It has been a week of trade speculation for the Nashville Predators and Tyson Barrie, but the 32-year-old defenseman who just hit the 500-point milestone remains on the roster.
Things got a bit testy this past week with Barrie telling the local media that "it doesn't really seem like a great fit" and "my goal is to be playing hockey".
So how quickly does this trade get done by General Manager Barry Trotz, who has already voiced his displeasure by the handling of this by Barrie? Despite that, Pierre LeBrun of The Athletic mentions that Trotz still wants to do the right thing for the respect veteran when it comes to finding a trade destination.
"Trotz sees Barrie as a good person and popular teammate who played great last season after coming over from the Edmonton Oilers, so this isn’t about moving a problem player... "- Pierre LeBrun of The Athletic
A lot of Factors Involved in Finding Trade Partners for Tyson Barrie
The problem with getting the trade out the door is Barrie's salary of $4.5 million and the stance Trotz is taking of not wanting to retain any of that salary. That lowers the number of interested suitors. Let's be honest here; no one is really beating down the door for Barrie's services, but a team would be willing to take him on with a very speicif need, like power play help.
Trading Barrie looks to be inevitable, but it might not happen as fast as people thought it would when the news originally came out just a week ago. The Predators don't have to rush this. You don't want a trade that gives you nothing of benefit in return, or another "problem contract" as LeBrun also mentions.
However, playing the waiting game raises the question of what to do with Barrie. It's already clear that he's the odd man out in the loaded Predators defensive corps. No, it's not Dante Fabbro like many thought it would end up being before the season started.
Fabbro has played excellent hockey in top pairing minutes, especially as a defensive defenseman. He has since moved back down to pave the way for Ryan McDonagh, but his offense has shown improvement as well and he's only 25 and hopefully entering his prime.
Same goes for Alexandre Carrier, who is slightly older than Fabbro at 27, but only in his third full season in the NHL. Can you justify Barrie taking starts away from Carrier when we know Barrie isn't in the future plans of this franchise? Absolutely not.
We can be a little surprised by Jeremy Lauzon not being the odd man out, but again, it's about a fit and about Lauzon's low salary at $2 million. He plays a role that's very important to the Predators' physicality. And again, much younger than Barrie.
Spencer Stastney playing so well in his call-up role makes it even easier to trade Barrie, and the prospect pool is loaded with other quality defensive prospects in Marc Del Gaizo, Jake Livingstone, Jordan Gross and even 2023 1st-Round pick Tanner Molendyk.
Predators Front Office can Afford to Be Patient, Wait out the Market
You have to make the wise business decision if you're the Predators front office. Is Barrie really helping you win games right now enough to justify keeping him on the books until the 2024 offseason when you lose him for nothing? Definitely not. I do think this could stretch out a bit longer due to finding the right trade partner will be tricky.
The Calgary Flames have emerged as a team with a need for a player like Barrie, but they have basically no cap space so would have to send a player to Nashville in return. And that contract that goes to Nashville would have to be one Trotz is willing to take on. It requires both sides to be happy, so a match between these two teams will take some creativity.
One team that has plenty of cap space to take on Barrie and not give up much either is the Chicago Blackhawks. They need help on their blueline, and really need help everywhere outside of Connor Bedard. Maybe you pick up the phone and see what they'd be willing to give you in terms of draft picks.
I've seen the New Jersey Devils and Dallas Stars also mentioned as trade fits for Barrie, but again, no salary cap space for those teams. The teams that do have cap space don't look like teams that need Barrie or would be wiling to add a $4.5 million player that may be gone in 2024.
What makes this trade so tricky is Barrie's value isn't very high but he does have a particular skill set that some teams may want as a rental out of desperation. Those teams may not have the cap space and Nashville isn't willing to retain salary right now. That leaves you at a stalemate unless a team is willing to part ways with a player of their own that Nashville likes.
This could drag out for a while until the trade deadline gets closer in 2024. Until then, Barrie might continue to be a healthy scratch, which is very unfortunate. For the sake of both sides so that this doesn't become a major distraction, this needs to get done as soon as possible.
The only way I can see Barrie getting some starts before he's traded away from Nashville is if he goes in for Luke Schenn, which I'm not opposed to at all. But Barrie has to earn those starts and play better on the ice, both so he maybe increases his trade interest but also so that he forces the Predators hand in starting him.
Bottom line; Barrie isn't giving Nashville Predators Head Coach Andrew Brunette a reason to keep him in the starting lineup. Maybe we see him in spot duty in place of Schenn. The Predators' next game is Saturday against the Toronto Maple Leafs.
You certainly want to do everything you can if you're Trotz to get this done quickly so that Barrie isn't wasting away on the bench. It's not fair to the player, but at the same time this is a business and you can't rush into a trade if it doesn't make sense.
Barrie has played in just 47 games for the Nashville Predators racking up 22 points, a 3.7 shooting percentage, and only three assists on the power play. He does have 10 assists this season.