The Toronto Maple Leafs’ season certainly hasn’t gone according to plan, creating plenty of speculation over some of their expiring assets. The team is in win-now mode, but Tyson Barrie, in particular, hasn’t quite fit in since coming over from the Colorado Avalanche and now is swirling around in trade rumors. Frank Seravalli of TSN reports that the Vancouver Canucks, Calgary Flames, Vegas Golden Knights and Carolina Hurricanes have all shown some interest in the pending UFA defenseman.
Seravalli indicates that the Maple Leafs would not make a move without getting a defenseman back, even suggesting that a one-for-one deal with Calgary for T.J. Brodie was discussed. Any team acquiring Barrie could potentially sign him to a long-term deal, something that doesn’t appear to be in the works with the Maple Leafs.
Even though his point totals have skyrocketed after the coaching change in Toronto, Barrie still hasn’t been the ideal right-handed option that the Maple Leafs hoped for. His play on the defensive side of the puck hasn’t been good enough, and the team has struggled since he was forced into even more puck-moving responsibility when Morgan Rielly suffered his injury. That’s not to say that Barrie isn’t having a solid season offensively—his total of 33 points still ties him for 22nd among league defenders—or that he might not dominate in a more limited role elsewhere. His upside as an elite powerplay quarterback and near 60-point defenseman will obviously bring in plenty of suitors if the Maple Leafs really make him available.
Perhaps this was always considered an option, given how the Maple Leafs need more long-term stability on the blueline. Jake Muzzin is expected to be re-signed by the team and Justin Holl already has agreed to an extension, but that still leaves plenty of minutes up for grabs, especially on the right side. If the team is able to flip him into a defenseman with term, one can understand the process in selling a high-priced rental during a playoff chase.