Another Oilers Tyson Barrie Trade

May 31, 2022; Denver, Colorado, USA; Edmonton Oilers defenseman Tyson Barrie (22) and Edmonton Oilers center Connor McDavid (97) during the first period against the Colorado Avalanche in game one of the Western Conference Final of the 2022 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Ball Arena. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports
May 31, 2022; Denver, Colorado, USA; Edmonton Oilers defenseman Tyson Barrie (22) and Edmonton Oilers center Connor McDavid (97) during the first period against the Colorado Avalanche in game one of the Western Conference Final of the 2022 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Ball Arena. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports /
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I write this at the end of August so it’s the dog days of the offseason. It’s no secret that the Oilers need to create cap space since right now they have just a shade under $300,000 of cap space – and that’s LTIR cap space to boot. Not to mention Ryan Mcleod – our last RFA – remains unsigned at the time of this writing – and rumour has it his next contact will come in at between $1-1.25 million per season. That means the Oilers need to make a trade or two to free up some cap space. They’re also looking for more depth at both forward and D, so they’ll need cap space for that too.

Warren Foegele and Jesse Puljujarvi‘s names have both been tossed around as potential trade targets as cap dumps but let’s be honest – the most interesting name being bandied about to create cap space is Tyson Barrie. Neither Foegele nor Poolparty will net us a lot in trade, but Barrie is another story.

After all, Barrie’s cap hit is the highest of any of the players mentioned, so not only do the Oilers stand to save more cap space by trading Barrie, but they stand to bring the most in trade as well. Foegele and Puljujarvi will get you a middling draft pick or prospect at best at this point, while Barrie will get you much more.

It makes sense from a hockey perspective as well. While Barrie is still a very good puck mover, here in Edmonton his roster spot over time has been usurped by first Cody Ceci and then Evan Bouchard. $4.5 million a season is a lot to pay a guy to play on the third D pairing, even if he’s got a fair cap hit for what he brings and is still very good at what he does.

How realistic is a Barrie trade? Well, word around the water cooler is Barrie doesn’t want to leave Edmonton and Holland wants to hold onto him, so maybe it’s not realistic. But, Holland can’t deny reality – if he wants to re-sign Mcleod and sign more depth he needs cap space for that – and $300K of LTIR cap space just isn’t enough. That’s not even the NHL minimum for a player.

Still, even if it’s not realistic it’s fun to think about. Let’s go over a trade I’ve concocted with the New York Islanders.

To New York Islanders

Tyson Barrie

To Edmonton Oilers

RD Scott Mayfield

2023 1st round pick

This would be by far the biggest trade of the offseason for the Oilers if they do it. After all, the Islanders are a team that finished 23rd in the league in goals for last season so they need all the offence they can get, even if it’s from the blueline.

As it’s constructed right now, the Isles’ D corps are not that great. They’ve got a young Noah Dobson who broke out last season with 13 goals and 51 points in 80 games.

But, Dobson is 22 years old and thus is an unfinished product. He’s also only played 160 games so you don’t know exactly what you have with him yet. He may yet regress or he may have a strong encore season as well. And I wouldn’t count on newcomer and ex-Hab Alexander Romanov bursting out just yet as he’s in the same boat age and experience wise – and his career year with the Habs was 13 points last season.

And the problem is, Dobson’s the best puck mover the Isles have got right now. After him the Isles have their second pairing of Ryan Pulock and Adam Pelech, who finished with 21 and 28 points respectively. That’s one heck of a dropoff on your back end. And the prospects for those two are not likely to get better – both are past the age of 25 and both have played over 200 NHL games. Pulock was at one time a 30 point player, but that hasn’t been the case for three seasons now. Pelech, meanwhile, has never been much of an offensive producer – he just had a career year of 28 points. If I were GM Lou Lamoriello, I wouldn’t count on him repeating that.

They need someone who can help bridge that gap and change the makeup of their D corps.

Tyson Barrie can do that for them. He’s 31 and an NHL veteran of 683 NHL games. His defensive play has improved since Dave Manson came on the scene and worked with him one on one a little more, so he’s got that going for him as well. He’s been a PP quarterback for years and has just put up over 40 points the last two seasons running, despite playing half the season on the third pairing. Unlike in Edmonton, he’d instantly slide into their top four, specifically on the second pairing (something he wouldn’t have the opportunity for here in Edmonton except in case of injury). He’d give them a PP quarterback as well if that’s how they want to use him. He could also mentor his extremely raw and young counterparts on the first pairing.

In other words, Barrie is the exact player the Isles badly need right now.

Can they afford him? The Isles are in a better place cap wise than the Oilers are right now, and while they don’t have his entire cap hit wrapped up right now, they can make it work. Factoring in the loss of Mayfield and his $1.45 million from the roster, the Isles would be taking on $3.05 million in cap space. But as it is right now they’ve got just over $2.3 million in cap space, so they have most of that already. They would be a mere $689,963 over the cap. That’s less than the NHL minimum – they could literally send one guy down to the minors and be cap compliant.

Or, it could create a trade opportunity as well – this trade would push Ryan Pulock down to the third pairing, and although he’s expensive at $6.15 million, they could retain 50% of his salary – which would put him much more in the price range of what he produces offensively – trade him in a cap dump, and still save $3.075 million in cap space. They would have to spend a little bit to replace their third pairing guy on the right side (if they chose to go the free agent route), but they’ll have the cap space to do it and there’s a long list of free agents they can pick up for cheap that are still looking for work right now, so it won’t cost a lot to replace Pulock in the lineup. Even if they paid their new bottom pairing guy $2 million, that still leaves them over $1 million in cap space – and there’s a good chance they can pick up someone even cheaper than that.