Tyson Barrie was beaming on Friday.
The fact that he could swing freely and have fun at the Kelowna Rockets alumni golf tournament was a positive sign for the Colorado Avalanche defender. Barrie is a restricted free agent who has had a breakout season and is expected to sign a seven-figure deal this summer. hence Colorado’s playoff run this spring.
“It’s always a pleasure to get out of here,” said the former Rockets captain, who led the WHL team with 72 points in 2009/10 and represented Canada at the 2011 Junior World Cup.
“It was a lot of fun. I don’t know if we in our group had the skills to win (the golf tournament) but we did our best and I think we were at the bottom of the field,” added Barrie with a laugh and noted that it’s more about camaraderie than competition. “That’s why you come out to see all the guys and there are such good alumni here. There are so many guys who have achieved a lot in their careers, so it’s nice to come out, meet everyone and just have fun. “
After exceeding expectations and surprisingly winning the Central Division regular season title with Barrie as a key role – along with new head coach Patrick Roy and rookie sensation Nathan MacKinnon, among others – the Avs postseason became a first round canceled loss to the seventh seeded Minnesota Wild. This series filmed an ugly hit from notorious cheap artist Matt Cooke, who caused a knee-to-knee collision with Barrie in Game 3. Barrie suffered a ripped MCL that would have incapacitated him for at least four to six weeks.Although the NHL suspended Cooke for seven games – his seventh career suspension – the damage was already done by the time the Wild prevailed in the seventh and decisive game.
“Knee on Tyson Barrie is without a doubt the game of the game. We lost our best attacking defender, ”said Roy at the time. Don Cherry called it “absolutely ridiculous”.
When asked if Cooke had contacted him or if there had been any communication between them after the incident, Barrie took the highway.
“No comment …” he said. “It was obviously disappointing, and the way it is, everyone saw what happened. But the knee is great, no problems. I will be one hundred percent for the next season. “
For Barrie, it was a devastating blow to an otherwise successful campaign in which he overcame an early stint in the minors before solidifying his squad spot and becoming Colorado’s power play quarterback and leading scorer among the Blueliners at 13. His 38 points from a defender were only second after 39 from teammate Erik Johnson, although Barrie played 16 games fewer. At the end of the season, Barrie had an average of more than 20 minutes of ice time per game, three times more than 25 minutes.
“It’s weird how it worked,” said Barrie. “I thought I was ready to play at the beginning of the year, but of course I had to grow a bit as a player and I could do that. When I came back and got a chance, I was fortunate that things are going my way and that it was a lot of fun at the end of the year.
“I felt good and our team played great and it was special to be there, but it was just unfortunate that it ended so quickly and so.”
Optimism remains high in Mile High City, with Colorado making only minor changes to its roster this off-season. Second-line center Paul Stastny left Denver to sign as a free agent with the St. Louis Blues, but the Avalanche replaced him with top-six winger Jarome Iginla, formerly of the Boston Bruins, in a swap that did it MacKinnon enables one to return to his natural position as the center. Additionally, the Avs sent two draft picks to San Jose to acquire veteran defender Brad Stuart and made some signings as well.
“It’s hard to lose (Stastny) but the West is such a big, physical and talented group that I think we had to get a little bigger and we did,” said Barrie. “The leadership that Iggy brings and what he will do for our team, he can still score goals so it will be huge for us. And with Stuart in the backend, he’s a big, stable guy, so we’ve improved overall.
“With the coaching that we have and the personal responsibility and commitment, it will be a fun team to see over the next few years. Our goal is to win the Stanley Cup and I think that can happen sooner or later, so I’m looking forward to it. “
Barrie is certainly a big piece of the puzzle, and his continued development can increase Colorado’s chances of winning its first championship since 2001 and the third in franchise history.
“It was nice to play and to feel like I knew I could, to show what I can and to show that I can help,” said Barrie, who turned pro in 2011-12 and had a total of 42 NHL members. Games over its first run was two seasons, split between Colorado and the Lake Erie Monsters of the AHL in Cleveland, Ohio. “I’ll just keep trying to improve and help the team win by being an attacking defender who won’t get beaten in the back end. I think I can improve on what I did last year. “
Regarding Roy as coach, Barrie enjoyed playing for the Hall of Fame goalkeeper, noted for his fiery personality and victorious pedigree as a four-time Stanley Cup champion and Memorial Cup-winning coach with the Quebec Remparts of the QMJHL in the year 2006 is known.
“Patty was great. You see the passion he has and some people think he can be a little crazy, but with us he was always level headed and never yelled at us, ”Barrie said. “I think he was the best thing that happened to this team and then a guy like MacKinnon comes in and plays like him. The sky’s the limit for Nate and he’s going to be one of those players to watch – like (Sidney) Crosby, (Alex) Ovechkin, (Steven) Stamkos, one of those guys. It’ll be cool to see him progress, and we’re lucky to have him. “