Upgrade Your Fandom

Join the Ultimate Colorado Avalanche Community!

The Good, the Bad and the Ugly surrounding Tyson Barrie

J.D. Killian Avatar
May 2, 2016


Statistics can be weird, wild and wonderful. In hockey, however, they reflect some aspects of the game yet not ALL aspects of the game so interpreting the numbers can be more challenging than simply regurgitating a few key stats. Few Colorado Avalanche players present a more complex case for analysis than Tyson Barrie. With the 24 year old becoming a restricted free agent shortly, now seems a good time to break down the good, the bad and downright ugly of his ice time.


There is a lot to like about Tyson Barrie. He’s young, he’s fast and he knows how to score. This past season Barrie finished the season fifth on the team in points, with 13 goals and 36 assists for a total of 49 points. He also notched five game winning goals, three power play scores, and one short-handed tally.

The Colorado Avalanche had a stretch where they won 18 of 19 games when Tyson Barrie got a point through either an assist or a goal. For the season, the team went 25-10 when Barrie earned a point.

He also managed to rack up 27 points at home (7 goals, 20 assists) while still scoring on the road where he accumulated 22 points (6 goals, 16 assists). He showed durability by playing in 78 games and logging nearly two more minutes of ice time per game than the previous season. He finished third on the team in time on ice, following Francois Beauchemin and Erik Johnson.

For those looking into plus/minus ratings where the total number of full strength goals scored are account for – plus for the Avalanche, minus for their opponents – Barrie accumulated a +24 in the games the Avalanche won and managed a cumulative plus seven for road games over the season. He also accounted for 36 points in the games they won.

Before the All Star Break, he had gained 33 points and a minus four rating over 48 games. Barrie also earned 31 of his points against Western Conference teams doing particularly well against the Pacific Division where he tallied 19 points.


Drilling deeper into his season record, there definitely is a flip side to his positive performance numbers. His defensive numbers don’t look nearly as impressive.

Barrie racked up an abysmal -40 in games the Avalanche lost with a -36 in regulation games and a minus four in overtime losses. Barrie ended up with a cumulative -23 at home. While not everyone values plus/minus as a measurement, the huge swings in his numbers merit consideration. Why such a huge difference between home and away games? And do his offensive abilities offset his defensive challenges?

The numbers get more interesting when one factors in Tyson Barrie’s ice time, which averaged a full minute more in losses than wins. Coach Patick Roy tended to increase Barrie’s ice time late in games when the Avalanche were behind and pressing for a goal so it’s not uncommon to see a bump in ice time for losses. But the large variation in points and the plus/minus raise some questions. While Barrie scored 36 points in wins, he only tallied 13 in the losses and zero points in the overtime losses.


In the 30 games after the All Star Break, Tyson gained 16 points (5 goals, 11 assists) and fell to a -12. During the critical month of March, he notched two goals and four assists. During the five straight losses in April, he notched one assist. In the month of February, he earned a minus 9, even though he also earned nine points, meaning he had an 18 point swing between the points he earned and the points given up when he was on the ice.

Also, in a defensive scheme where blocking shots was a crucial piece, Barrie ranked 123rd in the NHL with 84 blocked shots. Considering Beauchemin led the league with 256, Johnson ranked fifth with 197 and his usual partner Nick Holden blocked 118 shots to come in 62nd, his numbers look low for the amount of time he was on the ice.

He also ranked near the bottom of the NHL defenseman in hits with 37 for the season, even Andrew Bodnarchuk and Zach Redmond – both of whom played substantially fewer games – had higher numbers. So the physical side of defense was not his strong suit.


In order to paint a clearer picture of how to analyze Barrie’s performance, it seemed necessary to review how the other Avalanche defenseman fared to establish context.

Francois Beauchemin owned a +19 record in wins and a -26 in losses, accumulating 22 points in wins and 12 in losses. The interesting stat for him, though, showed the Avalanche won games when Beauchemin logged a minute and a half MORE in ice time than he did in the losses. Hmmmm…

When Beauchemin scored, the team record was a more even 16-10. He also ended the season with a cumulative -7 for the season, earned 34 points from eight goals and 26 assists, including two power play goals and two game winning goals. Beauchemin averaged nearly two more minutes a night in ice time than Barrie and led the NHL in blocked shots (256).

He similarly showed a huge point swing in the plus/minus in wins vs. losses, accumulating 19 points in wins and suffering a -27 in losses. Beauchemin earned 25 points at home vs. nine on the road and also earned 25 of his points against the Western Conference teams, 16 of them against the Central Division.

Meanwhile, Erik Johnson earned 11 goals (only two less than Barrie) and 16 assists (20 less than Barrie), ranked second on the team in ice time (15 seconds per game more than Barrie), earned a -19 (3 worse), blocked 197 shots (5th in the NHL) and made 126 hits.

Johnson also suffered after the All Star Break. He owne a plus/minus of zero going into the break, and earned the -19 in the subsequent 38 games. His points were more evenly distributed in wins and losses but he was a plus nine in wins and a -30 in losses. He was a minus nine and earned four points for the month of March and he too registered an assist in April. Due to an injury mid season, Johnson missed nine games.

Nick Holden put up 22 points (6 goals, 16 assists) for the season and came away with a minus one playing the full 82 games. He ended up +28 in wins and -28 in losses, made 14 points in wins compared to seven in losses, and one point in a tie. Holden played nearly a minute and a half less per game than Barrie, ranked 20th in the league (7th among defenseman) for hits with 217, and blocked 118 shots.

Since none of the other Avalanche defenseman played even forty games, their numbers don’t really add value.


Barrie showed a tendency to run hot, then cold, on both scoring and defensive play. His plus/minus ranks him at 295th out of 305 NHL defenseman, along with the likes of Toronto’s Matt Hunwick and Edmonton’s Andrej Sekera. His 49 points tie him with Chicago’s Brent Seabrook among defenseman, slightly behind players like Dustin Byfuglien, Shea Weber, Drew Doughty and PK Subban. None of them, however, have such a dismal plus/minus record. Most of those defensemen also tallied more blocked shots and hits.

The odd combination of his scoring and the team wins raises the question – Do Tyson Barrie’s statistics show him to be a catalyst for sparking the team to win or do they show him benefiting from the elevated play of his teammates?
It’s hard to tell. The numbers for the entire defensive unit reflect either a poor defensive scheme, poor player execution, or a defensive strategy that doesn’t use the players’ skills to best advantage.

While Barrie can definitely be an asset on offense, his defensive numbers reveal some challenges. His poor performance down the stretch also raises some concerns. Is he the kind of defenseman who can disrupt the other team and knock them out of their rhythm? Can he elevate the level of play of his defensive partner? Nothing in his record this past season indicates he is the game changer defenseman. He is, however, good at taking the play to the other team and quick to take shots.

With Tyson Barrie’s agent belonging to Newport Sports Management, the same company that represented Ryan O’Reilly, and with the same agent as Jarome Iginla, one has to wonder how the contract negotiations will progress in the offseason. If he is pursuing top tier money, his play this past season doesn’t merit that kind of salary and the Avalanche may have trouble resigning him. If he is content being a quality defenseman with the accompanying mid-range salary, then he can definitely be an asset to the team.



Share your thoughts

Join the conversation

The Comment section is only for diehard members

Open comments +

Scroll to next article

Don't like ads?
Don't like ads?
Don't like ads?