The Maple Leafs addressed two major needs with this trade. First, they freed up much-needed cap space for their attempt to re-sign restricted free agent Mitch Marner. Getting the Avalanche to retain 50 percent of Barrie’s contract while simultaneously shedding the $4.5 million Kadri was making gives them more flexibility underneath the cap after their maneuvering earlier in the day that shipped out Connor Brown and the onerous Nikita Zaitsev contract to the Ottawa Senators.
Second, the Leafs get a legitimate top-four, right-shot defenseman in Barrie. He is coming off of a career-best 59-point season and has just one year left on his contract. He fits plans to contend next season but would also be off the cap in 2020-21, when the Maple Leafs may be able to count on prospects like Rasmus Sandin and Timothy Liljegren on the blue line, softening the blow of potentially losing him for nothing down the road.