The restricted free agent defenseman market sure has shifted over the last couple days.
From the Denver Post:
Barrie, 24, has been one of the league’s better offensive blueliners over the last two years, racking up 53 points last season and 49 this season. He just wrapped a two-year, $5.2 million deal — one that paid $2.6M annually — and figures to be in line for a hefty raise.
How much? Good question. The bar was (presumably) set in Colorado with Erik Johnson‘s seven-year, $42 million deal, one that carries a $6M AAV. Given the assets Barrie brings — right-hand shot, PP specialist, relatively young — he has to be at least eyeballing that figure, especially since he’s reportedly coveted by a number of NHL clubs.
Which is why he’s been the target of trade rumors for a while now.
Another reason for the rumors is Colorado’s history with RFAs, specifically Ryan O'Reilly, and past negotiations with Newport Sports Management, the agency that represents both O’Reilly and Barrie.
The two sides haven’t always seen eye-to-eye.
Two years ago, things got contentious between Colorado and Newport’s Pat Morris, the agent for O’Reilly. The Avs filed for arbitration in the summer of ’14, a case Morris said “we didn’t think we’d have to attend to,” suggesting the team was playing a dangerous game with one of their key young performers.
While the O’Reilly situation ended with a trade to Buffalo, Barrie’s agent — Newport’s Don Meehan — insists it won’t affect current negotiations.
“We just view it as business, that’s all,” Meehan said, per the Denver Post. “We have a professional camaraderie with Joe [Sakic, Colorado’s GM] that is very good. We will have differences of opinion, but that’s fine.
“We want to be fully open and transparent about a process, and we have a good relationship with Joe.”
Now with all this said about Barrie, do keep a couple things in mind. Prior to finalizing that deal with the Sabres, Patrick Roy said he’d be “surprised” if O’Reilly got traded. Sakic, meanwhile, said his goal was to get O’Reilly signed.
Related: Avs reportedly targeting Trouba