Tyson Barrie signed one of the more surprising deals in the free agency period thus far. The defenseman who struggled in Toronto this past season but is an offensively-gifted blueliner with a knack of turning it on and scoring points in bunches had a choice to make. Where would he go based on the best fit both short-term and long-term?
For Barrie, it was about two things: 1) he wanted to prove this past season with the Maple Leafs was an anomaly. 2) he wanted to play in a location where he could shine and had a chance to win. Ultimately, as he weighed a couple options — including one rumored to be for significantly more money — he chose the Oilers.
He signed a one-year deal with $3.75 million and he’s hoping to turn that into a monster deal down the road.
When he spoke to the media afterwards, he said this decision wasn’t about money. He called joining the Oilers a “no-brainer”, noting he wants to “re-establish himself” as a premier defenceman. It helped that he got a call from one specific member of the team.
Barrie admitted that Oilers captain Connor McDavid called as he was figuring out what to do. He said, one of the best players in world reached out and gave him that little extra nudge and confidence he was making the right decision.
It’s not known exactly what was said, but what is clear is that McDavid saw Barrie as someone who could help. And, for Barrie, that was important. We can only imagine it went something like this…
‘Man you gotta come here. Can you imagine how dangerous our power play will be with you and me running it? You’ll explode here! If I were you, I’d be excited about eatin’ up these chumps…’
Ok, maybe that last part was a little bit of an adlib…
It Matters Who You Play With
Naysayers of the Oilers have contended that players don’t really care who they play with as long as the city is nice and the money is good. Well, the weather in Edmonton isn’t wonderful and Barrie is rumored to have left more than $2 million on the table to come to the Oilers. Why? Because who he played with and where he slotted matters.
Barrie was open about seeing this as an opportunity to improve his game and prove he’s “a heck of a player.” He’s out to show the hockey world that the anger and vitriol thrown at him from the Toronto media and fan base is unwarranted.
Something tells us McDavid is going to take a keen interest in helping him do that and from there, let the chips fall where they may for the seasons that come after next.
Next: Zach Bogosian Signs With the Toronto Maple Leafs
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