The Hockey Writers 2020 NHL Entry Draft Guide

Justin Barron

2019-20 Team: Halifax Mooseheads
Date of Birth: Nov. 15, 2001
Place of Birth: Halifax, NS, Canada
Ht: 6’2” Wt: 195 lbs
Shoots: Right
Position: D
NHL Draft Eligibility: 2020 first-year eligible

Rankings

Heading into his draft year, many had Halifax Mooseheads’ defenseman Justin Barron being selected anywhere from as low as 15 to as high as a top-10 pick in this year’s draft. After an impressive sophomore season where he had 32 assists and 41 points, things could have gone better for Barron this season. 

It was a tough season from the very beginning for Barron and the Mooseheads. Halifax finished in 17th, only ahead of the Acadie-Bathurst Titan. Barron himself had 17 points in 27 games played, which was good for 0.63 points per game average. It wasn’t a bad start to the season, but he didn’t seem to have the same consistent level of play that he had the previous season. 

His rough season got worse as he was diagnosed with a blood clot that forced him to miss almost three months of the season, which could be a factor why his play was hindered this year. After missing some significant game time coupled with an inconsistent season, Barron’s name started to fall in the rankings.

Justin Barron Halifax Mooseheads
Justin Barron of the Halifax Mooseheads (Photo: Halifax Mooseheads)

All this considered, there’s still a lot to like about Barron’s game. He still has the ability to be a strong and capable all-around defender as he has shown in the past. He’s able to play in any situation while keeping attacking forwards off to the side and providing great separation from the player and the puck. Even in one-on-one battles, Barron is very sound and always plays a strong defensive-minded game. Not to mention he brings a physical edge when he needs to. 

He doesn’t have a “wow factor” and that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Barron always likes to keep things simple while having the talent to provide a steady offensive presence. He has a smooth skating stride that allows him to move the play forward while making a strong first pass in order to create a quick transitional play. He’s extremely mobile for his size and possesses a strong shot on the point. His smarts, size and two-way play are what will make him a great pick for any team looking for a defenseman who has a strong, well-rounded game.

Other THW Draft Profiles:

Justin Barron- NHL Draft Projection

It’s difficult to say when and where Barron might hear his name called. It was a tough season both on the ice and off it. While his skillset is evident, teams may be wary of selecting him where he was originally supposed to go based on early-season rankings. Best-case scenario, he could be a late first-round pick. The worst-case scenario is that he could drop as far as the second round. 

Quotables

“Barron started the season off a bit slower than many had expected, struggling at times as he adapted to playing better competition higher in the lineup and doing so without many of the veteran players from last season. His offensive production regressed slightly and he didn’t seem as comfortable with the puck. Things went from bad to worse at the beginning of December when he was diagnosed with blood clots that have kept him out of action to this point. He said that he wasn’t feeling right at the beginning of the season and the blood clot issue could have been the culprit.

“He is a minute-muncher on the backend that can do anything. He is a high-IQ player who always seems to make the right decision with the puck. Defensively strong, Barron rarely allows an attacker to beat him to the net, often times guiding the offensive player into the corner and keeping them to the outside. Offensively, Barron isn’t a player that is going to “wow” you with stick handling or exceptional offensive creativity, but he makes the smart, safe play that leads to dangerous chances for his team. He has a good shot and makes crisp passes in all three zones. He is a good playmaker with the puck at the point he can effectively run a power play unit from the blue line.”- Tony Ferrari, Dobber Prospects

“Barron can make a smart first pass to start the transition or he can use his strong skating and stickhandling to lead the rush himself. He sees the ice well and makes good decisions with the puck. Barron also has a good point shot. He can also sneak down to the faceoff circles and let go of his wrist shot. 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.”- Ben Kerr, Last Word on Hockey

“At almost 6-foot-3 and with great mobility and smarts, the Halifax Moosehead defenceman plays a good all-around game. He’s not nearly as dynamic offensively, or high reward/high risk as Drysdale, but what’s not to like about a big, smart, mobile puck mover who can skate or pass the puck out of trouble and plays a solid defensive game as well?”- Bob McKenzie, TSN

Strengths

  • Defensive play
  • Gap Control
  • Skating
  • Smarts/Vision
  • Playmaking 

Under Construction (Improvements to Make

  • Inconsistencies from a rough season
  • Health

NHL Potential

Despite a rough season, Barron does have the potential to be a solid top-four defenseman in the NHL. He’s a complete-package defenseman with size, vision and the ability to move the puck that can play in any situation, which many teams will value. 

Risk- Reward analysis

Risk- 1/5, Reward 3.5/5

Fantasy Hockey Potential

Offense- 6/10, Defense 8/10

Awards/ Achievements

After a strong rookie season, Barron earned a spot on the QMJHL All-Rookie Team in 2017-18. Internationally, he won a silver medal at the 2017 U-17 World Hockey Challenge (Canada Red) and a gold medal on a stacked Team Canada lineup at the 2018 Hlinka Gretzky Cup. 

Interviews/ Links

Sportsnet

Videos