Tyson Barrie Offers a Few Valuable Options for Nashville Predators

Nashville Predators defenseman Tyson Barrie (22) shoots the puck during the first period against the Detroit Red Wings at Bridgestone Arena. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports
Nashville Predators defenseman Tyson Barrie (22) shoots the puck during the first period against the Detroit Red Wings at Bridgestone Arena. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports /

When the Nashville Predators traded Mattias Ekholm to the Edmonton Oilers at the 2023 NHL trade deadline, that all but confirmed their intentions to gear up for the future.

The package included a combination of draft picks and prospects, but another huge part of the trade was veteran defenseman Tyson Barrie. It was a bit puzzling at the time, as he is a 31-year-old player whose offensive abilities — which he is known best for — were significantly aided by the contributions of Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl.

Barrie did not seem like a huge asset, and especially not one who was going to be overly useful with the state of the Nashville Predators then and now.

That notion quickly fell flat on its face, as Barrie became a consistent contributor and just seemed to be a fit with what they needed on their defense.

Regardless, Barrie still does not quite fit the bill for the Predators on paper, and his contract expires after the 2023-24 season ends. Barry Trotz and the rest of the front office need to at least have an idea by now of how they are going to capitalize on his value to the team’s long-term plans.

Barrie Provides Nashville Predators with Several Favorable Options

Barrie recorded three goals and nine assists in the 24 games after joining the Predators, which is encouraging since players joining different teams midseason often go through growing pains.

It was not quite the pace he was at with the Oilers, but once again, for a player whose game is primarily offensive, it is understandable that his points would go down on a Predators team that is far inferior from an offensive standpoint.

As someone who is right-handed, Barrie provided a good balance to the Predators’ defensive core that they did not previously have. There were lot of left-handed defensemen on the roster, and their only true offensive threat was Roman Josi, so Barrie immediately provided them with two things they were lacking.

For example, check out this aggressive offensive play on the puck by Barrie in a game against the Maple Leafs on March 26 when the Nashville Predators were still clinging onto a playoff berth:

Barrie was one of the more consistent players on the Predators as the season came to a close, and his skillset was one of the few things that helped mitigate the crushing loss of Josi to injury.

Additionally, Barrie seemed to be pretty popular among the locker room, and showed to only help keep spirits high while they were going through drastic changes.

Barrie has done great things in his short time with the Predators so far, but once again, he is not at all guaranteed to be in the team’s long-term plans. His age and contract that is soon expiring make him prime trade material on a team that is going through a significant overhaul.

Even then, Barrie is by no means someone the Predators are dying to trade, in fact they may not particularly want to. He has done enough so that the team is going to want to get a good return for him if they do deal him, and will absolutely try to maximize his value on the market.

Ultimately, I think the Nashville Predators have three options on what to do with Barrie. The first one is trading him this offseason, and that is least likely.

How will Trotz Decide on Barrie’s Long-term Future with Predators?

If you are new GM Barry Trotz, you make this move if you have to just get the value you can for Barrie and leave it, but that is not the case here.

Barrie proved that you can expect him to bring value, and with the rest of the roster unlikely to significantly change next season, we know that he is going to fit in nicely.

If anything else, Barrie honestly has a better chance to improve as the rest of the forward core does, and a somewhat healthy roster alone might even help out.

That is why if the Predators are going to trade Barrie, the 2024 trade deadline is the best time to do so. If they are dead set on trading him, their hand might be slightly forced at the time, but contending teams will desperately be looking to load up for deep playoff pushes, so mutual needs will probably offset each other.

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Now the other option, and one everyone should absolutely be open to, is Barrie signing an extension. It might seem crazy considering his age, but he has done well with the Predators and if he continues to do as well if not better, you certainly could not be mad about another year or more of him.

Additionally, given Barrie’s status in the NHL at this point, any extension he signs is more than likely going to be short-term and not exceeding two years. So keeping him after his current contract expires is not something that is going to set the Predators back hardly at all.

The team definitely has a bit of a dilemma with Barrie on the roster right now, but as they say, sometimes there is such a thing as a good problem to have, and this is one of them.