The Edmonton Oilers re-signed defenceman Tyson Barrie to a three-year deal with an annual average value (AAV) of $4.5 million. The deal came on Wednesday morning, taking the 30-year-old offensive defenceman out of free agency. He signed a one-year deal with the Oilers at $3.750 million prior to the 2020-21 season.
Barrie is entering his 11th NHL season next year. He played eight seasons with the Colorado Avalanche before being traded to the Toronto Maple Leafs before the 2019-20 season. He then joined the Oilers last season and he registered eight goals and 48 points in 56 games, leading all defencemen across the NHL. Through 610 career NHL games, he has scored 88 goals and posted 394 points.
Provides Production From the Blueline
Barrie led the Oilers’ defence in points last year and was third on the team in points as well, behind Connor McDavid’s 105 points and Leon Draisaitl’s 84. The power play is where Barrie shines, as he was third on the team in power-play points with 23, behind McDavid (37) and Draisaitl (32). Statistically, Barrie was the club’s third most productive player.
Although he is a great offensive weapon, his defensive struggles are evident. He became the first player to receive zero Norris Trophy votes, despite having the most points for a defenceman in the league due to the skills he lacks in the d-zone.
Barrie Will Likely Retain the Same Role
The Oilers saw a few changes over the past few weeks on their blue line. First, the club traded for three-time Stanley Cup champion and two-time Norris Trophy winner Duncan Keith. Then the club lost Adam Larsson to the Seattle Kraken before the Expansion Draft. Larsson signed a four-year contract with an AAV of $4 million, becoming one of the first NHL-caliber players to join the 32nd NHL team.
For Barrie, he is now the only top-four right-handed defenceman on the team heading into next season. Still, he will likely retain the same role he had last season. He spent most of the season on the top pairing alongside Darnell Nurse and quarterbacked the club’s first power-play unit, which was the best in the league, converting at 27.6 percent.
The only change he may see is an increase in playing time as the team’s best right-handed defender. Evan Bouchard could prove to be too inexperienced to be playing a lot of minutes, while Kris Russell, now 34, is well past his prime. Barrie may have somewhat of an increased role as the club may have to use him in the d-zone, which could hurt his play and the team as well.
Sartaaj has been watching hockey for over 15 years and covers the Vancouver Canucks for The Hockey Writers.