Barrie hopes to get back to Colorado-form with Oilers
The veteran blue-liner inked a one-year, $3.75 million contract with Edmonton over the fall and wants to put a turbulent one-year stint with the Toronto Maple Leafs behind him.
"The year in Toronto may have changed things a bit, and then you throw a pandemic into the mix," Barrie told Sportsnet's Mark Spector. "It was just kind of a bizarre circumstance. I'd like to get back to the player I was when I left Colorado. It's tougher than you think, moving teams, having a new coach, and all that.
"I think I have the hang of it now. I've wrapped my head around it. It's not like I'm looking to prove people wrong, but just kind of re-establish myself."
Barrie posted three 50-plus point seasons in eight years with the Colorado Avalanche and then was traded to Toronto last July in a blockbuster deal that included forward Nazem Kadri going to Denver.
The Leafs and Barrie both limped out of the gates under head coach Mike Babcock, which affected the defenseman's mindset.
"I'd never been off to a start like that: no goals, seven assists in 25 games. Our team was floating around .500, and it just felt like a lot of pressure. You know, more pressure than I'd dealt with in Colorado," Barrie said.
The 29-year-old's numbers improved when Toronto replaced Babcock with Sheldon Keefe. Barrie finished the year with 39 points in 70 games while averaging nearly 22 minutes per night.
Barrie is expected to play a prominent role with the Oilers this season at five-on-five and on the power play before becoming an unrestricted free agent again.