The Colorado Avalanche and defenseman Tyson Barrie have gone through their arbitration hearing.
Now the Avalanche and Barrie will wait for arbitrator Elizabeth Neumeier to deliver her decision in the next 48 hours. Barrie and the Avalanche still can come to a deal before then. Colorado argued that Barrie be paid $4 million and $4.25 million on a two-year contract, while Barrie asked for one season at $6 million.
In an interview with the Denver Post last month, Avalanche general manager Joe Sakic looked at the 25-year-old Barrie going to arbitration as just another lever under the collective bargaining agreement to reach a contract.
“I’d like to do a long-term deal with Tyson. If that doesn’t work out, it’s expected he’ll go to arbitration,” Sakic said. “Either way, he’ll be here.”
Arbitration tends to hurt feelings between a team and player and Barrie’s negotiation with Colorado has led to rumors that he could be traded.
He is the only player in the arbitration process this summer who has gone through a hearing. Barrie coming off a two-year, $5.2 million contract and is the only Avalanche NHL restricted free agent unsigned.
Mile High Sticking pointed out how arbitration could hurt Barrie and the Avalanche in the long-term.
All of this is not to say that Tyson Barrie and the Colorado Avalanche can’t have a healthy working relationship going forward. But no matter how things work out I’m sure players are shaking their heads at either Sakic or Barrie and his agent.
And if there is any previous acrimonious feelings between the two sides arbitration is sure to shed light on them, and possibly bring them to a breaking point.
The offensive-minded blue liner averaged 23:12 of ice-time last season and ranked first amongst team defensemen with 49 points. That total ranked 13th amongst NHL defensemen. In 2014-15, Barrie had 53 points, a career high.
Mile High Sports listed five comparable players – Keith Yandle, Dougie Hamilton, Torey Krug, Sami Vatanen and John Klingberg. All players range in between $4.25 million per-year to $6.35 million. The longest term amongst the five is seven years, and the shortest is three.
It would make sense for Barrie to come in closer to Vatanen, who received four years at $4.875 million per-year from the Anaheim Ducks or Krug, who got $5.25 million per-year over four years from the Boston Bruins. They are all the same age, and are offensive-minded defensemen, though Barrie notched more points than Vatanen (38 points in 71 games) or Krug (44 points in 81 games).
The Avalanche have $6,459,407 million of salary cap space and Barrie will eat into a large chunk of that no matter how the arbitration ruling goes. If they can’t figure out a middle ground in a couple of days, it’ll be chosen for them and one may not like the end result.
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