Why does nobody talk about Tyson Barrie when discussing elite fantasy defenders? On a Colorado Avalanche squad that is quite honestly devoid of high-end offensive talent beyond the top line, Barrie posted an impressive 0.84 pts/GM in 68 games played. Pro rate this to a full 82-game campaign and the Victoria native would have been flirting with the 70-point plateau from the blue line. That is absurd production for a defenseman that we only see really discussed with the likes of Erik Karlsson, yet Barrie never gets his due. A prime example for fantasy owners scrutinous behavior in terms of plus-minus, had he not gone minus-34 in 2016-17, his average draft position would’ve been far higher than the comical 199.0 he had on ESPN this past year.
To put into perspective how one bad campaign can alter the perspective of a player, in my keeper setting, Barrie was drafted in the 19th round only to be dropped one month in for me to ever so happily scoop off the wire. That claim alone did wonders for the squad and assisted in advancing me to the championship round once again to defend my title only to lose thanks to poor goaltending. Alas, Barrie was an absolute stalwart on the blue line and 2016-17 can be wiped from the record books as far as his fantasy prowess. Let us dive into Barrie’s 2014-15 onward in an effort to make you realize if not already aware of the offensive threat he possesses.
The first noticeable aspect at least for me, is that Barrie has been producing healthy offense from the back end since long before Nathan Mackinnon’s breakout 2017-18, thereby nullifying any semblance of thought his season was a product of the Nova Scotia’s second-most beloved son. Since 2014-15, Barrie has averaged 49.25 points per year and that’s with 2016-17’s meager 38-point campaign factored in. Remove that year and he averages 53 points each campaign. 50 points for a defender is prolific and even hard for a majority of forwards to attain. Never incredibly adept in power-play production, that all changed in 2017-18, with Barrie posting 30 power-play points alone, tying him with the likes of John Tavares and usurping the likes of Brent Burns, Anze Kopitar, and Nicklas Backstrom. Though somewhat concerning that he has more man advantage points than at even strength, I have no worries that the Avalanche top unit will have any issues converting their chances in the coming season just as often. A consistent goal scorer, Barrie routinely crosses the 10-goal plateau and has 12 or more in four of the past five seasons. Plain and simple we are looking at one of the more consistent offensive threats from the blue line across the league and he’s hiding in plain sight.
Jumping into advanced statistics, right off the bat the first thing that should be catching your eye is his impressive PDO performance since 2013-14, with each season besides 2016-17 being above 1015. Barrie posted an absurd 2.2 pts/60 from the blue line which even for a forward would be an impressive rate of production. That’s higher than Erik Karlsson, John Klingberg, P.K. Subban, Drew Doughty, Brent Burns and John Carlson. There’s no arguing that Barrie isn’t particularly strong in possession but as far as fantasy goes it should not be weighed heavily in your mind, for at the end of the day he finds his way onto the scoresheet. Goals and assists are what we’re really after at the end of the day isn’t it?
Most notable for the 27-year old Canadian as far as production for me, is that he produces at the rate he does devoid of any player equal to his offensive talents on the blue line. Samuel Girard has promise sure, but as of yet he’s done nothing prolific, therefore he isn’t in Barrie’s stratosphere, in my book, at this point in time. Nikita Zadorov is his most consistent partner at even strength and although an improving defender in his own regard, nobody is confusing him for Paul Coffey anytime soon. Perhaps Scott Stevens with his similar flair for throwing devastating hits. Barrie is the only true offensive threat currently on this Avalanche blue line so seemingly all opposition should be keying on him whenever deployed but the man finds a way to get on the stat sheet regardless.
Many won’t get to watch Barrie often, him being in the state of Colorado and not on a big market squad. Though if you ever have the opportunity to see the Avalanche play, really watch how he approaches the game. Nothing but an average defender in all honesty, he makes up for it by being an elite offensive talent and distributor with great skating ability. If offense is what you want and at a more than fair price in drafts albeit a little higher this time around, Tyson Barrie is your guy. A player such as him allows you to wait a little on defense and really stock up on that forward talent while still quintessentially not missing out on a high end blue liner. Do not forget this name in your coming drafts as he almost always somehow goes way below where he should for the point generation capabilities he brings to the table. Do not let the collective minus-49 over the past two seasons scare you off. To avoid a player who generates points like he does from his position over something so miniscule would be ill advised.
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