After a stellar season in the minors with the Lake Erie Monsters, Tyson Barrie brought that same solid performance last year to the Avalanche for his rookie campaign.
As a defenseman, Barrie impressively led the Lake Erie Monsters in scoring at the midpoint of the 2011-12 season and was selected to the AHL All-Star Game, where he scored a goal and helped the Western Conference to victory. Shortly after, on Feb. 4, 2012, he received his first NHL call-up and made his debut for the Avalanche on Feb. 7 vs. the Chicago Blackhawks. Barrie finished his first professional season playing 10 games with Colorado.
Heading into this last season, Barrie made the Avalanche's Opening Night roster and had a confidence to his game.
"I definitely feel more confident this year. But anytime I'm here, I know I have to be at my best," Barrie said after a few games early in the season.
The Victoria, British Columbia native played with an offensive mind and picked up his first career point, an assist, Feb. 14 at Minnesota. On Feb. 16, Barrie had his first multi-point game against Edmonton, and two days later he scored his first NHL goal.
“It was a pretty cool feeling. I was smiling ear to ear when I scored,” Barrie said of his first NHL tally. “It is definitely something I won’t forget.”
Barrie’s slap shot from the point made its way through traffic and beat Predators goaltender Chris Mason at 9:30 of the first period and gave the Avs a 2-0 lead in the game. The 5-foot-10, 190-pound defenseman was the first blueliner to score a goal for Colorado in 2012-13.
“That is something that I have been working toward, playing better and playing a lot more lately,” said Barrie when he scored his first tally. “I shot it and I saw that it went in so it is nice to get it. I wasn’t sure if it was ever going to come.”
Throughout the season, Barrie continued to fill the scoresheet with points for the Avs.
Barrie’s next goal might have been one of the biggest points in the young defenseman’s career. On March 30, Barrie became the first rookie defenseman in Avalanche history to score an overtime goal as he beat Nashville goalie Pekka Rinne with a rebound shot 50 seconds into the extra period. The tally was Barrie’s second goal against the Predators in as many games last season.
“I knew [Greg Zanon] was probably going to one-time [the shot], so I was just trying to get back door and hopefully it popped out,” Barrie said of the goal sequence. “I was lucky it did.”
Barrie ended the season with 13 points (2g/11a) and finished as the leading scoring defenseman on the team – and possibly setting up a bright future in the NHL.