The Edmonton Oilers should still trade Tyson Barrie

Tyson Barrie remains a luxury the Edmonton Oilers can’t afford.

With Duncan Keith reportedly retiring on Friday, rumors began swirling that the Oilers would be looking to keep Barrie back.

What would that look like? Well, Barrie would most likely remain on the Oilers’ third pair and best power play unit. His value lies in his ability to move the puck at 5×5 and the quarterback on the power play.

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There’s no denying the attacking edge he brings to the table, but his defensive game is non-existent on the best days. No knock on him, it’s just like that and it’s an area he’s always struggled with.

So if the Oilers bring him and Brett Kulak back, the depth chart looks like this:

Nurse – Ceci

Koulak–Bouchard

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Broberg-Barrie

The top two pairs look very strong, but the third pair is what concerns me. The Oilers would be asking a lot of Broberg, who will play his first serious NHL minutes next year, to be paired with a struggling defenseman. For me, this is a situation where both players are set up to fail.

Barrie has two more years left on his contract paying him a $4.5m AAV – by no means a terrible deal, but it’s a lot of money for a one-dimensional player at 5×5 which prevents Bouchard from having significant PP1 minutes.

That’s why I think the team still needs to look to move Barrie.

The Oilers could instead go the free agent route to find a replacement in Barrie. Names like Jan Rutta, Ilya Lyubushkin, Matt Benning or Nikita Zadorov make sense.

Here are their most likely contract projections, c/o Evolving Hockey:

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  • Rutta – reaching the cap of $2.412 million over three years.
  • Lyubushkin – one year, $836,700
  • Benning – one year. $792,000.
  • Zadorov – five years, $4.255 million.

Excluding screenings only, I would target anyone in the top three while avoiding Zadorov at all costs based on that price alone.

Edmonton could use that extra cap space to craft a serious offer for someone like Claude Giroux, who, under a three-year contract, projects a cap of $6.466 million. All the while, Edmonton could add a stable defenseman on the cheap to team up with Broberg.


Zach Laing is the News Director and Senior Columnist for the Nation Network. He can be followed on Twitter at @zjlaingor attached by email to [email protected]


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