Why Tyson Barrie is a Wildcard for the Revamped Nashville Predators

Tyson Barrie #22 of the Nashville Predators skates in defense against the Toronto Maple Leafs during the first period at Bridgestone Arena on March 26, 2023 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by Brett Carlsen/Getty Images)
Tyson Barrie #22 of the Nashville Predators skates in defense against the Toronto Maple Leafs during the first period at Bridgestone Arena on March 26, 2023 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by Brett Carlsen/Getty Images) /

As a trade deadline acquisition after the shocking trade of Mattias Ekholm this past March, Tyson Barrie is entering his first season with the Nashville Predators.

Barrie is an easy player to overlook when prepping for 2023-24 and what the new-look Nashville Predators are going to have to offer. There’s a lot going on, and a lot of new players joining the mix.

In a way, Barrie is still very fresh to this team as well, and it’s really hard to know what his future holds with Nashville. He is currently at a cap hit of $4.5 million and will be a UFA in the offseason of 2024.

Barrie just turned 32-years-old, so while he’s presumably coming out of the peak of his career, he’s probably due one more decent contract from someone who really wants him.

Barrie’s Future Remains Unknown, and Will Be Until 2024 Trade Deadline

Barrie is going to preferably be one of the catalysts to getting this slumping Nashville Predators power play that finished 27th in the NHL back on track.

In one of my previous reachable goals for the Predators in 2023-24, I circled the steady improvement of the offense to maybe even being a top-10 product. That starts with considerable improvement on the power play, and Barrie is a power play specialist.

In only 24 games following the trade deadline, Barrie wasn’t really able to showcase his power play prowess. The roster was shaken down to its bare bones with key injuries and other trade departures.

The Barrie naysayers like to point out that he just benefited from being on a jacked Edmonton Oilers squad and that’s why he had so much power play production.

That may be the case, but there’s no doubting that Barrie is a valuable asset for any team’s power play. The Predators were just in a mess with no cohesion and lots of inexperience throughout the lineup.

Barrie piled up 24 assists on Edmonton’s power play before being traded to Nashville, but then preceded to tally just three assists on Nashville’s power play in 24 games.

With Head Coach Andrew Brunette taking over, and a fresh start with a revamped roster, the prevailing thought here is that this team is going to look drastically better at generating offense.

However, it’s going to be very hard to resist certain trade offers that may come the way of the Predators front office from contending teams leading up to the 2024 trade deadline. Especially if Barrie is performing at a high level on the Predators power play.

Preds Can Benefit from Barrie in the Short-Term and in the Long-Term

In the short term, Barrie is a valuable piece to have for the growing Nashville Predators. He can play an important role in keeping this team playoff competitive throughout the first half of the season, and then reassess where this team is realistically going after that.

Since Barrie will be a UFA in the next offseason, it will be somewhat risky to not trade him unless he is just transforming the Predators power play into a force to be reckoned with and the team is performing at a very high level in the standings.

If that ends up being the case, then you probably hold onto Barrie and take your chances in the offseason of maybe re-signing him. That seems rather far-fetched, and the more likely scenario seems to be that he’ll be traded.

Barrie will get you some decent assets from a contending team who will be in need of a veteran player like him for a playoff run. More fuel for the long-term plan of stocking up on draft picks and prospects.

That would open up space for one of younger defensive prospects to get back in the starting mix like Jordan Gross or Jake Livingstone.

It doesn’t really stop with Barrie, either, when it comes to question marks on the Predators defensive corps. With Luke Schenn joining the mix through free agency, and depth pieces in Dante Fabbro and Jeremy Lauzon, there’s a lot to sort out.

Possibly Barrie even becomes expendable at the 2024 trade deadline. In other words, it’s a fluid scenario.

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Since I expect the Nashville Predators to be in a playoff hunt of their own, they’re going to have an interesting scenario on what to do with Barrie this Spring. It will be hard to part ways with him if he’s an instrumental piece in your success up to that point, but then there’s the risk of losing him in free agency just a few months later.

With 12 years of NHL experience, Barrie sits 11th among active defensemen in points with 490 and with 41.6 percent of those career points coming on the power play, he sits sixth among active defensemen in that category.