Is Tyson Barrie good? You know, the player that perks up all the Corsi-heads at his very mention? Or is he bad? The undersized defenseman who offers little in his own end, seems to disappear for multiple games at a time, and plays major minutes on an underperforming defense for a team that expects to be better?
If our survey is any indication, there's isn't much consensus on the 24-year-old, second-generation NHLer from Victoria, British Columbia. His aggressive blue line play is inherently polarizing, and chances are most of you have chosen a side over the course of his three-plus seasons with the Colorado Avalanche.
MHH Survey Grade: 72.0%
2014-15 was considered a "breakout" year for Barrie after scoring 53 points and 12 goals in 80 games, but 2013-14 wasn't shabby either. In just 64 contests -- after a short stint in the minors -- he scored 38 points, including 13 goals. Last year, he turned in an almost now-predictable 49 points and 13 goals in 78 games. In today's NHL, this is elite production among defenseman, especially for a player who won't even turn 25 for another month.
Streakiness is inherent in hockey performance. Even point-per-game players who "bring it every night," if you look at their game summaries, they're going to have plenty of three-point nights and plenty of games with nothing on the score sheet at all. It's simply the nature of the game. Good teams have other players that fill in these scoring gaps.
Is his defense bad? Yeah, probably, but who needs to play defense when you're consistently driving offense?
In the four seasons Barrie has put up a consistently positive shot differential at even strength hockey relative to his teammates: Plus-0.6, 3.9, 3.4, 0.9. That's best among Avalanche defenseman over the course of his tenure. Sheltered minutes or faceoffs? Not since 2013-14. In each of the past two seasons, Barrie has only started in the offensive zone 50.8% and 49.0% of the time. He's getting his fair share of the defensive responsibilities and still putting up eye-popping numbers for a young defenseman.
MHH Staff Grade: B-
Here's our first big disagreement with the survey results. Barrie is a special defenseman who is set to earn a lot of money this summer as a restricted free agent. He knows it, his agents know it, and I'm confident Avalanche management know it. Hopefully a manageable price can be agreed on and Barrie can climb to an even greater level with a more capable Top-4 partner.