While Tyson Barrie has improved under Sheldon Keefe became head coach, should the Toronto Maple Leafs look at trading him if the right deal comes around?
It’s not common for a contending team to subtract anything substantial from their lineup at the trade deadline but in the case of the Toronto Maple Leafs, that will probably be a necessity.
Considering the salary cap crunch the team is dealing with, they will have to find out a way to make room to bring in another player but also have something available that might be enticing for other teams. This is where Tyson Barrie‘s name has been floated around as a possibility.
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It has been a rollercoaster season for the 28-year-old who was supposed to help stabilize the right side of the blue line and while he’s proven to be a better offensive player under Keefe than Mike Babcock but his defensive game leaves a lot to be desired at times.
However, as he showed against the Dallas Stars, his ability to drive the offensive play continues to be a strong asset for him. It also doesn’t hurt that Barrie has been on an impressive scoring pace over the last stretch.
Some might question why the Leafs would consider moving Barrie especially with their defence already thin but there is an argument to be made in the Leafs case.
Former Leafs GM Brian Burke discussed this possibility on Sportsnet 590 on Wednesday saying that any move for Barrie should have the goal to get something better in return. This isn’t the first time we are hearing about the possibility of the pending UFA getting some interest on the trade market.
We wrote recently how teams had called the Leafs about their pending free agent defencemen and that probably had something to do with the team being out of the playoffs. If the team somehow fell out of the race than you can understand why a player like Barrie would be in play.
At the same time, there was an article written in The Athletic (subscription required) about Kyle Dubas’ relationship with Toronto Raptors general manager Bobby Webster. It’s not uncommon to see people in management roles look to other people, especially in their own organization, for inspiration and in the Leafs case it makes a lot of sense.
The Leafs are in a situation where they have the pieces that should make them a contender but are missing vital ingredients much like the Raptors had been until they finally got the right mix together last season. They even moved Jonas Valanciunas to get Marc Gasol because they saw the opportunity to improve their chances.
Would Dubas do the same if he could get a player that can make a significant impact even if it means trading Barrie? Well, you can bet that the package would have to be well worth it considering at $2.75 million, Barrie’s cap hit is really manageable.
So while some would welcome the idea of moving Barrie, it’s tough to justify it right now considering the team’s position.
At the same time, the Leafs should be exploring other areas to improve the team before even considering it.