Toronto Maple Leafs: Tyson Barrie’s Post-Babcock Norris-Worthy Season

The Toronto Maple Leafs signed T.J Brodie this summer to replace the outgoing Tyson Barrie.

This was a move the Toronto Maple Leafs probably felt that they had to make.  Barrie is a bad defensive player, and while he more than makes up for it with offense, given the make-up of the Leafs, you can understand why they’d want the more defensively responsible Brodie.

Time will tell if that was the right move, but I think it probably was.  The Leafs entire contingent of defensemen can move the puck, and putting a complimentary player with Morgan Rielly is probably the best thing they could do.

But I do think that Tyson Barrie deserves more credit that he gets.  While people often rip the trade that sent Nazem Kadri to Colorado, the fact is that the Leafs got a younger, faster, cheaper, better defensive player in Alex Kerfoot.  Ironically, the same reasons that make T.J Brodie a better fit in Toronto than Tyson Barrie also make Kerfoot a better fit than Kadri (basically, Kadri/Barrie’s offense is not really needed, and Kerfoot/Brodie provides what they are missing).

Toronto Maple Leafs and Tyson Barrie

Back to Barrie.  I don’t think he deserves the Norris Trophy or consideration for it.  I just want to point out that those who voted for this years Trophy think that he did.  Or at least, if they were basing their votes on measured performance (and not reputation) and thought that John Carlson deserved votes, internal consistency would demand they also voted for Barrie.

But perception is a funny thing and the majority of Toronto Maple Leafs fans think Tyson Barrie had a terrible season.  He didn’t.  What happened is that Mike Babcock misused Barrie and that, combined with being traded for the most popular home-grown player since Wendel Clark, made it so that it almost didn’t matter what his actual performance was – he got the must unfair bad reviews since Sophia Coppola in God Father III.

In 47 games under Sheldon Keefe, Tyson Barrie had a very good season.  Here is how he compares to John Carlson, who received 56 of 170 1st place votes for the Norris Trophy and came in a resounding second place to eventual winner Roman Josi.  (All stats naturalstattrick.com).

Here is how the two players compare:

52.32% vs 51.72 % Corsi (Barrie)

50% Shots-For % (Tie)

56% Goals For vs 47% (Barrie)

52% expected goals vs 49% (Barrie)

53% scoring chances for vs 51% (Barrie)

52 % dangerous chances for vs 51% (Barrie)

After Babcock was fired, Tyson Barrie scored 21 5v5 points (which led the Toronto Maple Leafs defensemen by 9 points and one goal). Barrie had one more point than John Carlson and was 3rd in the NHL in 5v5 scoring over this time.  He was also a regular member of the NHL’s second best power play.

The Toronto Maple Leafs probably made the right move to bring in T.J Brodie, but that doesn’t chance the fact that Tyson Barrie was a very good player for them, especially after Babcock was fired.

Personally, I think John Carlson is a bit overrated and probably shouldn’t have been voted as the second best defenseman in the NHL.  But the fact is he was considered the second best in the NHL last year, and for 47 out of 70 games, Tyson Barrie was better than he was.