The Curious Case of the Tyson Barrie Contract

That’s it, the Tyson Barrie contract took an arbitration hearing for this?!?! Barrie received a four-year $22 million ($5.5 million AAV) contract from the Colorado Avalanche two days after he went to an arbitration hearing. This was done while the arbitrator was deciding on a contract that would be imposed on the two sides.

The Curious Case of the Tyson Barrie Contract

To be clear, this is a fair contract for both sides. Barrie is the top scoring defenseman on the Avalanche, and a good player to play the point on the power play.

There is only really one player who compares to Barrie’s skill set, who has recently signed a contract, and that would Keith Yandle. Yandle signed a huge contract worth $6.35 million per year. Yandle is a veteran, and maybe a shade better defensively than Barrie. In terms of comparable players though, he is likely close to Barrie’s style.  Yandle also was set to become an unrestricted free agent, while Yandle was under team control, so you can factor in a bit of a premium on Yandle’s contract as well. Barrie scored 49 points last year in 79 games, while Yandle had 47 points in 82 games. So by a quick glance at these numbers, this contract is more than fair.

That then brings the question, why did this have to go to an arbitration hearing? Arbitration can get ugly. Each side presents their case, and then the neutral arbitrator will decide on the appropriate financial terms. The player obviously presents why he deserves his asking price is. Here is where it gets ugly. The teams case normally revolves around pointing out why the player doesn’t deserve what they are asking. They point out the players faults and break them down piece by piece. Some players can handle it, and some can’t.

So, why go through a potentially tumultuous situation like arbitration when you showed you can reach a very fair, and movable, contract with your top defenseman? What changed in the two days between the hearing and the ruling? Will there be any lingering after effects of the Avalanche making arguments against Barrie?

Main Photo

DENVER, CO – APRIL 09:  at Pepsi Center on April 9, 2016 in Denver, Colorado. the Ducks defeated the Avalanche 5-3. (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)