Even though Colorado Avalanche defenseman Tyson Barrie had a career season, until you win the Stanley Cup, there’s always room for improvement.
Colorado Avalanche rover Tyson Barrie had a career year. The 27-year-old was fourth on the team and first among defensemen for scoring. He beat his career-best in both points (57) and goals (14).
Barrie is one of those polarizing players in that he either plays extremely well or extremely badly — he’s the Semyon Varlamov of the blue line. Indeed, just about the time I’m so frustrated with Barrie that I start ragging on him in a post, he scores a huge goal.
Barrie has always been a fringe-core player. He’s definitely an important part of the team, but not as untouchable as even Mikko Rantanen. Nonetheless, he’s our first power-play quarterback and a top-four defenseman.
So, let’s look a little deeper into Barrie’s play last season and identify some areas of improvement.
Evaluation of Tyson Barrie’s 2017-18 Season
Shooting percentage: 7.9%
Takeaway vs. giveaway ratio: 20:38
CF% Rel: 2.0
Well, the stat that jumps out at you — or it jumps out at me anyway — is Tyson Barrie’s takeaway to giveaway ratio. It’s almost two to one. I get it, Barrie is a puck-moving defenseman and a rover who jumps into the play in the offensive zone. In other words, he has the puck a lot, and in dangerous areas where opponents are working extra hard to get the puck back.
We all know where Barrie is gifted — in scoring. We all know where Barrie lacks — in defense. One reader so aptly described Barrie’s defensive style as skating backward way ahead of the rushing opponent and ineffectually waving his stick. (If you’re that reader, take credit in the comments section and I’ll edit the post!)
Back to the former — you just can’t argue with Barrie’s offense. His worst full season — the Dreadful Lost Year, 2016-17 — Tyson earned 38 points. As a “defenseman.” And he had a 7.9% shooting rate last season. No, Barrie definitely contributes to the team.
Areas of Improvement for Tyson Barrie
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Tyson, how hard would it be to work with a defensive coach and improve your defense? I’m sure the Avs would get you anyone you wanted that they could swing.
I’m sure little Sam Girard — because size doesn’t have to be a detriment to playing good defense — could offer you some pointers. (He plays better defense without a stick than Barrie does regularly.)
That’s really the only area that Tyson Barrie needs to improve upon. Like I mentioned, size doesn’t have to be a deterrent, especially as the NHL gets smaller and faster. Barrie is fast. And he sees the ice well enough to jump into plays and to get into position to wave his stick ineffectually against rushing opponents.
Just get into a little better position, a little closer to the rushing skater, close enough that your waving stick actually knocks the puck out of position. You know — poke check. Any size player can do it.
One last entreaty: FOR THE LOVE OF HOCKEY, KEEP THE PUCK IN THE ZONE DURING THE POWER PLAY!!!. I’m not responsible for my words if Barrie continues to stand at the blue line while the pucks skitters past him within reach.
Those seven power play goals from last season, though — a career high? Those you can keep producing.
MORE FROM COLORADO AVALANCHE EVALUATION AND ADVICE:
Perhaps Tyson Barrie will always be a polemic player for the Colorado Avalanche. To be honest, as he plays out the third year of a four-year contract, and as the Avs have three Barrie-style players coming up the ranks — Girard, Conor Timmins, Cale Makar — I don’t think we’re going to see Tyson in burgundy and blue for all that much longer.
To be honest, I’m going to miss our T-Brat.