The Colorado Avalanche might consider Justin Barron an intriguing prospect. But will they select him in the first round of the 2020 NHL Draft?
The Colorado Avalanche won’t pick until the end of first round of the 2020 NHL Draft. By that time, players who have any chance of making the NHL team next season will be long gone. That’s just fine for Colorado — they don’t need immediate help anyway.
That does put the Avs in a good position, though. By the late 20s, “best available” players is debatable. So, the team can draft for need. Since you always have a couple needs coming up, you have some leeway in a draft.
The Avalanche are very well-stocked on defense right now. That is, offensive defensemen and players who have the potential to be two-way defensemen. They’re not as stacked for shutdown D. Now, that’s not a style the team necessarily prizes, but it is one of the rare deficiencies they have.
Might they look for a shutdown defenseman in this season’s draft? And if they do, will they consider drafting one in the first round. If he’s the best available player for an upcoming need, they just might.
Enter Justin Barron.
Barron is a right-shot defenseman out of Halifax, Nova Scotia. He’s decent-sized at 6-foot-2, 195 pounds. He’s ranked #16 for North American skaters by Central Scouting. However, he’s scouted to go anywhere from #23 to #71, so quite a wide range.
That range can be explained by some health concerns he had this last season. He had to miss three months because he was diagnosed with a blood clot in early December.
Nonetheless, Barron could well be in the Avalanche’s drafting range, which will be determined after the playoffs. So, let’s look at this young defenseman.
Justin Barron Stats
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Justin Barron has spent the last three seasons playing for the Halifax Mooseheads of the QMJHL — Nathan MacKinnon’s old team, coincidentally. His second season was his best. He put up 41 points (9 goals, 32 assists) in 68 games. His rookie season wasn’t bad — 2 goals and 19 assists for 21 points. Those are good numbers for a shutdown D.
It’s hard to judge last season since he had the health issues. He missed the three months then returned just to see the season cancelled because of the COVID-19 crisis. In any case, he recorded 4 goals and 15 assists for 19 points in 34 games.
Justin Barron Highlights
Bill Placzek of DraftSite definitely sees Barron as an itriguing prospect. The site has him going #23 to the New York Rangers. Placzek says this of the young defenseman:
"“Big strong shutdown defender who munches many minutes for the Halifax Moosehead as a third year player. Not yet an active attacker, he is content be a smart stay at home, except for the occasional end to end rush that ends with a poorly thought out shot. Has good hockey sense and good defensive fundamentals and two-way game. Plays on the power play and penalty kill.”"
He adds that the defenseman has room to add to his frame — which is impressive because he’s already pretty bit for an 18-year-old.
Ben Kerr of Last Word on Hockey has a lot to say about Barron. He calls the prospect an “outstanding skater,” which puts him into a two-way style. He further praises his “excellent acceleration in both directions” and “smooth pivots.”
Barron isn’t going to be an offensive defenseman. However, Kerr sees some potential in that area. He sees Barron as having a good point shot and overall good stickhandling.
Naturally, defense is where the D-man shines. Here’s Kerr’s observations:
"“Barron plays a disciplined defensive game and his skating helps him defend one-on-one situations. His excellent agility and edgework allow him to maintain good gap control. He is very hard to beat in one-on-one situations…He is not a huge hitter, instead preferring to play a disciplined positional game.”"
I like the idea that the young man is already playing a disciplined game.
Let’s see him in action:
Barron is a lanky kid. He’s going to be a Mack truck one day.
Justin Barron and the Colorado Avalanche
I don’t know that the Colorado Avalanche would select a shutdown defenseman in the first round — again. They did so in 2011, Duncan Siemens, and that never panned out.
Justin Barron does look like he has the potential to become a two-way defenseman, which is always valuable. I’d say the Avs simply wouldn’t select him in the first round, though.
That said, he might drop well into the second round. If he were still available late second round, I could see Colorado snapping him up.
I don’t think Barron’s health issues would be a deterrent for the Avs. They chose Martin Kaut in the first round, and he had to have a heart procedure (minor).
The Colorado Avalanche are in a good position to draft for depth because of their status as a Cup contender. Barron would be a nice add, but later in the draft.