It was expected that defenseman Tyson Barrie might not be a part of the Nashville Predators roster by the time the March 8 NHL trade deadline rolls around.
But Barrie’s time with the Predators may be coming to an end sooner than expected after Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman reported on Saturday morning that Nashville is possibly looking to move on from 32-year-old defenseman.
“There is word today the Nashville Predators have given Tyson Barrie permission to talk to other teams,” Friedman tweeted. “Barrie is expected to be a scratch vs the Rangers and is a UFA after this season. This allows team and player to see if there is a better fit elsewhere.”
Barrie’s offensive contributions have never been in question. Among Predators defensemen, he ranks second in points (9), power-play points (3) and shots (31), and he’s averaged the third-most ice time per game (18:51).
But it’s become evident 22 games into the season that his style of play doesn’t quite mesh well with the new system first-year head coach Andrew Brunette is running. Barrie has the fewest hits (6), shots blocked (22) and takeaways (2), and he has the lowest percentage of shifts in the defensive zone (7.1%) of Predators defensemen to play in 10 or more games, per Money Puck.
With Spencer Stastney clearly ready for a bigger role, exploring potential trade options for Barrie just makes sense https://t.co/LS7fhEySGO
— Michael Gallagher (@MGsports_) December 2, 2023
Here are a few teams to watch who could have interest in acquiring Barrie:
Goaltending has been the Oilers’ Achilles heel this season, but they could make life a little easier on Stuart Skinner and Calvin Pickard by reacquiring Barrie and bolstering quality of players in front of them.
Barrie’s $4.5 million salary makes this a bit tougher move for Edmonton, which has around $678,000 in cap space to pull off, but if the Predators, who have approximately $7.7 million in available funds, really want to move Barrie and maximize their return, perhaps retaining half of his salary makes this deal more doable?
New Jersey Devils
Given the Devils are tied for the sixth-most shorthanded goals allowed (19) and they’re surrendering the second-most goals per game in the NHL (3.73), their need on defense likely falls more in line with wanting a penalty-killing depth defender more so than an offensive specialist like Barrie.
However, the Devils will be without star defenseman Dougie Hamilton, who leads the team’s defenders in points (19), for an extended period of time after he recently had pectoral surgery, and Barrie could make sense as a plug-and-play replacement who can step in immediately.
New Jersey called up top prospect Simon Nemec to fill Hamilton’s spot in Friday’s loss to the San Jose Sharks, but acquiring a player like Barrie would allow him to continue developing with the AHL’s Utica Comets.
New York Islanders
The Islanders defensive group is reeling. Adam Pelech will be out a while after being placed on long-term injured reserve, and Sebastian Aho was placed on injured reserve just five days ago. The team was so desperate for defensive help it claimed Mike Reilly off waivers from the Florida Panthers hoping he could at least be a band-aid for the time being.
Additionally, New York has struggled with getting much offensive production from their blue line, outside of Noah Dobson. The team has just 39 points from its defensemen, of which Dobson has accounted for 21 of them. New York’s forwards haven’t been much better, and the team ranks 28th in the NHL in goals per game (2.73).
Adding Barrie would bring some steadiness to a defensive core searching for any kind of stability, inject some much-needed offensive pop into the lineup, and ease some of the pressure on Dobson to carry the load on the power play.
Toronto Maple Leafs
In putting John Klingberg on long-term injured reserve, the Maple Leafs lost much of the offensive punch they were expecting from their blue line this season. The good news is Klingberg’s LTIR status gives Toronto some cap flexibility to go out and find his replacement.
Barrie (0.63 points per game) has had similar offensive production throughout his career to Klingberg (0.65 points per game), and he can take over the latter’s role on the power play. Barrie’s PP time with the Predators (3:16 per game) is nearly identical to what Klingberg was seeing before his injury (3:24 per game).
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