The Colorado Avalanche signed restricted free agent defenseman Tyson Barrie to a new two-year contract Thursday. The 23-year-old's new contract was the last major hurdle for the Avs to get past this offseason coming out of their exciting 2013-14 campaign. According to Elliotte Friedman of Sportsnet, Barrie's deal is worth $5.2 million over the two years for an annual average of $2.6 million.
Barrie has essentially been a full-time member of the Avalanche for just the last two seasons. Last year, he put up 38 points in 64 games including 13 goals. The gifted two-way defenseman average 18:33 last season and put together some solid possession numbers for a team that wasn't great at generating more shot attempts than the their opponents.
The real impact of Barrie was likely most obvious after he went down with an injury during the Avalanche's first-round series against the Minnesota Wild. He took a knee-on-knee hit from Matt Cooke and missed Games 4 through 7 of the series the Avs eventually lost.
"Tyson is a big part of the young nucleus of our team," said Avs executive vice president of hockey operations Joe Sakic in a statement. "He is a gifted young defenseman who brings a lot of offense. We are pleased to have him under contract and look forward to his contribution this upcoming season.”
The two-year deal represents a bit of a proving ground for Barrie. Without having played a full 82-game season for the club yet the Avs are probably wise to be cautious with Barrie's first standard player contract coming out of his cheaper entry-level years.
Considering he's just 23 years old, the best days of his career should be coming fairly soon. To have Barrie on a bridge deal at a cap hit of $2.6 million should bring extreme value. However, if Barrie progresses as he has so far in his career to date, there's a good chance he'll have a much richer deal waiting for him on the other end of this bridge.
In 109 career NHL games, Barrie has 51 points.