All it took was a coaching change for Tyson Barrie to break out of his relative slump to the 2019-20 season.
Barrie, who joined the Maple Leafs in a July trade with the Colorado Avalanche, had yet to show off the offensive flair which made him such a coveted asset.
During the first game of the Sheldon Keefe Era, Barrie finally got on the board with his first goal of the season, sniping a pinpoint shot past Arizona Coyotes goaltender Darcy Kuemper.
Barrie’s goal came as welcome relief for the Maple Leafs. Despite boasting a wealth of offensive talent, the Leafs hadn’t led in 446 minutes and 47 seconds, dating back to a Nov. 5 win against the Los Angeles Kings.
It couldn’t be more fitting for Barrie, who many believe will benefit most as a result of the transition from Mike Babcock to Keefe.
Barrie also welcomed the coaching change openly, prior to Thursday’s game.
“It’s a new lease and I think guys are looking at it that way,” Barrie said to Terry Koshan of The Toronto Sun. “I think with the way that the year has gone for us as a team and for me, personally, you have to look at it like that.
“It’s a fresh start. It’s disappointing we did not meet expectations, and this kind of stuff happens when you go through stretches like this.”
What a way to make an impression on your new coach.
Coming off a season where Barrie posted 14 goals and 59 points, this is the player the Leafs expected and the way-too-early returns seem to indicate that the offensive-minded defenceman will thrive in his new atmosphere.
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