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Preds GM Trotz sounds off on Barrie as both sides look into trade

Tyson Barrie Nashville Predators Tyson Barrie - The Canadian Press

Nashville Predators general manager Barry Trotz spoke candidly on veteran defenceman Tyson Barrie Tuesday, with the two sides appearing headed for a split.

Trotz told 102.5 The Game Nashville that he didn't like Barrie's response to being a healthy scratch Saturday against the New York Rangers, noting the 32-year-old blueliner has been unhappy with his role this season.

“Tyson’s game hasn’t translated as well as we (would have) liked with us this year,” Trotz said prior to Nashville's 4-3 shootout win over the Chicago Blackhawks. “Tyson came in last year and did a tremendous job. (He's) going into his last year as a (pending) UFA. He was having a tough time, obviously, not being on the first power play. Just with what we did with our defence, how they played, how we play in terms of system, he felt that he wasn't quite fitting in. So, the other night, when he was healthy scratched, that was the first time in his career. 

“Different players react to it differently. I didn’t like the way he reacted to it. You see around the league, I sat Alexander Ovechkin once and think about that.

"I think the player just being in the final year of his contract just feels that he's got to playing on a pretty regular basis. So, hopefully if it's not a fit, then maybe look for other opportunities. But, everything is dictated by his play, he has to be a good player for us. He can be a good player for anybody in the league if we decide to move him."

The Predators received Barrie, two draft picks and prospect Reid Schaefer from the Edmonton Oilers in the trade that sent Mattias Ekholm the other way in January. Barrie posted three goals and 12 points in 24 games to end the campaign after the deal.

This season, Barrie has 10 assists in 23 games to begin the year while seeing his average ice time with the Predators drop to 18:31 from 21:24 last season. He posted an assist in his return to the lineup Tuesday despite seeing just 11:07 of ice time.


"It didn’t come from the Preds"

A report over the weekend suggested Barrie's agent, Bayne Pettinger, had been given permission to seek a trade. Trotz voiced his displeasure for the media leak, pointing the finger at Barrie's camp.

"Obviously we talked to the agent and (we're) very disappointed it got out, because there’s only about four people in the world that knew about any conversation about anything and somehow it got out” Trotz said. “I was very disappointed on that process. It didn’t come from the Preds, I do know that 100 per cent.

“Obviously, someone felt that it should be out there and they put it out there. From my standpoint, we will get on the phones and say ‘Tyson’s not happy in his situation right now, is there any takers?’ There might be, there might not. His agent, I'm sure, behind the scenes will be doing the same thing.”

A veteran of 791 career games, Barrie has 108 goals and 500 points over his time with the Colorado Avalanche, Toronto Maple Leafs, Oilers and Predators. He carries a cap hit of $4.5 million on his expiring three-year contract signed with the Oilers in 2021. 

“He's got to play for us for right now and like I said when I first came here 'I want you to come here to win. I don’t want you to come here to retire,'" Trotz added. "So, if you don't want to be part of the organization or feel like that you can contribute, then we'll work together to get you into a better situation. But, I'm not going to do anything to hurt the Predators or our team's chances of winning based on a player's reaction to sitting out a game.

"There's many top players in the league that have got sat this year and everybody has a different level of professionalism or maturity - whatever it may be of handling the situation. You hear it around the league, different players handle it differently. Tyson handled it this way and it's not necessarily the way I would want it to be, but it is what it is.

"We have good communication with Tyson, (Predators head coach Andrew Brunette), myself and his agent. So, we're all good. He's just got to play better plain and simple."