DENVER — It's been a trip down memory lane for Colorado this playoff run, seeing all of the ghosts of teams past.
First, it was Matt Duchene, who was swept out of their memory in the first round with Nashville.
Then, it was Ryan O'Reilly, who took a bit more convincing through six games as the captain of the Blues.
Now, Tyson Barrie makes his attempt to fight back against his former club as a member of the Edmonton Oilers.
"He's obviously a really good friend of mine. Over time, you just play against guys. It might've been a little more weird right when he got traded but I've been playing against him for a while now," Nathan MacKinnon said about playing against one of his closest friends.
Each of the "old friends" were drafted in the 2009 NHL Entry Draft. Duchene was selected third-overall by Colorado in the first round, followed by Ryan O'Reilly 33rd-overall in the second round. Skipping over Stefan Elliott at 49th in the second, who never quite had staying power in the NHL, and then you'll find Barrie at 64th in the beginning of the 3rd round.
"Enough time's passed now where I've played them a couple of times and the weirdness has kind of left," Oilers defenseman Tyson Barrie said before the Western Conference Final began in Denver.
It may not be weird, but it is sentimental. After all, Barrie averaged 38 points per season in his eight years wearing an Avalanche sweater.
"First of all, Tyson was a great player for us, and he's still a great player doing a great job for the Edmonton Oilers. It's tough to see, he was a fan favorite and a favorite in the dressing room," Avalanche General Manager Joe Sakic said. "He put up a lot of points and brought a lot of offense to us, but at the point, obviously we felt Cale Makar was coming and we targeted Nazem Kadri. Both teams felt the trade was good for their own teams."
And Barrie saw the writing on the wall the moment he shared the ice with Makar in the first round of the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs against Calgary.
"Yeah, I knew I was in trouble right when I got on the ice with him the first time, I was like, 'I might be out of here!' He was exceptional," Barrie said. "You could just see the way he skated, the way he moved the puck early and then to come into that series against Calgary, he was taking guys one on one and his first NHL game, he scored in his first couple shifts. He was super impressive right from the get-go and he was a great kid and not surprised to see how dominant he's been and it's super impressive to see what he's doing and we're going to have a heck of a time trying to slow him down."
Barrie and the Oilers trail Colorado 3-0 in the Western Conference Final. Game 4 begins Monday June 6 at 6pm MDT in Edmonton, Alberta.
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