Nashville Predators 2023 Training Camp Spotlight: Tyson Barrie

Tyson Barrie #22 of the Nashville Predators skates against the Boston Bruins during the third period at the TD Garden on March 28, 2023 in Boston, Massachusetts. The Predators won 2-1. (Photo by Richard T Gagnon/Getty Images)
Tyson Barrie #22 of the Nashville Predators skates against the Boston Bruins during the third period at the TD Garden on March 28, 2023 in Boston, Massachusetts. The Predators won 2-1. (Photo by Richard T Gagnon/Getty Images) /

Nashville Predators training camp is just a few weeks away, and one veteran that’s returning after being a trade acquisition at the 2023 trade deadline is Tyson Barrie.

Barrie was acquired in the trade that sent long-time Smashville favorite Mattias Ekholm to the Edmonton Oilers that also included Nashville receiving prospect Reid Schaefer, a 2023 1st Round pick that was used for defenseman Tanner Molendyk and a 2024 4th-Round pick.

With a defensive corps that looks pretty solid for Nashville, Barrie figures to be a central piece in generating some power play production and providing some stability as an NHL veteran of 12 years.

2022-23 Season Review for Barrie

Barrie had the rare occurrence of playing in more than 82 games in a regular season due to the trade from Edmonton to Nashville. Barrie appeared in an astounding 85 regular season games in 2022-23, putting up 55 points.

As expected, Barrie’s point production dropped after going from the loaded Edmonton squad to a Nashville squad that was going through so many changes and obviously struggling on offense.

Barrie’s Points Per 60 dropped from 2.2 with Edmonton to 1.4 with Nashville. He did still manage to chip in three assists on Nashville’s power play.

It’s also worth noting that Barrie came up just four points shy of tying his NHL career high in points for a season. So that’s encouraging if you’re the Predators to know that Barrie isn’t showing signs of regression. The issue is, can the Predators become a better overall offensive team.

Give us more blueline blasts like this one from Barrie against the Blackhawks, his first goal with the Predators.

Season Outlook for 2023-24

It’s pretty simple for Barrie as he begins his first season with the Nashville Predators and comes into training camp. Can he be an offensive driver on the Predators power play unit and also be a reliable veteran presence on the blueline?

I’m eager to see how Head Coach Andrew Brunette unveils his initial power play units, and who plays on a line with Barrie.

Barrie will most likely be on a pairing with Ryan McDonagh at even strength, and that’s a line you can feel confident in. Those two have loads of NHL experience and should be able to give Nashville a formidable second defensive pairing.

The Barrie/McDonagh combination played 87 minutes together, while having an Expected Goals Against of 3.52, per Money Puck.

Related Story. Why Tyson Barrie is a Wildcard for Revamped Predators. light

As the season rolls along, the noise to possibly trade Barrie will grow louder. Barrie will be a UFA next summer and I don’t see a realistic chance that Nashville is able to retain him. He’ll be 33 at that point and will be risky to tie too much money into Barrie, but it’s impossible to know that for sure right now. A lot of variables in play.

If Barrie chips in 40 to 50 points in a full season with Nashville, with a chunk of that coming on the power play, then that will be a huge booster for Nashville. Teams near the trade deadline will take notice, too.

I love Barrie as a locker room presence, as well. You see the defensive corps of Roman Josi, McDonagh and Barrie as your veteran leaders and it gives you hope that this unit can be a major strength for 2023-24.

Biggest Strength & Weakness for Barrie

Barrie is going to be leaned on to produce on the power play. That’s priority number one. The Predators were 27th on the power play in 2022-23 after blossoming to 6th in the NHL the year before.

Can Barrie make the players around him better on the power play? I’m thinking about younger players who may get power play duty like Luke Evangelista, Philip Tomasino, Thomas Novak, and Cody Glass.

It’s hard to find a glaring weakness for Barrie, but it would probably be he’s not the lockdown defender. He’s going to get caught up ice at times and his speed isn’t top notch to hang with some of the fastest teams.

Barrie also isn’t extremely physical, only putting up 12 hits in 24 games. However, it’s not something that worries me too much. Hits can be an overblown statistic and Barrie makes up for it with his offense game.

Ultimately, I see Barrie being an important asset in the first half of 2023-24 that helps the Predators show improvement on the power play, but when it’s all said and done he gets traded at the 2024 deadline.

We’ll be able to call the Ekholm trade a home run if Barrie produces offensively at a high level, even if he gets traded in 2024 and brings you more draft assets and prospects.