Tyson Barrie will always primarily be known for his offensive ability but his miscues in his own end have been alarming and the 28-year-old addressed his early struggles on Monday.
“It's hard not to get a bit frustrated,” Barrie said via TSN’s Mark Masters. “I haven't had a start to a season like this any time that I can remember so it’s important to stay positive and just try to keep adjusting and find where I fit in here. I got to do a better job finding some holes and creating a little more offence, but I'm a defenceman and I got to focus on that first.”
Barrie was acquired in a trade with the Colorado Avalanche this summer, providing Toronto with another bonafide top-four defenceman. The scouting report has always pointed to Barrie’s offensive prowess with myriad deficiencies in his own end, particularly his lateral awareness.
However, Barrie hasn’t been much of a threat on the scoresheet so far this season, recording four assists through Toronto’s first 13 games.
It’s been an adjustment of sorts for the 28-year-old, who was counted on as Colorado’s top defenceman. Additionally, he was tasked with contributing heavily on the team’s powerplay, as the team’s top-heavy structure necessitated it. Barrie hasn’t received the same opportunity on the man advantage thus far and noted that he’s still trying to acclimate to Toronto’s system.
“It’s a different role for me this year and (I’m) trying to feel that out a little bit,” Barrie said. “And when you're not on that first unit you're not getting as many touches as you would (like) and not feeling the puck quite as much, so just trying to work around that and find out where I fit in.”
Barrie simply is too talented for his offensive woes to linger, although his penchant for calamitous mistakes on the defensive end has been true throughout his career. Under the microscope in Toronto, it’s now on Barrie to continue to improve on both ends as the Maple Leafs attempt to break out of their relative slump to start the campaign.
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