The Case For the Red Wings to Trade for Tyson Barrie
If Colorado truly thinks Tyson Barrie is a fifth defenseman, Ken Holland should be on the phone with Joe Sakic and help the talented blueliner escape a sinking ship
Growing up, I'd always had a certain respect for Patrick Roy.
(Great lead to start my WIIM blogging career, right?)
It wasn't that I liked him—I loathed the Avalanche and still take joy in seeing the clip of Osgood having him pinned to the boards—but I respected the hell out of him. Dude was arguably the best in the game and he knew it and let everybody else know it.
And then when he made his coaching debut for Colorado and nearly pushed the barrier between the benches onto Bruce fuckin' Boudreau, I thought this tenure was going to be fun.
In that first year, the Avs had the best record in the Central on a luck-fueled joy ride that saw them lose in overtime in game seven to the Nino Niederreiter-led Minnesota Wild in the first round of the playoffs.
Two years later, the luck has run out.
Roy's aversion to possession statistics is akin to people who believe the earth is flat. To put his system in football terms, the offensive approach is like trying a Hail Mary every play while on defense, you're trotting out your goal line defense no matter the field position.
They were literally the worst possession team in the league last year with a CF% of 45.6
Now you may be asking, what does any of this have to do with the Red Wings?
Take this from the Edmonton Journal regarding Colorado's thoughts on good hockey player Tyson Barrie:
I think Patrick Roy really wants to get a big, strong defence. I think he really believes that Tyson Barrie should be at best a fifth defenceman and a power play specialist, so I think they will look at this contract negotiation and potential arbitration and say, ‘This is going to skew our salary structure for a guy we're not really enamoured of.'
Barrie's relative value to other teams is greater than his relative value in Denver, making him a tradeable commodity right now.
What we can gather from this is Colorado wants to apparently cover up their inability to keep up with fast teams by becoming bigger and slower. Bold strategy, kind of like icing Jonathan Ericsson while scratching Brendan Smith.
Tyson Barrie is a good defenseman whose possession numbers have suffered playing for a team that plays a version of hockey that favors luck over having the puck. If Roy and the front office look at Barrie as a fifth defenseman and power play specialist who doesn't warrant top-four money, he should be at the top of almost every team's wish list.
Ken Holland should see this as an opportunity to upgrade his blueline and take advantage of a regime in Denver that wants to pretend "size" and "grit" are more valuable than "talent" or "skill."
What would Barrie bring to Detroit?
He's a stud on the offensive end, averaging 1.15 points/60 the past two seasons while notching a point on 20 of Colorado's 48 power play goals last season. His 49 points in 2015-16 would be the best offensive season by a Wings' defenseman since 2013-14, back when Niklas Kronwall still had knees and put up eight goals and 41 assists.
Barrie will be 25 by the time the next season starts and is a young defenseman who can create opportunities, which isn't something that's been plentiful on this team. Add him to a group that ices puck movers like Smith and Mike Green and the Wings might be able to transition to a more mobile defense.
What would it take to acquire a player like Barrie? If Colorado was smart, they'd demand something similar to the deal that sent Keith Yandle to New York, where the Rangers sent Arizona a top prospect (Anthony Duclair), a bottom pairing defenseman (John Moore) and a couple high picks (a conditional first and a second).
In that scenario, the Wings could send Anthony Mantha, a conditional first round pick, a third round pick and Jonathan Ericsson, who seems to fit the archetype of the backwards-thinking, size-over-skill hockey Colorado is attempting to play.
But I can't really pretend to get in the heads of a front office that decided Eric Gelinas, Mikkel Boedker and Shawn Matthias would be enough to push their team over the top last season.
Bottom line: I think it'd be a good thing if Tyson Barrie was in a Red Wing uniform opening night.