The Colorado Avalanche announced the re-signing of defenseman Mark Barberio to a two-year contract extension through the 2019-20 season. He will make $1.45M per season.
Barberio, 28, was claimed on waivers from the Montreal Canadiens in the 2016-17 season and gradually earned a spot on a crowded blueline last year as head coach Jared Bednar found an increased trust level. He suffered a mysterious injury that neither he nor the club ever clarified and missed a large portion of the second half of the season but returned just in time for the postseason.
All told, Barberio appeared in 46 regular season games, accumulating 13 points (3g, 10a) and adding one assist in six playoff games.
Barberio joins Mark Alt as a depth defenseman signing in the last week. The Avalanche may not be done as Duncan Siemens and Patrik Nemeth remain unsigned and the club may be leaning towards bringing back Siemens for one last hurrah and Nemeth certainly carved out a significant role.
With youngsters Nikita Zadorov and Sam Girard itching for more playing time and increased roles, the plan may be to bring Barberio back to play on the third pairing next to Nemeth. Despite being left-handed, Barberio was frequently used as the third defenseman on the right side behind Erik Johnson and Tyson Barrie and he thrived in that role. His two most common partners last year at even strength were Zadorov (155 TOI, 53.02 CF%) and Nemeth (153:19 TOI, 48.84 CF%) and his third was Johnson, showing a versatility to his game. He finished sixth on the Avalanche in TOI per game at 17:17 and was fourth in SHTOI at 2:07. His ability to mix and match anywhere makes him a valuable chess piece on the backend.
The financial commitment from the Avalanche, who doubled Barberio's previous salary and gave him a second year of security, suggests they expect him to make the NHL roster and stick throughout the season. This is in contrast with the deal given to Mark Alt, who got a two-way contract and is set to make a high AHL salary if he does not make the team. There doesn't appear to be that kind of plan for Barberio as this signing says they expect him to beat out the competition for an opening night roster spot.
For a snapshot of his fancy stats, here's his PET (player evaluation tool) chart: