Oilers’ 4-Game Win Streak Confirms Tyson Barrie Should Be Traded

The Edmonton Oilers have now won four games in a row after their horrible stretch of two wins in 15 games. This just so happens to coincide with Tyson Barrie being out of the lineup. There are definitely other factors as to why the Oilers have turned things around, but it also highlights the fact that they don’t need their so-called top offensive defenceman to win hockey games.

Tyson Barrie Edmonton Oilers
Tyson Barrie, Edmonton Oilers (Photo by Jonathan Kozub/NHLI via Getty Images)

As the Oilers continue to build up their team and get an indication of what core players are going to fill their rosters for years to come, the cap that Barrie takes up, him becoming expendable due to Evan Bouchard, and the prospects chomping at the bits for NHL playing time, Barrie should be on the move sooner than later.

Bouchard Showing He’s Capable of Offensive Responsibilities

After a great season offensively for Barrie in 2020-21, the Oilers re-signed him in the hopes Bouchard would have time to grow into his own and be impactful by the time Barrie’s three-year deal was up. All season has been an indication that Bouchard is fully capable and you could say a better overall defenceman than Barrie already. With Barrie becoming expendable, there’s more incentive to trade him. This looks like one of the worst signings by Ken Holland since taking over as Oilers’ general manager.

This takes into account that Bouchard and Barrie have played close to the same amount of games either on the first pairing or the third pairing. Bouchard seems to play much better on the first pairing. An indication of that could be his three goals and four points on this Oilers’ win streak. Overall, Bouchard has nine goals and 23 points on the season, more goals and points than Barrie. Bouchard’s nine goals are tied for fourth in the NHL among defencemen behind the likes of Cale Makar (18), Roman Josi (13), and Aaron Ekblad (10), all three players are All-Stars this season.

Barrie on the other hand has scored just three goals and has 17 points while receiving significantly more time on the NHL’s second-ranked power play. While playing on the first power-play unit, Barrie has failed to record even a point in seven consecutive games. In the first game with him out of the lineup, Bouchard moved up in the lineup and received time on the first power-play unit, he scored two power-play goals and played solid over 24 minutes of ice time.

Evan Bouchard. Edmonton Oilers
Evan Bouchard, Edmonton Oilers (Photo by Codie McLachlan/Getty Images)

Though the power play over the past four games hasn’t been amazing, going two for 10, Bouchard has been the main contributor to both of those goals. In the seven previous games before that, while Barrie ran the point on the power play and the Oilers had lost each of the games, the power play went two for 13 and he failed to contribute on either.

While Bouchard has played better on the first pairing and Barrie has played better lower in the lineup, if Barrie is dealt, that’s not a problem the Oilers will have to worry about is paying a $4.5 million player that kind of money to play 17 minutes a night. It’s tougher to find impactful players who can play top minutes than it is to fill in the depth of the third pairing. The Oilers have options internally, and if they feel that isn’t good enough, the plan already is to upgrade the back-end.

Future Implications of Moving Barrie

Bouchard has clearly shown and proven time and time again he deserves to be higher in the lineup than Barrie. That makes the decision easy to look into trade partners for Barrie, as there are teams in need of offensive defencemen who can run their power play, even if it’s a team out of contention for this season. He has two years left on his deal.

Whether it’s before the trade deadline this season to create room for a larger deal, or even after the season, there isn’t much of a need to overpay a third defenceman if a player the Oilers have signed for cheaper and for the future has already passed him by.

There are a few names that have been thrown out there that may have to be moved to create room and cap space for a trade including Barrie, Mikko Koskinen, Zack Kassian, and Kyle Turris. Barrie would add value to a deal to acquire what the Oilers really need to fix their goaltending issues as well as add someone with a defence-first mindset. With two years remaining on his deal, that could be looked at as a good deal for some teams who will be utilizing him higher in the lineup and where Barrie will be a lock on the power play.

Oilers Are Well Stocked

Not only is Barrie in the way of Bouchard, but since he’s being paid $4.5 million, there’s also this sense of needing to play him and take up a roster spot of a younger defender of the future. Don’t get me wrong, Barrie deserves a spot in the lineup, but he’s not the right fit anymore with the Oilers.

These younger defencemen include William Lagesson, Markus Niemelainen, Philip Broberg, and Dmitri Samorukov to start. Lagesson has had the largest positive impact recently directly from Barrie being out of the lineup. After Slater Koekkoek didn’t have the best showings in the first two games of this Oilers’ win streak, Lagesson stepped in, played over 16 minutes in his last game, adding an assist, and started to earn the coaching staff’s trust.

William Lagesson Edmonton Oilers
William Lagesson, Edmonton Oilers (Photo by Andy Devlin/NHLI via Getty Images)

What Lagesson and Niemelainen bring to the Oilers, Barrie doesn’t have. That being size, physicality, and a more defensive mindset. With the offence from defenders seemingly covered with Bouchard, Darnell Nurse, and Duncan Keith, the other three should be able to play solid defensively and not be a liability to even out the group.

Related: Oilers’ William Lagesson Starting to Earn Coaching Staff’s Trust

Even if Barrie isn’t moved this year, next season there will be all the names I mentioned above vying for spots on the Oilers’ roster, and clearing the cap space and giving an opportunity to younger defencemen can allow them to build a competitive team to compete every year.

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