It’s the best time of the year.
The rumours are running rampant in the hockey world as we head into NHL Draft Weekend.
The latest comes courtesy of Colorado Avalanche writer Adrian Dater, who is now with the publication Colorado Hockey Now.
Dater reports he is hearing the Canucks are offering Jake Virtanen and a 2020 first round draft pick to the Colorado Avalanche in exchange for blueliner Tyson Barrie.
Hearing some chatter about Vancouver offering Virtanen and 2020 first rounder for Barrie. We’ll see what happens @ColHockeyNow
— Adrian Dater (@adater) June 21, 2019
The rumour comes just a day after the Canucks re-signed veteran defenseman Alex Edler to a two-year deal. Depending on what happens with Chris Tanev, there could be room in the top-four for a player of Barrie’s caliber. The Canucks have been linked to blueliners such as Jake Gardiner, Tyler Myers and Barrie among others this offseason.
Barrie is an elite offensive defenseman in the prime of his career. The 27-year-old recorded 14 goals and a career-high 59 points in 78 games with Colorado this past season. He’s been averaging around 23 minutes of ice time and can quarterback a power play.
Over the past two seasons, Barrie has been a dominant puck-moving blueliner. He controls play from the back-end and already has three 50-plus point seasons and one 49-point season to his name.
Barrie is set to become a UFA at the end of next season and will be looking to cash in on what has been six very productive years for the Avalanche. With the emergence of youngsters Cale Makar and Samuel Girard on the blueline, it seems logical the Avalanche could look to deal Barrie in a trade if they can’t afford to pay him what he’s looking for in his next contract.
Sources tell me Tyson Barrie is in play for Colorado this weekend.
— AJ Haefele (@AJHaefele) June 20, 2019
With Erik Karlsson re-signing in San Jose on an eight-year, $92 million deal, it’s reasonable to think Barrie could be looking for something with an AAV around $8M in his next deal.
Virtanen is coming off an up-and-down year where he hit a career-high 15 goals in 70 games. If the Canucks part ways with Virtanen, you’d have to think they’re finally giving up on the 22-year-old power forward. Virtanen is making just $1.25M in 2019-20 — the last year of his contract before he becomes an RFA.
Barrie is a top defenseman in the NHL and Virtanen has yet to take that next step to become an effective and consistent top-six power forward in the NHL. He’s showed flashes of the great player he can become, but when a player like Barrie is in play, that just isn’t enough to make him not expendable in a potential trade.
Considering how good the 2020 Draft Class is supposed to be, this is at the very least an intriguing proposal for Colorado to weigh if the report is accurate.