DENVER – There was plenty of conjecture heading into the first round of the 2020 NHL Entry Draft regarding what the Colorado Avalanche were going to do with the 25th overall pick.
Would Colorado trade its pick in order to acquire another skater for a run at the Stanley Cup in 2020-21? Would the Avalanche trade out of the first round if the player they wanted wasn’t available? Or would the Avs stand pat and select another skater for their robust prospect pipeline?
Spoiler: it would be the latter.
With the 25th overall pick of the 2020 NHL Entry Draft, the Avalanche selected 18-year-old defenseman Justin Barron from the Halifax Mooseheads of the QMJHL.
According to multiple scouting reports, Barron is an all-around defender that is a solid presence wherever he’s needed on the ice. Elite Prospects further elaborated on Barron’s scoring ability and on-ice movement.
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.
Barron has also been described as “a jack-of-all-trades defender…good in every area of the ice” with a “defense-first game and low danger offensive game.”
In three full seasons with Halifax, Barron has accumulated 15 goals and 66 assists for 81 total points in 154 games played. He also contributed two goals and 11 assists in 23 playoff games when the Mooseheads made the QMJHL Finals in 2018-19. Last but definitely not least, Barron was also made team captain ahead of the 2020-21 season.
THE RED BARRON(S)?
Barron is a name fans of the Colorado Avalanche organization have been familiar with for the past few seasons. Ironically, Avs prospect Travis Barron was drafted in the seventh round (#191 overall) by Colorado in the 2016 NHL Entry Draft. No relation to Justin, Travis has played parts of three seasons between the AHL and ECHL, serving as a part of the Colorado Eagles’ 2018 Kelly Cup Championship team during their last season in the ECHL.
LOOK AT ALL THIS DEFENSE!
The Avalanche have selected defensemen in the first round for three out of the past four entry drafts: 2020 – Barron (#25), 2019 – Bowen Byram (#4), and 2017 – Cale Makar (#4). Throw in 2017 second round pick Conor Timmins (#32), and Avs fans are excited to see the future along the blue line for Colorado.
Cale Makar, Bowen Byram, Sam Girard, Justin Barron, Conor Timmins, Drew Helleson. I am so excited to watch this defence. I haven't felt this good about our future dmen ever before #GoAvsGo
— Bowen Byram's #1 fan (@PWDAvalanche) October 7, 2020
Avs are STACKED and YOUNG on the blue line
— Dan Tanner (@DanTanner091) October 7, 2020
SPEAKING OF GIRARD…
Yet another odd fact of the 2020 offseason for the Colorado pipeline — there are now two Girards abiding in the Avs organization, as well. With aforementioned Avalanche defenseman Samuel Girard, the Colorado Eagles signed forward Charlie Gerard to a one-year, two-way AHL contract back on April 7. Like the aptly-named Barrons, Sam and Charlie are not related.
WILL EAGLES COUNTRY SEE J. BARRON?
It’s hard to say where Justin Barron will end up once he’s ready to make the jump to a professional hockey career. As was the case with Byram, a four-year stint in the Canadian Hockey League system (WHL, OHL, & QMJHL) is pretty standard for developing young skaters. With Barron already beginning his fourth season with the Mooseheads, look for the Halifax native to finish out the 2020-21 regular season in the Q (and turn 19-years-old on November 15) before any decisions are made.
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