Another Nova Scotian hockey star is heading to Colorado.
Halifax Mooseheads defenceman Justin Barron was selected 25th overall by the Colorado Avalanche in Tuesday night’s NHL draft.
Barron, 18, becomes the fifth Nova Scotian to be part of the Avalanche franchise, joining superstar forward Nathan MacKinnon (Cole Harbour), 2017 first round pick Shane Bowers (Halifax), defenceman Ryan Graves (Yarmouth) and 2019 third round pick Matthew Stienburg (Halifax).
“I couldn’t be happier to be a part of the Colorado Avalanche organization,” said Barron, speaking from Mooseheads practice on Wednesday. “It’s pretty cool to see all the Nova Scotians there, and the Maritimes especially is a place that maybe is a little overlooked sometime with young hockey players, but players here are definitely getting better, and I think it’s great for me and all the Nova Scotian guys to be drafted to such a great organization.”
Tuesday night's draft was rescheduled from June due to COVID-19, and was conducted virtually for the first time, with each team selecting from its draft room in its city and Commissioner Gary Bettman based at NHL Studios in Secaucus, New Jersey.
“It was exciting, obviously the draft was a bit different this year, but it was definitely still special and I got to spend it with my mom and my dad who have been such a huge part of my success and my journey,” said Barron, who says he received congratulations from future teammates Nathan MacKinnon, Cale Makar, and Samuel Girard, and spoke with Avalanche teammate and NHL Hall-of-Famer Joe Sakic on the phone.
The 6'2" defenceman becomes the 12th highest drafted Nova Scotian in NHL history, and highest drafted since MacKinnon went first overall in 2013.
He also becomes the 12th Moosehead selected in the first round in the franchises history, including seven in the last eight drafts, and the first since Filip Zadina was selected sixth overall in 2018.
Barron was named captain of the Halifax Mooseheads last week. Now in his fourth season with the team he has tallied 81 points in 153 career regular season games, including 19 points in 34 games last season.
Congratulations to Captain Justin Barron who has been selected 25th overall by Colorado. Avalanche fans, you’re getting another terrific hockey player from Halifax and an incredible individual. #GoMooseGo #NHLDraft #GoAvsGo pic.twitter.com/9lqBF8BtTT— Halifax Mooseheads (@HFXMooseheads) October 7, 2020
Mooseheads coach J.J. Daigneault says beyond being an elite player, the Avalanche also selected a well-adjusted 18-year-old, who is brings a mature leadership style beyond his years.
"He's a really funny young man, a good leader and a leader in the community as well," says Daigneault.
Barron joins his older brother Morgan Barron, who was drafted 174th overall by the New York Rangers in 2017, and played last season at Cornell University.
Quebec Major Junior Hockey League MVP Alexis Lafreniere was selected first overall by the New York Rangers.