Chicago Blackhawks: 3 Draft Choices That Make Sense
By Ryan Fedrau
3. Justin Barron (D)
Let me say this first, I have one big concern with Justin Barron. It’s Barron’s health. Barron has a blood clot and has missed significant time because of it. At 18, it seems a little too young for Barron to have a blood clot. Blood clots can happen to any player though.
My concern is for him, not for his play on the ice. I believe Barron might be the best defensemen in the entire draft, when healthy. If the Blackhawks make the playoffs, Barron could slide down into the 20s. The health concerns will keep GMs away.
The Blackhawks missed the boat on Bowen Byram. I believe that Byram and Adam Boqvist would have made a perfect defensive pair. It would bring back the memories of a young Duncan Keith and Brent Seabrook.
With the Blackhawks having Ian Mitchell in their system, the future of the Blackhawks defense is exciting. Just imagine adding Barron to that mix.
Barron is a pass-first, 6-foot-2 defenseman who is fast on his skates. He really plays to his size advantage and makes a great impact while on the ice. He averages 0.54 points-per-game, which is solid for an NHL defenseman. If he could transfer that over to the NHL, he’ll be a star.
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The Blackhawks already have had their defensive struggles this season. Early on, I couldn’t find a spot to put Boqvist in the lineup. The way the season has played out, it’s fair to assume drafting a defenseman isn’t out of the realm of possibility.
The Blackhawks will probably let Erik Gustafsson go in the offseason. Gustafsson has played terribly this season. He’s not going to be worth much. If Mitchell is NHL ready, there is no need for Gustafsson anyways.
A healthy Seabrook and healthy Calvin de Haan will need roles on defense. So, that leaves us with four open spots. Those spots will go to Boqvist, Keith, Connor Murphy, and Olli Maatta. Mitchell will also need a spot somewhere in that lineup. There is also Nick Seeler to mess with.
That will give Barron time to progress as a player in the Blackhawks’ system. He could even return for one more season in the QMJHL. Barron will be a solid defenseman for years to come. If the Blackhawks do make the playoffs, Barron might be their go-to player to draft.