When the Maple Leafs acquired Tyson Barrie in a blockbuster trade that sent Nazem Kadri to the Avalanche, there certainly were high expectations.
Barrie showed plenty of offensive skill during his time in Colorado, and with the forwards that the Leafs have in their possession, his presence in Toronto appeared to be a deadly combination... in theory.
But here we are, 20 games into the season and all that Barrie has been able to muster is a string of lacklustre performances loosely tied together by a few sensational plays that hint back to his time in Colorado.
And Barrie certainly recognizes that he’s capable of much more.
“There’s times where you feel kind of invincible and everything is going the right way,” the defenceman told reporters Thursday morning. “[And then] I’ve had the complete opposite where it feels kind of hopeless. Definitely feels like I’m in a bit of [that] now.”
Barrie has five assists through the first 20 games as a member of the Leafs, which is far from the production that the team envisioned after acquiring the 28-year-old.
“It’s obviously weighing on me a little bit. I’ve never really gone through a stretch like this in my career. You don’t want to feel like you’re letting your teammates down and the fans down.”
Barrie still has believers within the organization, considering the small sample size of his time in Toronto.
“It’s 20 games in and I’ve got a lot of belief in him,” Maple Leafs GM Kyle Dubas said to reporters on Thursday.
“He just needs to show signs of what his form can be and what we knew when we were acquiring him. We just want him to work and continue to get comfortable here and find that. I think the last number of games, he’s shown more and more of that and I’m excited about the rest of the season for him, because we obviously know the player that he is.”
In his last five games, Barrie doesn’t have a single point but has been able to come out a positive contributor to the Leafs. While he’s on the ice, the team has 55.21 per cent of the shots on goal, so clearly he’s doing something right.
As the sample grows, Dubas appears to be confident that Barrie will adjust, just like every other player that has been acquired by a new team.
”There’s an adjustment period and they all have to go through it. For some its easier than others...I look for the positives and there’s been a lot of them lately.”
The Maple Leafs face the rival Bruins on Friday, followed by contests against the Pittsburgh Penguins and Vegas Golden Knights.
On the verge of panic, the team could really the real Tyson Barrie in the next week or so.
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