Tyson Barrie has heard the rumblings and understands the situation. The power-play quarterback realizes that two younger Avalanche defensemen of his same special ilk could lead to the end of his tenure in Colorado before the final year of his $22 million contract kicks in next season.
The combination of Cale Makar and Conor Timmins, the Avs’ first two selections of the 2017 draft, could make Barrie expendable. The Avs would covet two right-shot, offensive-minded defensemen, but not three — partially because they already have 170-pound defenseman Sam Girard, the savvy left-shooting playmaker from the 2016 draft.
And Barrie’s $5.5 million salary next season? It could be used elsewhere, while Makar and Timmins, both 20, are on their modest entry-level contracts. Girard, also 20, is on the second year of his three-year ELC.
“Obviously, I’m not blind to it,” Barrie said of the situation last week when he stood 10th in NHL scoring among defensemen with 46 points (seven goals) in 63 games. “But right now we’re in a playoff battle and that’s certainly not the focus at all for me. The focus for me is to play good hockey and help this team win some games and get into the postseason for the second time in a row. That’s so consuming in itself. It’s such a hard league to win that you don’t have time to focus on anything else.”
For the record, Barrie, 27, wants to remain in Colorado. He wants to seek a contract extension with the Avs as soon as July 1, or well before he’s eligible to become an unrestricted free agent July 1, 2020.