1:15pm: The Edmonton Oilers have confirmed the signing of Barrie. The deal is for one year and $3.75MM, a great value even based on his disappointing production this past season nevertheless the immense potential he brings playing with the Oilers elite power play.
12:00pm: Things didn’t work out in Toronto for Tyson Barrie and now the mobile defenseman is going to take a year to revitalize his value. TSN’s Darren Dreger reports that Barrie has agreed to terms with the Edmonton Oilers on a one-year contract. The value is expected to come in just under $4MM, well below Barrie’s expected market value.
When Barrie was traded to the Maple Leafs last season, many expected that the talented puck-mover would excel on Toronto’s skilled roster. Instead, he had one of the worst seasons of his career, posting his second-lowest points per game since becoming a full-time NHLer and recording just five goals, the fewest in a season as a regular player. Suddenly, a player who had typically recorded 50+ points per year with the Colorado Avalanche was heading toward the free agent market for the first time with a sour season behind him, not to mention entering a market dictated by a flat cap and chock full of right-handed defensemen.
Barrie was unlikely to receive the lucrative, long-term contract that many expected prior to last season, but under $4MM as an AAV is still a major surprise. In fact, TSN’s Frank Seravalli reports that Barrie turned down an offer with an AAV of $6MM to join the Oilers on a one-year deal. Why? Opportunity, especially with Edmonton’s Oscar Klefbom expected to miss the season due to injury. Barrie will be given the quarterback role on the power play that was the best in the NHL this past season. He will also become the team’s go-to source of even strength offense on the blue line, as only Klefbom and Darnell Nurse topped 30 points this year. Given the numbers that Barrie produced in Colorado, even in some pretty dismal seasons for the club, he has enormous upside if he can return to form in Edmonton playing alongside their superstars Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl.
Barrie is banking on himself this year. It’s a risk, but it has a high likelihood of paying off. The skilled blue liner has the potential for a career season this year and will enter a 2021 free agent market where his only real competition for the title of top right-handed defender is Dougie Hamilton. A small payday today could transform into a massive payday next summer.