Fantasy Take: Tyson Barrie Punches Ticket To Edmonton

Michael Clifford

2020-10-10

Following what can only be described as a down year in Toronto, Tyson Barrie is heading to Edmonton on a one-year deal worth $3.75 million. With the likelihood of the Oilers starting the next season without Oscar Klefbom in the lineup, and potentially many games after that, the Oilers needed to find someone to run their power play. They could have tried Nurse or Bouchard, but this team is technically in their Cup window so getting veteran insurance isn't a bad thing. On just a one-year deal, it's very low-risk for the Oilers.

What the Oilers get

I noticed a curious thing looking through Barrie's microstats: his zone entries with possession have fallen off the map. He was in the 86th percentile for possession entry percentage in 2017, but that fell to 83rd percentile in 2018, then 57 percent in 2019, and cratering to 35 percent in 2019-20. All this is found in CJ Turtoro’s viz project, and is very much worth going through. On the flipside, his shot assists (passes leading to shots in zone) have increased over the years.

My theory is that as the Avs got better, Barrie was less responsible for transition through the neutral zone, leaving that up to guys like MacKinnon, Rantanen, Landeskog etc. He then became more involved in the offensive zone as part of the attack, and a similar thought would transfer as he went to play with Matthews/Tavares/Marner/Nylander and co. It is just a theory, but if Barrie isn’t jumping up in the rush, I worry about his even strength production aside from secondary assists. (This actually plays out in his stats over the last four years. His secondary assist rate has more than doubled but his primary assist rate has decreased by about 23 percent. It got him more total assists/60 last year, but it’s a worry to rely on secondary assists for even strength production.)

Regardless, the same would apply in Edmonton. The top two lines can do all the transition work, alleviating at least some pressure from the defencemen. It would leave Barrie to focus more on in-zone offence than in transition offence, something he's become accustomed to the last few years.

Of course, the big upside here is running the Oilers power p