Vancouver Canucks Should Trade for Tyson Barrie

Mar 16, 2016; Vancouver, British Columbia, CAN; Vancouver Canucks forward Daniel Sedin (22) battles for the puck and loses his stick against Colorado Avalanche defenseman Tyson Barrie (4) during the first period at Rogers Arena. Mandatory Credit: Anne-Marie Sorvin-USA TODAY Sports
Mar 16, 2016; Vancouver, British Columbia, CAN; Vancouver Canucks forward Daniel Sedin (22) battles for the puck and loses his stick against Colorado Avalanche defenseman Tyson Barrie (4) during the first period at Rogers Arena. Mandatory Credit: Anne-Marie Sorvin-USA TODAY Sports /

The Vancouver Canucks need offense from their blueline but the current group of defensemen doesn’t project to contribute much in that regard. Rumors are swirling that the  Colorado Avalanche are willing to part with young D-man Tyson Barrie. Should the Canucks make an offer the Avs can’t refuse?

I know what you’re thinking: Connor, there is a premium price to be paid for young defenders of Barrie’s calibre and it includes things that the Vancouver Canucks can’t afford to give up — namely, draft picks and prospects.

I completely agree, which is why I think the only way GM Jim Benning makes an offer on Barrie is if his draft plan implodes.

Just think what this type of skill could add to the Canucks’ PP:

Here’s the scenario: by the time the fifth pick rolls around at this year’s draft, Pierre-Luc Dubois is somehow off the table and Benning is left with the choice of Matthew Tkachuk or trading down. He probably takes Tkachuk in this situation, but what if his scout’s mind has convinced him he can find a top-line center in one of Clayton Keller, Logan Brown, Tyson Jost or Michael McLeod (projected No. 12 to 15 selections)? Have you seen Logan Brown? He’s 6-foot-6 and can skate. I’m intimidated already.

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The Avs have the 10th pick and most mock drafts have them drafting a defenseman, such as Jake Bean or Dante Fabbro. If Benning has truly made up his mind and decided that he doesn’t want any of the young defenders projected to be in the top ten picks, instead opting to select a center, then the Canucks could package their fifth-overall selection and a prospect or two for the Avs 10th-overall selection and Barrie.

Why would the fifth-overall selection be valuable to the Avalanche? Well, if they have their hearts and minds set on drafting a defenseman — and they should  — that pick would allow them to jump ahead and select one of the possibly NHL-ready defensemen, of whom the consensus is growing that Olli Juolevi and Jacob Chychrun could become top-pairing guys.

A few days ago, TSN’s Bob McKenzie was on TSN 1260 and here’s what he said to say, as transcribed by Chris Nichols:

"“Colorado is looking for a defenseman. But I don’t think they like the economic leverage that Tyson Barrie has right now. Tyson Barrie has got a very strong arbitration case. I think he’s going to be looking for a sum of money that Colorado doesn’t feel comfortable in giving him. Therefore I think they’re looking for somebody who – looking for a different type of defenseman maybe, or one that’s not going to cost them as much money.”"

Could the Canucks throw in a prospect to sweeten the deal? That way, the Avs draft a high-calibre, young D-man and add a little more depth, too.

Would that be enough to sway the Avs? I have to believe Colorado sees itself as a possible contender next season if they make the correct additions this offseason, so it’s even possible that the Canucks could include a current roster player in that package — a depth piece who has playoff experience and could help propel them deeper into the playoffs (would the Avs value a Derek Dorsett, an Alex Burrows, or a Chris Higgins, or is that just wishful thinking?).

The Canuck Way editor Janik Beichler recently proposed this trade:

This seems more likely, in terms of the price the Canucks would have to pay. Jannik Hansen could become Mikkel Boedker 2.0 for the Avs, except better as a two-way player.

Of course, this is all hypothetical. There’s the possibility that the Canucks add a free agent winger too, which would likely persuade Benning to look again at those centers further down the draft board and therefore consider trades.

But I digress…

Let’s say that a similar trade to the one I mentioned earlier indeed happens. Why would Benning want to bring a player like Barrie into the Canucks’ current defense group? What does Barrie bring to the table?

First off, here’s some essential information:

5’10” / 190 lbs / 24 years old / Shoots right

Career Stats:

264 GP / 40 G / 113 A / -7 / 87 PIM / 52 PPP 

I’d say those are some tantalizing numbers for a young defender who hasn’t played 300 NHL games yet. Barrie isn’t even in his prime and he’s already become an offensive force. Plus, he eats up decent minutes (21:06 average time on ice for his career, 23:12 last season — the highest in his three full seasons) and regularly contributes on the powerplay.

And, yes, the Canucks desperately need someone from the point who can quarterback an effective PP (sorry, Alex Edler).

Barrie is certainly undersized but he has speed and agility. Indeed, his mobility allows him to be a successful playmaker; however, his critics often focus on his tendency to disappear in games from time to time and his lack of physicality.

With 172 shots last year and only 37 hits and 84 blocks you know you’re getting an offensively-oriented D-man if you’re the Canucks, but, isn’t that where the need is, after all? Pair him with a big body who can manage the bulk of the defensive work and truly unleash Barrie’s offensive potential.

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Finally, and this is not necessarily a key factor, but Barrie is a native British Columbian! What with the increasing theme of players looking to toward their hometowns for their next gig, wouldn’t it be nice to have a good old Victoria lad manning the blueline?