When it comes to contract situations, Tyson Barrie has largely flown under the radar in Colorado while Ryan O’Reilly went through his very public disagreement with the team. While the Colorado Avalanche drama with O’Reilly was followed with the same fervor and hype as your typical soap opera, Barrie settled on a short-term contract with the Avalanche. I say settled because Tyson Barrie wanted more than what he got this time around; but, rather than follow in the footsteps of his teammate, Barrie decided to bet on himself and earn the big contract. That bet is about to pay off in a big way.
Tyson Barrie signed a two-year contract with an AAV of $2.6 million after his entry level contract expired. Barrie wanted more, but the Avalanche wanted him to prove that he could be the type of defenseman he had been in the 2013-2014 year where he tallied 13 goals. Barrie responded with 12 goals the following season and a career best in assists (41) and points (53).
To date, in the 2015-2016 seasons, Barrie has 29 points, which includes seven goals, and is leading Avalanche defensemen in scoring. He’s also tied for sixth amongst NHL defensemen in scoring. Most recently, Tyson Barrie earned honors from the NHL as third star of the week, which included a four point night against the Los Angeles Kings (2 goals, 2 assists). All of this puts him on pace for another career year, and the potential to break 60 points. Needless to say, Tyson Barrie has proven his point.
This part is going to be incredibly interesting. Tyson Barrie has succeeded in putting his name pretty close to some of the biggest names in the game. Barrie is currently tied in scoring with one P.K. Subban, who carries a hefty $9 million cap hit. That being said, I don’t see it being very likely that Barrie will command that type of money from anybody. At the same time, he certainly could pose an interesting problem for the Avalanche who are married to a specific structure in their salaries. That structure is pretty clearly set at $6 million AAV for the top players, with only Matt Duchene and Erik Johnson getting this money. The big question will be, what will Tyson Barrie ask for and how flexible will the Avalanche be?
The other big question will revolve around Tyson Barrie’s flexibility, we cannot forget that he does have the same agent as Ryan O’Reilly. That being said, an agent cannot tell a player to not take a deal or to hold out for more money if the player is willing to make a deal at a certain dollar amount. The agent’s job is to get a contract done that is to the liking of his/her client, not to sabotage negotiations. I do believe that we will see a much more reasonable approach to things from Barrie’s camp than was ever seen from Ryan O’Reilly.
Why yes, Pat Morris is Tyson Barrie's agent https://t.co/OqM2sDgAFC
— Adrian Dater (@adater) July 4, 2015
One other thing that the Avalanche do have working for them is that Barrie is a restricted free agent; meaning they have negotiating rights. If a team signs Barrie to an offer sheet, the Avalanche can match or will receive a specific amount of compensation depending on the dollar amounts and it appears that there are those who think Barrie could command a king’s ransom, which could make the Avalanche look long and hard at matching the offer or taking the prize package, so to speak.
Dreger on RFA Tyson Barrie: "Some believe he could command between 6 and $8 million dollars per year." Has arbitration rights. #Avs
— Chris Nichols (@NicholsOnHockey) December 15, 2015
At the end of the day, I do believe that the Avalanche will get this worked out with Barrie. Barrie has shown a willingness to work with the organization and the Avalanche have rewarded guys like that, as evidenced by the contracts signed by Matt Duchene, Erik Johnson, Gabriel Landeskog and Semyon Varlamov. Barrie is going to get paid, make no bones about it, and it is very possible that the Avalanche will have to massage their “structure” a little bit to keep him. My guess is that Barrie will do similarly to Erik Johnson and ask for more term to make up for the money. 7-8 years at around $6.5 million AAV seems like a total that should make both Barrie and the Avalanche very happy.
The Avalanche must be careful though, and know that if they aren’t willing to pony up enough cash to keep their game-changing defenseman, somebody out there will.