The COVID-19 pandemic and the freeze on the salary cap have prevented several free agents from benefiting from a substantial salary increase since the market opened on Friday. However, a few players took advantage of the situation to take less lucrative, short-lived offers to replicate their earlier successes and have the chance to be offered a new contract.
This is the case of Tyson Barrie, who accepted a one-season deal with the Edmonton Oilers earning him $ 3.75 million, or $ 1.75 million less than he previously pocketed.
“The way the year went, with the pandemic and everything, you could say it was a perfect storm in order to accept a one year contract, come and prove myself, see how things will unfold. I’m excited for the future, ”said the defender at a press conference with the media on Saturday.
In his only season in Toronto, Barrie failed to live up to the expectations placed on him, recording 39 points in 70 games. In four of the previous five seasons, all with the Colorado Avalanche, the 29-year-old has crossed the 50-point mark on three occasions. He had scored 49 during one of the two campaigns where he had not reached this plateau.
“Playing in Toronto is tough,” added Barrie. The media are tough and the amateurs are tough on you. I’m excited to prove that I’m still a good player and that I still have a lot to give. It’s a perfect opportunity for me to prove it. ”
An injury that could pay off
The Oilers could be deprived of the services of defenseman Oscar Klefbom, who pivoted the first unit of the power play, if he decides to have surgery on a shoulder. Barrie could therefore have some precious playing time alongside Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl in such a situation.
The Alberta organization can also thank its captain, who dropped a phone call to Barrie to encourage him to join the Oilers.
“[McDavid] contacted me two days ago to tell me he would be excited for me to join them. He was great, ”said Barrie.
The latter hopes that he will be able to reach the 50 point plateau again and he believes he has a good chance of reaching it. Such a season would undoubtedly allow him to receive a higher salary in the next free agent period. Barrie was not against the idea of staying in Edmonton for several years.
“We had discussions about longer-term scenarios with [Ken Holland], but we don’t know what the next season will look like, how it will unfold, if there are going to be “bubbles”. So I’m just focusing on getting in shape for the next season and helping the team win. ”