Pairing 2: Ryan McDonagh — Tyson Barrie
This pairing is a great fit on so many levels and at least on paper, is a luxury as a second pairing. Maybe more-so than any player grouping on the team, this is one where both guys involved are able to play to each other’s strengths so effectively.
McDonagh is known as a pure stay-at-home defenseman, and putting him alongside Josi was another example of how that is the role in which he clearly belongs.
On the other hand, Barrie will not provide you much defensively, but is strong offensively and has been a great addition as the second offensive facilitator from the blue line.
Barrie is someone who at the time of the trade did not seem like an optimal acquisition considering the Predators’ intentions, but he has played well and become a clear asset. He has earned himself a spot on the team at least until the 2024 trade deadline, as his value should only maximize the longer he stays.
Putting him with McDonagh would allow each to just do their own thing, and once again, it is just perfect for the second pairing. Both players are definite top four caliber defensemen, and when you add how great of a fit they would be together, it only makes them more lethal.
Now, they did play a few games together and got switched, but considering how injured the Predators are and were at the time, you can hardly blame them for trying out multiple looks.
However, when the defense is fully healthy, there is no doubt that McDonagh and Barrie should play together on the second pairing for the Nashville Predators going into next season.