Justin Barron: a potential top four

Joe Sakic summarized his transaction to acquire Artturi Lehkonen in the simplest of ways: « To get a good player, you have to give a good one ».

• Read also: Artturi Lehkonen: Joe Sakic happy with his take

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The Avalanche general manager sacrificed one of the jewels of his organization in Justin Barron to lure Lehkonen to the mountains of Colorado.

In the Avalanche offices, Barron was considered the team’s best prospect after Alex Newhook and Bowen Byram, two players who already have their place in the locker room.

Sakic had already traded his first-round pick for the next draft to get goaltender Darcy Kuemper last summer from the Arizona Coyotes. So the DG looked in the direction of Barron on the 25the overall pick of 2020, to convince Kent Hughes to let Lehkonen go.

« A good catch »

« Justin has the potential to become a top 4 in the NHL, » Halifax Mooseheads general manager Cam Russell said. I believe in it 100%. He has speed, size, intelligence and stamina. We are talking about a good defender and a good young man. The Canadian made a good catch. »

Russell is not completely impartial. In his role as GM in the QMJHL, he has seen Barron grow within his organization. But this prediction of a future top four doesn’t just stop at the Mooseheads hockey man.

« I also believe in a role as one of the first two pairs on an NHL team for Barron, » said a Western Conference amateur scout. He transports the puck well and he has a skate that allows him to eat big minutes. It does not burn energy while moving. He’s 6’2″, he’s got a good build, he’s right-handed, he’s smart and mature. He has the qualities to become a reliable defenseman in the NHL. In my eyes, he can’t miss his shot. »

“I imagine him in the future as a Jason Demers, but as a more beautiful skater, he added. Jason had some great seasons in San Jose. In Montreal, Justin will arrive in a team that will make room for young people. And with Martin St-Louis, the CH plays with rhythm and the team needs fast skaters. They won’t be disappointed with Justin. »

Already a pro

Drafted in the first round of 2020 by the Avalanche, Barron has already made the leap to the pros this season, due to his late date of birth (November 15, 2001). In his first steps with the Colorado Eagles, he was only 19 years old.

Despite his young age, Barron produced at a good pace in the American League, recording 20 points (5 goals, 15 assists) in 43 games and maintaining a +10 record.

“He’s off to a really good start in the pros,” said a pro scout for an Eastern Conference team. He played well at his first camp in Denver. With the Eagles, he was one of the few youngsters to get ice. He already had a top 4 role with the Eagles. He has good numbers, he has power play time. His progression curve is very interesting. »

A blood clot

In 2019-20, Barron had bad luck.

« Justin probably slipped his draft year a bit because of his blood clot in his arm, » a Western scout said. It could scare some teams. He had missed almost half of the season. When you don’t play a lot, your squad rank always suffers. He is a very mature young man for his age. He has the head of a pro. »

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