Tyson Barrie was a BOSS last season that's what he was. He was a joy to watch skate, he was always effective in his own zone despite not being much of a physical presence by using superior skating (except that one Phil Kessel goal), he was capable of breaking out, he was capable in transition and the neutral zone, and he gave his team a chance to score and win hockey games.
Oh you were expecting numbers. Right. As always they're taken from War on Ice and Hockey-Reference.
Just for AJ, let's start by mentioning Barrie's 1.4 P/60 at even strength. Get rid of the scrubs and that makes him tops in the league in that category (among defensemen with 1000 mins TOI). Now let's ask Justin Bourne to explain why we need to qualify rate stats so heavily.
knows that, wrote to ask if I had written an explanation for that yet. I haven't, but here's how I responded. (2/2) pic.twitter.com/6k64bVBizx— Justin Bourne (@jtbourne) August 4, 2015
I know, words for ants, the tl;dr of this is that in Bourne's opinion, guys with a little less ice time and a little more production per time usually are riding the coattails of a much better workhorse ahead of them - "which is why Josh Bailey ends up with a better p60 than John Tavares," he says. The competition is a little easier at lower TOI levels (and, yes, the teammates a little worse) so those guys might be able to get away with more out there. So let's put Tyson Barrie's 2014-15 points production in context.
For one, I'm willing to entertain the idea that he might be a great shooter for a defenseman. 7.5% and 9.2% in his full seasons are both killer, and doing it back to back makes me think there might be something there. But he probably isn't going to shoot 9% every year. Not a lot of defenders can because there's just too much going on in front of them they can't control.
His Corsi-rel has always been positive, and while it's true he gets some of the softer zone starts and assignments, he more than exceeds the expectations in shot attempts for his role, both for and against. (dCF Impact 46.95, dCA Impact -27.67 last season, negative dCA is good). And the shot attempts he is on ice for seem to be dangerous compared to his teammates: He sports positive rel-percentages in both scoring chances and high-danger scoring chances.
So what Barrie can influence, we see evidence in the numbers that he does in a strong and positive way. And we don't exactly expect his role to change next season, but we DO expect his teammate quality to increase. Barrie mostly carried Nate Guenin last season, and next season he gets to do the same for some Swede from Russia called Zadderroff that the Avs traded a good Ontaria boy for. [SUIT INTENSIFIES]
So when we look for any possible signs to hold our enthusiasm, we do find the one: percentages. His own I've already mentioned. The shooting percentage of his teammates last season was 11.3%. That's astronomical and it has a very low chance to repeat next season.
What does this mean for 2015?
One change I expect in the major numbers for Tyson Barrie next season is the assist total to dip. He may score 30 even-strength points again, not saying he won't, but if he does it would be on the back of sustained production with more puck possession, not the same sort of run he had last season of the puck just going in for his teammates. (Of his 24 assists last season, only 11 were primary (Puckalytics).)
But I definitely do expect his underlyings to continue improving, partially because he is only getting better, and partially because (knock on wood) he isn't dragging a pointy anchor around the ice instead of a defense partner.
I guess what I'm trying to say, and it was actually this conclusion that sparked the whole series, is be patient with Barrie next season, and look deeper than his very-probable dip in points. He probably can't pull off the same kind of magic bullshit he did last year. But he will still be the same badass.
Now take to the comments! My flame shield is ready. Can't wait to hear you guys explain exactly why this is all wrong.