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Oilers’ Tyson Barrie Holds Embarrassing First-Ever Honor for Defensemen

Tyson Barrie holds the record for a stat you don’t really want to have if you’re someone who produces a lot of points in the NHL.

To say Tyson Barrie is a polarizing defenseman in the NHL would be understating things. The analytics community pretty much hates him because his underlying numbers are poor. The ‘seen-him-good’ crowd has time for him because he’s an obviously gifted offensive player who can produce from the blue line. Case in point, he led the NHL in scoring from defenseman this past regular season.

The only problem with that: getting that many points doesn’t come with a guaranteed level of respect. In fact, in Barrie’s case, he’s not getting any respect from the voters who were responsible for awarding this year’s Norris Trophy for defenseman of the year.

Related: Details on Oilers Rumored Strategy to Trade for Duncan Keith

As popular NHL analytics account JFresh pointed out on Twitter, “Tyson Barrie is the first player in the 67-year history of the Norris Trophy to lead defencemen in scoring and not receive a single vote.” It was later pointed out that he’s the first defenseman ever based on a technicality about where one of the players on the list was actually slotted in terms of his position.

Either way, the point is, despite all of Barrie’s points and his offensive production, not a single voter who was responsible for deciding on the Norris Trophy winner saw Barrie as a candidate. He didn’t get a sniff. Not a single vote. No love at all.

The reactions to the distinction are varied. Some fans are calling out the voting process. One Twitter comment wrote, “seeing how stupid the voting is and it tends to just go straight to the highest scoring defencemen and not the true best defencemen this is hilarious.” Others took a shot at Barrie. One person commented, “Its ok, Cause I’ve never seen Tyson Barrie play Defense anyways.” One account actually took this as an opportunity to bash the Oilers and their potential practice of bringing in players who aren’t any good and that the people who matter have recognized it. One user took at shot at rumors the Oilers might have both Duncan Keith and Tyson Barrie on their roster next season and wrote, “Barrie-Keith at 5m each gonna be dangerous next year.” then included a couple of fire emojis.

It’s Hard to Believe Barrie Didn’t Get One Vote

Either way, it’s pretty incredible that Barrie didn’t get a single vote. After a 48-point season in 56 games, it’s almost unbelievable. It could explain why recent speculation is that Barrie is potentially circling back to the Oilers to see if they are interested in re-signing him versus testing the free agent market where it was believed he’d hit a home run.

Tyson Barrie Norris Trophy
Tyson Barrie Norris Trophy

Perhaps GMs are feeling the same way the NHL awards voters did. Barrie might be gifted offensively and he could produce a ton of points, but if he’s not viewed as a strong, well-rounded defenseman, one has to wonder what his value is around the league where the flat salary cap is still very much a factor.

There’s room for a one-dimensional player on most teams, but how much will a team be willing to invest that player?

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