The NHL's most successful franchises have all been built around a core of stars as role players rotate in and out from year to year. For proof of this, look no farther than the Stanley Cup finals, which features longtime franchise players like Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, Kris Letang, Joe Thornton and Patrick Marleau. The Colorado Avalanche had the makings of a Cup-caliber core, but they are currently in the process of tearing it down.
Most top-notch contenders have a group of skilled scoring forwards, a two-way center and a No. 1 defenseman who can produce. The Avalanche have the skill forwards in former top draft picks Nathan MacKinnon, Gabriel Landeskog and Matt Duchene, but they traded two-way center Ryan O'Reilly to the Buffalo Sabres in exchange for several might-be-something-someday prospects. Now they are reportedly seeking to trade their best defender, Tyson Barrie, who is a restricted free agent this offseason. If they move the young defenseman, they will have succeeded in ripping apart, over the course of just two offseasons, a core that had the potential to be competitive for a decade.
Why is Barrie so valuable, and which teams are the best fits for him as a trade destination?