Justin Barron is no stranger to the big stage.
You could say the pride of Halifax, Nova Scotia has seen it all before.
From playing on junior hockey’s highest stage, the Memorial Cup on home ice last year to the most important year of his life, his NHL Draft year, the highly skilled two-way defencemen is trying to take it all in stride and embrace journey.
Barron’s calm confident demeanour on the ice transcends off of it as well. Pressure and stressful situation don’t seem to phase the talented defender.
The next step towards the 2020 National Hockey League Entry Draft is the CIBC Canada Russia Series.
“It’s special to be here,” Barron said of representing the Halifax Mooseheads and the QMJHL.
“It’s great to be here with some teammates as well,” confessed Barron.
“Obviously anytime you get to represent your league and franchise you take a lot of pride in that.”
Barron is arguably the best defencemen in the Q and has put up the numbers to back that up.
In 68 games last year Barron amassed 9 goals and 32 assists for 41 pts while playing in every situation and finishing the year with a staggering +42
The hometown boy had 13 pts in 23 playoff games on the Mooseheads march to the President Cup Final Series versus the Rouyn-Noranda Huskies.
In 18 games this season Barron has 10 points for the Moose.
“Last year was a special year, obviously it was pretty disappointing, but I’m proud to be able to call those guys brothers now.”
“For me just learning how to get to the finals and to play such a long season and how your team has to come together and play as one with one mindset, is probably the biggest thing I learned,” Barron said of playing under the pressure and high expectations of last season.
Barron is entering what some players say is the most stressful year of their life.
“It’s more exciting than pressure and nervousness,” admitted Barron.
“I think the scouts are always going to be there watching no matter what and the draft is going to happen no matter what so for me my main focus is on my team in Halifax and trying to get better every day and having success there.”
“It’s an exciting year, one that you only experience once in your life, so it’s been fun so far and I’m looking forward to the rest of it.”
Spoken like a true defencemen with ice in his veins.
Barron’s composure and poise on the blueline draws similarities to that of New York Islanders 1st rounder and QMJHL alumnus Noah Dobson.
Did Barron ask any of his NHL Drafted Moosehead teammates for advice coming into this season?
“They have been good,” Barron said.
“I’ve seen a lot great players go through that are still teammates now.”
“Their big advice was not to look into too much, not to put any pressure on yourself and just to go play your game and showcase yourself as a player and that has really stuck with me,” explained Barron.
There’s no question the next big step in Barron’s journey to the NHL Draft is Team Canada’s World Junior Training Camp.
What would it mean to the highly skilled 17-year-old defender to get the call from Hockey Canada?
“That would be incredible,” confessed Barron.
“You grow up as a kid watching the World Junior every year, it’s such a big event and such an exciting opportunity any time you get to wear the Maple Leaf on your chest is super special.”
“To have the chance to get that call is definitely motivating and makes me want to keep playing well and keep working even harder to try to get a spot on that team.”
With all the attention surrounding his draft year, Justin Barron has a trusted ally that has been with him all the way through is amazing young career.
“My brother and I have a great relationship,” Barron said proudly.
“He’s been great for me.”
Morgan Barron was drafted by the New York Rangers in the 6th round 174th overall in the 2017 NHL Entry Draft and is currently the captain at Cornel University.
“Morgan went through his draft year and did a great job staying positive even though he had an injury that year.”
“He was really good about that and making sure he was coming back fully healthy with a positive attitude.”
“He’s been super helpful and we had great competition this summer either playing golf, at the rink or at the gym.”
“We get along great and he’s a great role model for me,” confessed Barron.
So what is Barron working on this season to ensure he lives out his childhood dream to be drafted and play in the NHL?
“I think my defensive game is something that I’ve been focusing on this season.”
“I’ve been getting some big minutes in Halifax this season against top lines and for me the guys are only going to get stronger and faster at the next level so I’m trying to improve my quickness defensively and being harder and tougher to play against.”