He's not the biggest, fastest, or strongest, but he is one of the smartest defensemen in the WHL. Here's a more in-depth look at one of Colorado's 2009 draft picks...Tyson Barrie.
Birth Date: July 26, 1991
Weight: 191 lbs
Hometown: Victoria, BC
Current Team: Kelowna Rockets (WHL)
Drafted: 64th overall in 2009
The 2010-11 campaign is only half-way over for Tyson Barrie and it has been filled with its share of ups and downs. A torn hamstring that prevented him from participating in Avalanche training camp this past September, a slow start to his season in the Western Hockey League (WHL) with the Kelowna Rockets, and a devastating loss to the Russians in the recently completed 2011 World Junior Championship.
The Avs nabbed Barrie in the third round of the 2009 NHL Entry Draft, right around where he was expected to be selected. He was ranked 52nd overall for North American skaters by Central Scouting Services. At that time his father, Len, was co-owner of the Tampa Bay Lightning. Yet, the Lightning passed on him (which wasn't necessarily a disappointment for either Barrie).
Barrie's junior team, the Kelowna Rockets, is a defensemen factory. The club has produced the likes of Duncan Keith, Tyler Myers, Luke Schenn and Shea Weber; in addition to current Av defenseman Kyle Cumiskey and former Av Scott Hannan. Barrie had an opportunity to play with Schenn in 2007-08 and Myers in 2008-09. Both players were a huge influence on the Victoria, BC native and helped to mold him into the player he has become today.
Barrie is known more for his offense. In his first full season with Kelowna, in 2007-08, he had 43 points (eighth highest amongst rookies) in 64 games as a 16-year-old. In the following season, his draft year, his numbers bumped up to 52 points in 68 games (ninth best for league defensemen).
Yet, the 2009-10 season was a special one for Barrie. He finished tied for first with Kevin Connauton for points for defensemen. Each defender had 72 points, but Connauton edged Barrie in goals scored. However, when it came to season awards, it was Barrie who was named WHL Defenseman of the Year.
Entering the 2010-11 season, Barrie knew he would need to improve his game even further. His skating has been scrutinized, but it is no longer the weakness it has been in the recent past. At 5'10", 191 lbs, Barrie isn't a towering behemoth. Instead of pounding the opposition, he uses his brain. Barrie is one of the smartest players on the ice and is positionally sound.
He oozes confidence, but knows his weaknesses and strives to improve upon them. He's also a leader, which was no surprise when he was named captain of the Kelowna Rockets for the 2010-11 season. Yet, an injury in Kelowna's training camp ended any chance for Barrie to make an impression during Colorado's training camp. The torn hamstring he suffered kept him out for weeks.
When he returned to the Kelowna lineup, it took some time for Barrie's offense to kick in. During the month of October, he managed a goal and two assist in six games. As the calendar turned to November, Barrie's game picked up. He finished the month with 19 points in 11 games. As December rolled around, Barrie was among the top 10 scoring defensemen in the league and then his focus turned to representing his country.
Tyson Barrie was named to Canada's National Junior Team selection camp roster and managed to earn one of the coveted spots on Canada's entry into the 2011 World Junior Championship. As expected, Barrie's role on the team started small. He suited up as the seventh defenseman and saw time on Canada's second power play unit.
As Barrie grew more comfortable and as Canada suffered injuries to its blue line and others underperformed, he slowly moved up the depth chart. By the time the tournament concluded, Barrie was earning top pairing minutes for the Canadians. Still, the journey ended in disappointment.
Barrie finished with a goal, two assists, and a plus six rating in seven games, but returned to Kelowna with a silver medal. Canada, having defeated the Swiss in the quarterfinals and the Americans in the semifinals, was just 20 minutes away from claiming the gold medal. Yet, five unanswered goals for the Russians in the third period of the gold medal game ended that dream.
Despite the disappointing result, Barrie drew positive reviews for his performance. Barrie will take his silver medal back to the Kelowna Rockets to captain his club back to the playoffs. At least 30 games remain in the season for WHL clubs and the Rockets will need Barrie's offense and leadership to secure a playoff spot.
The Avalanche retain Barrie's rights until June 1, 2011. Barring a trade of his rights, Tyson Barrie should garner a contract with the Avalanche after Kelowna's season concludes and fans should expect to see him suiting up for the Lake Erie Monsters in the 2011-12 season.