BSH 2018 Community Draft Board, No. 15: Barrett Hayton

The two-way OHL centerman takes the next spot in our countdown.

Barrett Hayton may be one of the best two-way forwards of this draft class, but does he project well in the NHL?

BSH 2018 Community Draft Board, No. 15: Barrett Hayton

Position / Team: C / Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds (OHL)
2017-18 Statistics: 21 G, 39 A in 63 GP
Size: 6’1” 185

Pre-draft rankings

No. 9 (NA Skaters) by NHL Central Scouting
No. 11 by Future Considerations
No. 12 by ISS Hockey
No. 23 by Pronman/The Athletic (Final)

What’s there to like?

Barrett Hayton is easily one of the more complete players in this draft class. His passing vision, defense, and shot I believe can all be classified as “above-average”.  He also has fantastic hands and is able to maneuver in tight situations.

The Kitchener, Ontario native stands out primarily because of his elite hockey IQ. Hayton is able to see plays develop well before they happen and it gives him a distinct edge on his opponents at times. An example of that is right here on this play, as before he even physically steals the puck, he’s got his head up to find an open man.

While Hayton’s shot isn’t on an Oliver Wahlstrom’s level, it’s still one of the best aspects of his game. Not only is his shot hard, it’s off his stick in a hurry. Out his 21 goals this season, 12 of them came at 5-on-5. I’m not sure if his shot will be good enough at the NHL level to make him a consistent 20 goal scorer, but I don’t think it’s out of the realm of possibility.

Hayton’s playmaking ability on the other hand, I see translating very well to the NHL. His vision of the ice is one of his most impressive traits, and he’s got the pure passing ability to back it up. While his skating isn’t the greatest, and we’ll get to that later, he does have the ability at times to be shifty with the puck and create passing lanes. His strength on the puck and great work ethic only compound these attributes. His puck skills also greatly enable him to overcome the struggles with his skating.

Here’s what Mitch Brown of The Athletic tracked of Hayton during the 2017-2018 season.

What’s not to like?

Skating is easily the biggest current flaw in Hayton’s game. He struggles getting up to speed and even when he reaches top speed, it’s not explosive by any means. This is something that I think he’ll need to fix before he reaches the NHL level, and good thing for him is, he’s only now entering his age 18 season. He turns 18 this coming Saturday so the fact he was able to perform as well as he did in the OHL as a 17 year old is pretty impressive. Knowing this, it should give him even more time to fix the issues with his skating. From everything I’ve read about him, he appears to have a very strong work ethic, so I can’t imagine he lets this be an issue for much longer.

How would he fit in the Flyers’ system?

He’d most likely slot right in behind his Greyhounds teammate Morgan Frost in terms of center prospects. I think his NHL readiness would totally depend on his skating. If he can fix that, and refine what is already great about his game, he could be NHL ready sooner rather than later.

Could the Flyers actually get him?

It’s going to be tight but they might be able to. He’s getting a lot of praise from scouts and some even going as far to compare him to Patrice Bergeron, so a team may jump the gun and select him earlier than where he should go. Hayton definitely feels like a Ron Hextall kind of draft pick.

Additional reading

2018 NHL Draft Prospect Profile: Barrett Hayton (Mile High Hockey)

Calling him a two-way center shouldn’t take away from the fact that he has elite offensive talent. Hayton is a slick skating forward who mixes skill with size and has learned to play an unselfish game.

The knock coming out of his rookie season was his footspeed, but that is something that has improved drastically. He still doesn’t have the best top speed, but he moves well and uses great routes in order to get around the ice quickly. This season, he has shown the ability to pick up the tempo on the rush and create dangerous drives to the net.

2018 NHL Entry Draft Prospect Profile: Barrett Hayton (Defending Big D)

What makes Hayton especially intriguing is that he also possesses real skill with the puck, which he combines with his physical play to be dangerous deep in the offensive zone. He’ll lean on a defender to dig a puck loose, and then using quick, soft hands will thread a clean pass to an open teammate. If defenders try to stop him by going for the puck instead of taking the body Hayton can keep the play alive in a number of ways, turning his body to shield the puck, swinging the puck wide with a long reach, slipping it through the defender’s legs or going around them with a slick toe drag. He also possesses some real scoring ability, as his wrist shot is hard, accurate and comes off his stick in a hurry. A really hard player to stop when he gets going in the cycle.

Highlights (video credit to HSD Prospects):

Just one getting added to the poll this time, USNTDP defenseman K’Andre Miller.

K’Andre Miller— D, USNTDP Juniors  (USHL) — 4 G, 12 A in 22 GP

But it was in his second year, his under-18 season, that Miller really established himself as a potential first-rounder. With new coach Seth Appert at the helm, the whole team took a giant step forward, particularly offensively. Miller was given more freedom to jump into the rush, something he loves to do, and was able to better utilize his size and skating ability to improve his positioning defensively. He finished the year with 29 points, third among the team’s blueliners, and greatly improved his stock at the World Under-18s where he played the toughest minutes for Team USA and helped them win a silver medal.

— via Mile High Hockey

2018 BSH Community Draft Board

  1. Rasmus Dahlin — D, Frolunda (SHL) (no vote)
  2. Andrei Svechnikov — RW, Barrie (OHL) (60% of the vote)
  3. Filip Zadina — LW, Halifax (QMJHL) (74%)
  4. Brady Tkachuk — LW, Boston University (NCAA) (57%)
  5. Oliver Wahlstrom — C/RW, USNTDP (USHL) (40%)
  6. Quinn Hughes — D, Michigan University (NCAA) (50%)
  7. Adam Boqvist — D, Brynas IF (SHL) (42%)
  8. Evan Bouchard — D, London (OHL) (49%)
  9. Noah Dobson — D, Acadie-Bathurst (QMJHL) (50%)
  10. Jesperi Kotkaniemi — C, Assat (Liiga) (34%)
  11. Joe Veleno — C, Drummondville (QMJHL) (38%)
  12. Joel Farabee — LW, USNTDP Juniors (USHL) (45%)
  13. Rasmus Kupari — C, Karpat (Liiga) (31%)
  14. Ty Smith — D, Spokane (WHL) (22%)
  15. Barrett Hayton — C, Sault Ste. Marie (OHL) (34%)


Please use your vote below to answer the following question: If all of the players listed were available when the Flyers were on the clock, who would you want them to pick?

Who should be No. 16 on the 2018 BSH Community Draft Board?

Isac Lundestrom19
Akil Thomas6
Serron Noel9
Grigori Denisenko17
Martin Kaut6
Bode Wilde46
Ryan Merkley14
Vitaly Kravtsov34
K’Andre Miller1