Oilers hope for Larry Murphy’s rebound with Tyson Barrie deal

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EDMONTON – There is gossip, and there is the inevitable.For Tyson Barrie and the Edmonton Oilers – a player and a team who have been linked by rumor in the National Hockey League for years now – this marriage between a skilled power-play defenseman and the team that drafted his daddy was, in this sense out, unavoidable.

“I kind of had Edmonton on the radar for a long time, just looking forward to my career and my future,” Barrie admitted Saturday after signing a one-year, $ 3.75 million contract with the Oilers. “I’m grateful that an opportunity has presented itself and I have the chance to be an Oiler and play with some of the best in the world.”

After a disappointing season with the Toronto Maple Leafs, the Oilers are hoping for a Larry Murphy-like rebound for Barrie, whose father Len was Edmonton’s sixth-round pick in 1988. Len has never played a game at Edmonton and probably never did. a call from Wayne Gretzky on draft day, the way Barrie spoke with Connor McDavid in the days leading up to the free agent deadline.

“He contacted me two days ago just to let me know he would be delighted to have me. We’ve talked a bit about longer term stuff with Kenny (Oilers general manager Ken Holland), but first and foremost we don’t even know what the year will be like yet, ”said Barrie, who was a swing. and-a-miss in Toronto last season with just 5-34-39 in 70 games.

He believes he can become a 50-point defenseman in Edmonton again. This would be Barrie’s fourth 50-point campaign in the NHL, but the first by an Oilers defenseman since Sheldon Souray in 2008-09.

“Fifty would be a little,” said Barrie, 29. “After a year that I had, to be able to have the chance to go to Edmonton and play with this team on a one-year contract, for me it was not a question of money this year, just come and re-establish myself and show the league that I’m still a really good player. They have a lot of rooms in Edmonton. I love what they did with (Kyle) Turris and signing (Tyler Ennis) as well, so I think we have a really good team and can’t wait to get involved.

Holland had a good sneaky deadline, inking Turris as a third-line center for just $ 3.3 million over two years, bringing the two-year Jesse Puljujarvi project down to $ 1.175 million per and snatching up Ennis for a million dollars. Then, as the goaltending market shrank each day, he returned to the pit to re-sign Mike Smith on Saturday for a year at $ 2 million.

“At my age (38) and in my experience, you just have to be patient. All is well if you are patient, ”Smith said on Saturday. “I’m not really worried about what’s happened so far. I’m very excited to be back with Edmonton and the great organization they have and to be honest I don’t care what has happened so far. I’m just happy to be back.

The fact that Holland couldn’t land $ 6million goalkeeper Jacob Markstrom gave them room to improve their squad in two other hugely important positions. Turris appears to be a good choice at 3C, a highly skilled player who comes in behind the NHL’s two most significant center players, and a defenseman at Barrie the Oilers haven’t had in years.

Every powerful offensive team has this D-man following a power play and following the race. Now we’ll see if Barrie’s ineffectiveness last season was Toronto’s or player’s affair.

“Getting out of Toronto is difficult. The media is tough and the fans can be tough on you, ”he admitted.

“I love the way Edmonton plays. They play fast. They push the teams back. They have guys that stop and find the late guy and that’s kind of where my bread and butter is, follow the race, beat forward control on the ice and become that fourth man. I think with the speed of Edmonton it fits perfectly. I hope I can put some late in the net.

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