Colorado Avalanche Select Defenseman Justin Barron 25th Overall

The Colorado Avalanche have selected defenseman Justin Barron with their first-round pick. They won’t pick again until the third round.

The Colorado Avalanche had a low draft pick because of their good season last year. So, in this historic October 2020 NHL Draft, the team selected at the 25th-overall position.

They used that pick to choose a shutdown defenseman out of Halifax, Justin Barron.

I must admit, I’m surprised by this selection. The Avalanche are pretty deep at all positions, but nowhere are they deeper than at defense. What’s more, they don’t tend to choose shutdown D with their first-round pick. The last time they did so was in 2011, when they selected Duncan Siemens 11th-overall. That pick didn’t exactly work out. And it was their second of the first-round anyway.

Well, according to DraftSite, Justin Barron does have the potential to become a two-way player. Scout Bill Placzek praises his “good defensive fundamentals and two-way game.”

Scout Ben Kerr of Last Word on Sports considers he’ll “never be an elite offensive defenseman,” but that he can rely on his hockey sense and eventually quarterback the second-unit power play.

Indeed, reports comment especially on Barron’s hockey smarts and how he employs them to make good plays. He maintains sound positioning, which makes him a good defender. He also utilizes good stick work.

Scouts universally praise his skating ability, which is what probably made him a top prospect for the Colorado Avalanche. Indeed, Kerr says of his skating:

“He gets around the ice quickly and can join the rush or pinch in at the blue line and still get back defensively. Barron has a long smooth stride. He generates high-end top speed and excellent acceleration in both directions.”

You have to be a talented skater to make it on the Avalanche.

Barron just completed his third year with Nathan MacKinnon’s old team, the Halifax Mooseheads. Unfortunately, he didn’t have a career season. The team overall didn’t do well. What’s more, Barron missed considerable time with a blood clot issue.

To be honest, I didn’t expect Colorado to choose Barron in the first round. As I noted in his draft profile, I thought the Avs would select him later if he was still available. They don’t have a second-round pick, though, as they traded it to Washington for Andre Burakovsky. That fact suggests they wanted Barron and were willing to sacrifice their first rounder for him.

Well, as I said earlier, the Colorado Avalanche are a deep team. They don’t need help right away, especially at defense. That’s good, because a 25th-overall selection is unlikely to make the team anytime soon.

Colorado has five more selections remaining. They’ll choose at the 75th (third round), 118th (fourth round), 149th (fifth round), 167th (fifth round), 167th (sixth round) and 211th (seventh round) positions. The draft continues virtually tomorrow morning starting at 9:30 am MT.