The Colorado Avalanche tonight had the 25th pick in first round of the 2020 NHL Draft, and the Avs took defenseman Justin Barron, a 6-2, 200-pound defenseman from the Halifax Mooseheads.
Barron only played 34 games for the Mooseheads last season mostly because of a blood clot issue, but he is said to be healthy now. He was considered one of the best pure skaters available in the draft, especially among defensemen.
Avalanche general manager Joe Sakic said Barron was “first on our board” among available defensemen.
Barron had a blood clot in an arm, but had a medical procedure to correct it. He admitted to being a bit disappointed at falling in the draft, presumably because of the condition. But when he had his name called by Sakic, all that disappointment went away fast.
“I couldn’t be happier to be a member of the Colorado Avalanche,” said Barron, who said he received welcoming texts from Nathan MacKinnon and Cale Makar.
Barron is the fifth player on the Avs organization to hail from Nova Scotia, with MacKinnon being the most notable.
“I pride myself in being a guy who can play on the power play, PK and play in the last minute of a game,” Barron said. “I think I bring a mix of being a two-way kind of defenseman.”
“Barron was very much touted as a top-20 pick coming into the season, but a blood clot shut him down in early December. It’s unfortunate, as Barron was perhaps going to play himself into being the second blue-liner selected in the 2020 draft. He’s 6’2 and as mobile as they come. Soundly responsible in his own end, Barron has a great nose for the puck and closes attackers down with confidence. He’s probably the most comfortable at his position under duress too, can skate it out of the zone himself or stay composed, shield the puck and find an outlet up ice. Whilst the offensive capability isn’t elite, mobility and skating are. He should transition well into a 20 minute a night, all-situation guy.”
Here’s how the respected prospect site Elite Prospects described Barron:
Barron produces points in two ways: through the rush and with his shot from the blue line. He loves to transport the puck up-ice, accelerating away from forecheckers while switching from one skating lane to the next. When he breaks in the offensive zone, he looks to cut to the slot or drop a pass to a teammate.
Here’s some video on the kid:
Here’s more on Barron from the Avs’ official release:
Barron, 18, registered 19 points (4g/15a) in 34 games of a shortened 2019-20 campaign, tops among Mooseheads defensemen. He has skated in one game since the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League began the 2020-21 season on Oct. 2 and is serving as team captain, his first year in that role.
The Halifax, Nova Scotia, native has totaled 81 points (15g/66a) in 154 career QMJHL games, all with Halifax. Barron registered a career-best 41 points (9g/32a) during the 2018-19 season and added 13 points (2g/11a) in 23 postseason contests as the Mooseheads fell to eventual President’s Cup champion Rouyn-Noranda in six games. The 6-foot-2, 195-pound blueliner notched 21 points (2g/19a) in 51 games in his first season in 2017-18, earning a spot on the league’s All-Rookie Team.
Internationally, Barron represented his country at the 2018 Ivan Hlinka Gretzky Cup, tallying five assists in five games to help Canada capture the gold medal. He notched one point (0g/1a) in six games for Canada Red at the 2017 Under-17 World Hockey Challenge to help his team earn silver.
Barron is the sixth player to be selected by the Avalanche out of the QMJHL in the first round and the fourth since the club moved to Denver. He is the third player Colorado has selected from the Halifax Mooseheads in the first round (Nathan MacKinnon in 2013, Alex Tanguay in 1998). Barron was the 16th-rated North American skater in NHL Central Scouting’s final rankings for the 2020 draft.
The NHL Draft resumes tomorrow (Wednesday, Oct. 7) with rounds 2-7 beginning at 9:30 a.m. MT on the NHL Network.