Prospect Of Interest: The 411 on Barrett Hayton

Barrett Hayton of the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds. (Terry Wilson/OHL Images)

When reaching out to a Western Conference scout to talk about Barrett Hayton, they proceeded to compare him to Patrice Bergeron.

“He’s a really heady player, a passionate player,” the scout said. “He cares, and his smarts are going to get him to this league sooner than later.”

It’s no wonder Hayton has steadily climbed the rankings on most prognosticators’ lists since mid-season.

He more than doubled his production in his second season with the OHL’s Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds in 2017-18, scoring 21 goals and adding 39 assists, and turned a lot of heads playing both ends of the ice.

Nowadays the word “centre” is typically preceded by “200-foot” because the expectation is that a player at the position will be strong all over the ice. It’s clear Hayton has earned that label.

Let’s delve deeper into his profile.

Team: Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds
Position: Centre
Shoots: Left
Age: 18
From: Kitchener, Ont.
Height: 6-foot-1
Weight: 185 pounds

TRYING TO BE LIKE BERGERON

We suppose it’s no coincidence scouts liken Hayton to Bergeron because Hayton himself has done his best to model his game after the great Bruins star.

“[Bergeron] is a player whose example I try to follow and use to create some improvements in my game,” Hayton told Guillaume Lepage of NHL.com in March. “I would describe myself as a complete 200-foot player with offensive abilities. I like making plays and I use my intelligence and skills with the puck to create opportunities.”

As Lepage noted, Hayton has some developing to do if he’s going to be a pro like Bergeron, having not quite played the same role with the Greyhounds this season.

It’s tough to show that style of game when serving as the third-line centre behind Tampa Bay Lightning prospects Boris Katchouk and Taylor Raddysh.

But none of that takes away from Hayton’s rep as a strong, two-way presence.

MAREK AND COSENTINO SAY…

Sportsnet’s Jeff Marek ranked Hayton 11th among all prospects eligible for this year’s NHL Draft and said he’s “extremely focussed and hard-working,” and that “Hayton is the ‘all-in’ guy every team loves to have.”

Our draft expert Sam Cosentino called Hayton a “jack-of-all-trades player who excels in the prototypical 200-foot game.”

A GOOD SHOWING WITH TEAM CANADA, HIGHLY RANKED CANADIAN FORWARD

At the Ivan Hlinka Memorial Tournament last summer Hayton had three goals and three assists in five games. Only Joe Veleno, another draft eligible centre, scored more for Canada.

On NHL Central Scouting’s midterm draft rankings, Hayton was the highest-ranked Canadian forward. In the final rankings, Hayton dropped down below Veleno as the second-best Canadian forward, projected to be the ninth-best North American skater in this draft.

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