hands on the blue line on the rush, he was getting his body around and getting it back to the net. He ends up scoring two goals because of it.”"

In the typical hockey player  manner, Barrie was modest when speaking of his two goals against the Pittsburgh Penguins:

"“The first one I just tried to jump into the play. [Matthew Nieto] made a nice play to me. I saw a little land, and I tried to shoot it. I was fortunate and found the top corner."

Here’s the goal in question:

Barrie described the second goal:

"On the next one, it was just run of the mill, one-timer, point shot. I didn’t even see it so I am not even sure how it got through. Carl [Soderberg] I think was screening, so I thought he might of got it. Just try to get it on net and Carl did a great job screening him.”"

Here’s that goal:

In fact, Barrie was modest about scoring at all:

"“It’s one of those things where you feel like you can’t buy one, then you get a couple lucky ones.”"

As noted above, the majority of Tyson Barrie’s points come from assists. That’s pretty normal for a puck-moving defenseman like Barrie. Tyson spoke to that as well. When asked about generating offense, especially in relation to garnering mostly assists. He responded:

"“Points is one thing, obviously goals are nice, too. I’m a defenseman, and my job is to get these guys the puck. That’s what I’m trying to do. Obviously I’d like to score some goals and hopefully I can get a few more.”"

Barrie was one of the players who had to step in because cornerstone defenseman Erik Johnson is out for two games serving a suspension. He skated with Patrik Nemeth most of the night, with both defensemen seeing just over 24 minutes of ice time.

Tyson said of that situation:

"“Obviously, you can’t replace E.J., and you know it will be nice to get him back here after another game. Everyone has just got to step up and do the best they can, and collectively we can try to pick up the slack.”"

More from Mile High Sticking

At the beginning of the season, I made a series of bold predictions. Since I figured at least one player would regress, I chose Tyson Barrie as that man. Well, he’s proving me wrong. His 27 points lead all Avalanche defensemen by a wide margine — 15 points, to be exact. He’s tied with Erik Johnson for number of goals.

What’s more, Barrie recorded his 209th career point against the Winnipeg Jets on November 29. He’s now fourth on the franchise’s all-time defensemen scoring list. He leap-frogged Hall of Famer Rob Blake to get there. Next up is the great Sandis Osolinsh (253 points), then the great Adam Foote (259 points), and the handsome great John Michael Liles (275).

Next: What is Holding Tyson Jost Back?

With 29 points in 32 games, Tyson Barrie is on pace to earn a whopping 68 points. His career-high is 53 points in 2014-15. So, I guess I’d have to say Barrie isn’t regressing so far. And that’s good news for the Colorado Avalanche.