Blueliner Barrie’s new deal keeps Avs’ offense intact

Scoring defenseman nets $22 million deal

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Avalanche defenseman Tyson Barrie is the proud owner of brand-new, four-year contract worth $22 million after the team and player came to an agreement on Sunday, only hours before arbitrator Elizabeth Neumeier was to rule on their case.

Going through NHL arbitration can be a harrowing experience for both player and team. The player tries to justify his salary by pointing out what he did right, and what the team needed him to do, while the team puts all the his flaws on display, essentially saying to the player, “here’s all the reasons you’re not that good and — by the way — we’d love to have you back.”

For those reasons and more, players and teams alike try to avoid arbitration whenever possible. This summer, 25 NHL players were eligible for arbitration hearings, but only one had to go through with it — Barrie.

Barrie, 25, told Terry Frei of The Denver Post that “arbitration’s not fun to go through, but it’s part of the business, and I’m excited the Avalanche have shown faith in me.”

Despite his shortcomings on the defensive end — the diminutive native of British Columbia won’t ever be confused for, say, Zdeno Chara — his ability as a point-producer is among the best in the league at his position.

Over the last three seasons for the Avalanche, he’s been a remarkably consistent goal-scorer — netting 13 in 2013-14, 12 in 2014-15 and 13 last season — and his combination of speed and passing, combined with an uncommon ability to handle the puck in the offensive zone, has made him both a key cog in the Avalanche’s often-inconsistent offense and a fan favorite.

Barrie’s signing was unquestionably a necessity for the Avalanche, who have struggled for years with creating a defense that strikes any fear into opponents. The problem is that Barrie himself doesn’t do that — as a defender, at least.

Nate Lundy and Shawn Drotar discussed the signing Monday during their morning drive program on Mile High Sports Radio:

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