Toronto Maple Leafs: Where Will Tyson Barrie Play Next Season?

TORONTO, ON - NOVEMBER 9: Toronto Maple Leafs defenseman Tyson Barrie #94 returns to the locker room after the first period against the Philadelphia Flyers at the Scotiabank Arena on November 9, 2019 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. (Photo by Kevin Sousa/NHLI via Getty Images)
TORONTO, ON - NOVEMBER 9: Toronto Maple Leafs defenseman Tyson Barrie #94 returns to the locker room after the first period against the Philadelphia Flyers at the Scotiabank Arena on November 9, 2019 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. (Photo by Kevin Sousa/NHLI via Getty Images) /

Tyson Barrie’s career with the Toronto Maple Leafs could be short-lived.

Acquired in a Canada Day blockbuster from the Colorado Avalanche, it is safe to say Barrie’s season with the Toronto Maple Leafs has had a ton of ups and downs.

In his first game as a Leaf, Barrie tantalized the hometown crowd with his dazzling moves in the offensive zone, spinning around Drake Batherson at the blueline, only to find a wide-open Ilya Mikheyev, feeding him for a one-timer for the rookie’s first goal in the NHL.

This offensive display left Leaf fans drooling over the potential juggernaut the offensive dynamo Barrie could turn Toronto into.

However, after that fateful game on the opening night of the 2019 – 20 season, Barrie underwhelmed over the next 22 games, only registering 5 assists.(stats;

The problem with Barrie was obvious to everyone but the headcoach: Mike Babcock clearly had no interest in Tyson Barrie or in trying to use him effectively.

While all looked lost throughout those 22 games, the game on the evening of November 21st seemed to have turned Barrie’s season around.

Sheldon Keefe and Barrie

With the new head coach in charge, Sheldon Keefe, the BC native was able to dazzle offensively once again and play the game his skillset is best suited for.

Scoring his first goal as a Leaf against the Arizona Coyotes, and registering 32 points over his final 47 games (stats;, it seemed as if the Tyson Barrie Kyle Dubas had traded for finally arrived.

From the point Keefe took over, Barrie was fourth among defenseman in 5v5 points scored.

Regardless of Barrie’s play under Keefe, it seems unlikely he will resign in Toronto, and ass a result, there should be several teams looking to sign the dynamic offensive threat.

The main criteria for a team looking to sign Barrie is the need for a powerplay quarterback as well as a top-four defense job available. Below, these five teams follow both criteria and could be considered potential candidates:

Winnipeg Jets

Columbus Blue Jackets

Montreal Canadiens

Nashville Predators

Calgary Flames

However, the fit is just the first criteria.

When the Leafs had just acquired Barrie back in July, Steve Simmons of the Toronto Sun reported Barrie was seeking at least $8,000,000 on his contract. Any team that would like to sign Barrie to that monstrous contract is going to require significant cap space.

The Columbus Blue Jackets, with only $10,000,000 left in cap space for 2020 – 21, still need to sign their franchise center Pierre-Luc Dubios effectively taking them out of the running for Barrie’s services.

Similarly, the Calgary Flames have significant cap space  – $21,410,834 – however, TJ Brodie, Travis Hamonic, Cam Talbot, Mark Jankowski, and Andrew Mangiapane all need new contracts and it is more likely the Flames opt to resign their current UFA defensemen then go after new ones.

As a result, a list of potential teams that were once five teams is now only three teams.

Here are the top three potential teams Tyson Barrie could be playing for next season.

3. Nashville Predators

The Nashville Predators are an interesting inclusion on this list.

In the summer of 2019, Nashville GM indicated he visions his team as contenders with the Matt Duchene signing.

However, a slow start to the 2019 – 20 season raised red flags about this teams’ direction and a mid-season coaching change only added fuel to the fire.

But with Peter Laviolette out and John Hynes in, the Predators seemed to have turned it around, placing in the second wild-card spot when the season paused.

As a result, Nashville may be looking to add to their roster to further extend their playoff window.

One critical flaw that very much prevents the Preds from transitioning into a legitimate contender is their lack of offensive firepower and expertise on the powerplay.

This season Nashville ranked 17th in goals-for as well as 25th in powerplay percentage (stats;

Looking to improve in both areas Barrie may be the answer. Over the past three seasons, Barrie ranks 11th in even-strength points and 6th in powerplay points, proving the defender has the unique ability to transform any offense from good to great.

2. Montreal Canadiens

Similar to the Nashville Predators, the Montreal Canadiens also seem to be on the outs of fringe playoff contenders.

While it could be wise for Montreal GM Marc Bergevin to sell-off their expensive veterans and enter a full-fledged rebuild, the eight-year GM remains steadfast that his team can compete right now.

If that is the case, building defensive scoring depth behind captain Shea Weber and Jeff Petry should be a priority.

Those top two defensemen accounted for 60% of all Hab scoring from the backend this season.

Also, Montreal’s lone defender on their top powerplay unit, Jeff Petry, ranks 17th in powerplay points over the last three years, all leading Montreal having the 24th ranked powerplay percentage over the same period (stats;

With Barrie in the fold, the BC native could improve the Habs blueline scoring as well as their man-advantage numbers, helping Bergevin prove to the hockey world his team can compete with the best of the best.

1. Winnipeg Jets

The best fit and the most likely landing spot for Tyson Barrie is the Winnipeg Jets.

What was once the envy of the league, the Jets blueline last year contained Dustin Byfuglien, Tyler Myers, Jacob Trouba, Ben Chiarot, and Josh Morrissey.

Jacob Trouba was shipped off to New York, Tyler Myers signed with Vancouver, Ben Chiarot with Montreal, and on the eve of the season, Dustin Byfuglien decided it was in his best interest to not play this year.

All of these subsequent moves decimated the Jets’ defense core.

However, Jets GM Kevin Cheveldayoff is going to have the opportunity this summer to add to his roster and attempt to replicate what was once the ultimate blueline.

With a loaded forward corps, Winnipeg’s struggles to generate offense from the backend remain an obstacle in their path to become a legitimate playoff threat.

Neal Pionk, the Jets highest-scoring defensemen, ranked 12th league-wide in points by d-men this season, a very respectable standing (stats;

However, a big drop off comes with the Jets’ next highest scoring d-men with Josh Morrissey ranking 48th.

Also, currently, the Jets goal-scoring and powerplay efficiency rank middle of the pack, placing them 16th and 15th respectively (stats;, clearly not good enough for a contending team.

With the Jets aspiring to advance their playoff success, Barrie can transform their offense from average to excellent.

Plus, it only helps Winnipeg is closer in proximity to Barrie’s hometown of Victoria, British Columbia.

Next. 3 Defenseman the Leafs Could Sign. dark

Tyson Barrie is a specialist in the offensive zone, and any team looking to sign the defensemen is going to get an exceptional offensive threat and a great locker room character.