Tyson Barrie’s time in Nashville hasn’t gone the greatest as the offensive blueliner is still looking for his first goal of the season. Now, Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman reports (Twitter link) that the Predators have opted to scratch Barrie for today’s game against the Rangers while also granting him permission to speak to other teams about a potential trade.
The 32-year-old was acquired near the trade deadline last season from Edmonton for salary-matching purposes in the Mattias Ekholm deal. Between the two teams, he played in 85 games (tying an NHL record for most games played in a single season), collecting 13 goals and a career-high 42 assists. At a minimum, there was some enthusiasm that Barrie could produce at a somewhat similar clip this year, giving the Preds either a good trade asset for the March 8th trade deadline or a short-term veteran to try to keep around.
Things haven’t gone according to plan, however. Despite averaging 3:15 per game on the power play, Barrie has been limited to just three assists in 22 games with the man advantage, a situation where he often piles up the point. He hasn’t fared much better at even strength either, notching just six helpers while logging over 15 minutes a game at five-on-five. His 18:51 ATOI in all situations is his lowest since 2013-14.
That’s not exactly how Barrie wanted his contract year to go; he’ll be an unrestricted free agent this summer. Meanwhile, it’s fair to say his trade value has certainly dropped as well.
Barrie carries a $4.5MM AAV (with no trade protection) which is going to be difficult for many teams to fit in given how many are using LTIR or are very tight to the Upper Limit of the cap. As a result, GM Barry Trotz will either have to retain part of his contract (they can hold back up to half) or take a similar-sized deal back to facilitate a swap. However, it’s worth noting that Nashville has already used two of its three retention slots (on Ekholm and Ryan Johansen) so retaining on Barrie’s deal would take that open off the table for anyone else until July 1st.
Barrie has shown in recent years that he can still be a higher-end offensive blueliner. But that hasn’t been the case in Nashville and now, his camp will begin the process of trying to see if there’s another option for him elsewhere. More specifically, they’ll look to see if there’s another team with a viable need for him that can also afford his contract. From being one of the higher-scoring blueliners in the league last season to this; this is certainly quite the drop in value in just a few short months.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.