The Colorado Avalanche capped Free Agency Frenzy with a significant trade one year ago. A look at how that trade worked out.
One year ago, the Colorado Avalanche had an eventful Free Agency Frenzy. Oh, sure, they picked up a couple free agents — namely Joonas Donskoi and Pierre-Edouard Bellemare. However, just when pundits remarked that the Avs were done with signings for the day, GM Joe Sakic pulled the trigger on a big trade.
He traded Tyson Barrie.
The defenseman had long been on the trade block, or trade rumors had been rampant anyway. When the Avalanche acquired Sam Girard and drafted first Cale Makar and then Bowen Byram, as well as Conor Timmins — all of them offensive-minded defensemen — the writing was on the wall. The Avalanche simply didn’t need that many offensive defensemen in their system.
Other teams did, though, and that made him prime trade material.
It took a minute for Sakic to find just the trade he wanted. However, he did just that:
On the face of it, both teams got exactly what they needed. Toronto got their offensive defenseman, and Colorado got a second line center.
A year later, let’s look at the trade a little more in-depth.
When you look at the graphic above, the trade seems pretty even. Each team got the player they wanted and an extra guy. However, a big factor in the trade was contracts.
First of all, Colorado had to retain 50% of Barrie’s salary. Suddenly the trade looks a little lopsided in Toronto’s favor. However, that was essential because the Leafs are smacked right up against the salary cap ceiling. Colorado, on the other hand, could afford to retain that salary.
Plus, it was only for a year. That was a big kicker. Barrie only had one year left on his contract, so Toronto would have to find a way to sign him. Otherwise, they gave up Kadri for a one-year rental.
Because Kadri still had three years left on his contract. So the Avs wouldn’t have to worry about any expensive signings. What’s more, Kerfoot was a restricted free agent, so Toronto had to sign him. Rosen was also an RFA, but a cheaper one. Toronto signed Kerfoot for four years at $3.5 million, while Colorado only had to shell out $750,000 for two years.
And not even that because…
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Toronto traded to get Rosen back. At the trade deadline, they gave up a goalie they weren’t using anyway, Michael Hutchinson, for Rosen. An injury-plagued Colorado squad felt they needed to pad their goalie duo with an NHLer after having to debut not one but two goalies from the AHL in a single road trip.
What’s weird is the cash-strapped Maple Leafs actually took on a little salary because Hutchinson only makes $700,000. In a way, though, they still got the better deal in that part of the trade because Kerfoot is still a Leaf.
So’s Tyson Barrie, but not for much longer. The Leaf’s coach at the time, Mike Babcock, pretty much hated Barrie and refused to use him in the capacity that would allow him to shine. As a result, the offensive defenseman languished in his shutdown role and put up dismal numbers under Babcock.
He flourished under the new coach, Sheldon Keefe. However, it’s thought he won’t want to sign with Toronto, where everything is so intense. And even if he does, the Leafs are unlikely to be able to afford him.
Meanwhile, Kadri came mostly as advertised. He slotted right into the second-line center position and took a very active role with the team. The only downside was he was injured a fair amount — he missed 19 games and was on IR when the season was put on pause.
I like Kyle Dubas. He’s young and handsome. But I have no idea why he traded for Tyson Barrie. Kadri had a history with Toronto — specifically getting suspended at inopportune times. However, that doesn’t explain giving up a valuable asset like Kadri to get a one-year rental on a player who doesn’t fit your system.
Granted Dubas couldn’t foresee the pandemic that would put an eventual freeze on the salary cap. And once he and the Leafs fired Babcock, Barrie fit in much better. However, there’s no question that Kadri was a better fit for the Avalanche from Day 1.
Granted, Kerfoot was a better fit for Toronto than Rosen was for Colorado, but those were the ancillary aspects of the deal anyway. I won’t say exactly that the Avalanche fleeced the Leafs, but the trade does seem more in our favor. Especially since we turned the unneeded part of the deal, Rosen, into a bit of insurance we needed.
Many Colorado Avalanche fans and even media folk were sad when Tyson Barrie was traded away. By all accounts, he was an extremely affable man. And he provided a service for us for all those years. And he provided a final service for us in his trade. In all, we were lucky to have Barrie at every step of the way. Godspeed to your next team, Tyson.