What will become of Justin Barron?  |  Radio-Canada.ca

What will become of Justin Barron? | Radio-Canada.ca

But the first played 923 games in the NHL, and the second, 250. Justin Barron, because it is about him here, played three. He will have to wait a little longer before receiving the keys to the city.

Barron, obtained in the exchange of Artturi Lehkonen in Colorado, remains a prospect of high quality with very interesting potential. A real sign of renewal in Montreal, in addition to filling a crying need on the right flank of this defense in full transformation.

What will become of Justin Barron, then?

This question was for the toga effect. We do not really claim to be able to answer them. Hell, scouts spend years spying on young players and get it wrong more often than not. So imagine…

A hockey player, his development, his maturity, his professionalism, his ability to adapt, all that constantly evolves. This is why it is important to manage expectations. As much of the hope in question as of the author here, who tries to analyze it. This caveat well established, let’s see what it is.

First, there is consensus in the middle, it is a good catch for the CH, which will not surprise anyone. One of the hockey men consulted even put on a diaper.

I was with our deputy general manager recently and he said that, in the middle, the world thought that it was very expensive paid for Lehkonen. Good for Montreal. »

A quote from A scout about the Barron-Lehkonen trade

Basically, the Avalanche aimed higher. According to many well-connected reporters, Claude Giroux was at the top of the list. Each time the decision-makers crossed out a name, they approached Montreal, but the offer on the table did not move.

Colorado wanted to trade its second-round pick and Barron for other players. They were trying, they were trying. At some point they went to Lehkonen. They called saying, ”Here’s what we got.” It wasn’t even Montreal who asked for it. […] [Kent] Hughes said “Go”added our man.

That’s it for the little story.

Assets

He’s an elite skater, everyone agrees on thatestimates a recruiter of a team of the West.

He can skate all day without getting tired. In his draft year, he had a blood clot, came back and played three games in three nights in Quebec. Like it’s been a while [qu’on l’avait vu], a lot of scouts had followed him, and I think he played over 20 minutes every night. He didn’t look tired pantyhe explains.

The supporters of the Canadian could see Sunday a sample of this beautiful fluidity, of this elegance, even.

Barron got 18 minutes on the ice, in itself not bad for his debut with the Habs, but he mostly spent 2 min 49 s on the ice during overtime, which he also started. Even if the context facilitates development for Martin St-Louis, that says a lotaccording to our recruiter.

The three scouts consulted generally agree on everything related to his athletic abilities. Managing expectations is different.

A correct sense of the game, nothing more. Perhaps its greatest shortcoming, they say. It sometimes stumbles in terms of anticipation in defense.

For the rest, he’s so smart and has such good skills that he’s a good hockey player. For the National League, he’s not an extraordinary guy, but he’s a guy who will playsays a scout from an Eastern team.

During Barron’s four years in the QMJHL, this scout rubbed shoulders with him often. In addition to his undeniable physical qualities, he evokes a young man very articulate, very intelligent, excellent at school.

What I’m not 100% sold on, notes one of them, is his defensive game. I always found that he lost guys in his zone and that tired me a bit.

He will still have to work on his defense, his mobility in the back skate and in tight spaces… like all 20-year-old defendersadds another.

Expectations

We must temper with this kind of hope, say our three experts.

In an ideal world, he is seen as a possible fourth defender, but it is not won either.

This is not a superstar. He’s a good solid player in the National League, but with the limits he has, I think he’s more third than second duo. Maybe second duo in a mid-ranked team. But when the Canadian will have a better team, soon, he will have to [Barron] plays on the third. »

A quote from East team scout on Justin Barron

Our pundits all serve as a caveat to his attacking instinct, which he possesses to a degree, but will never be a great producer of.

He’s not a quarterback, they said. Possibly some ice time within a second wave of superiority, but nothing more.

Barron was born on November 15 and therefore began his junior career at the age of 15. Scouts had three years to scrutinize him before his draft in 2020. The Nova Scotian still went out in the first round, 25th overall, a lower ranking than many people expected a year ago. We even talked about him as a possible member of the top 10, or even the top 5.

There was a bias.

It’s the problem of the guy who comes from the Maritimes and is recognized as THE best player. He already had the physique. He skated well forward. He was pretty good with the puck, which made him pretty easy to dominate in the Maritimes. Everyone was inclined to overestimate him a little. Suddenly, at 16, he was playing and coach protect him a bit. We don’t scrutinize 16-year-old players thoroughly. We look at them, we make some reports. Barron has the tools of a good hockey player. There, he arrives at 18 and he plays against the best on the other side. When he starts playing against them, you finally say, he’s good, but not so goodexplains our man from the East.

He plays at 16, he skates like the wind, it’s incredible, it’s a beauty to see skating, it’s gold, launches another spy. He is mobile, moves his feet, he slides. You see that junior, he’s 16 and what’s more, he’s a late, so he is young. You say to yourself, it doesn’t make sense, he’s the youngest player in the league practically, he’s 6 ft 2 in (1.88 m), he skates like the wind, he throws hard. You are really excited. You tell yourself that in three years, it will be a machine. There, expectations can just be disappointed. It’s almost impossible to raise them afterwards. The second year, you tell yourself that it is still good. The third year, you start finding things for him. Finally, he will not lead the numerical advantage, he is perhaps not so elite offensive as that. You start asking yourself questions. It is often because of expectations.

A game between hockey players from Canada and Sweden.

Justin Barron (center) playing for Canada at the Hlinka-Gretzky Cup tournament on August 11, 2018 in Edmonton.

Photo: The Canadian Press/Codie McLachlan

This scout adds that he was amazed by the quality of his game at the World Juniors in 2021. From a somewhat scattered player who tried to do everything on the ice with the Halifax Mooseheads, he became a young prospect in full possession of his means, calm and responsible.

The scout inquired: André Tourigny, coach of the formation at the time, met Barron before the start of the tournament. The responsibilities were clear: he was going to form a duo with Kaiden Guhle (well, well) to face the best opposing players. Jamie Drysdale and Bowen Byram would take care of the attacking fives, Barron just had to concentrate on his task. The results were convincing.

If you tell him: “Second duo, move the pucks forward, don’t put the pressure on yourself to produce, once in a while, a second wave of numerical advantage, but nothing more”, it works. It really is a great acquisition.adds this scout.

One of our interlocutors sees Barron ready to make the jump next year. Another would give him two years in the American League.

Minimum. Play games, get it wrong, do this, do that. A defender, you mount him too quickly, he gets burned. When I see people putting him and Guhle on a second duo next year… Do you think Montreal has been weak this year? Tie your toque, it’s going to be a disaster. »

A quote from A western scout

There are as many opinions as there are experts, but patience seems to be the watchword. Nice virtue. It is said, moreover, of it, and of the length of time, that it does more than force and rage. Who knows.

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