A New York Rangers’ sixth-round pick is making waves in the Division I hockey world. Is Morgan Barron already the real deal?
Boy, it sure seems the New York Rangers have done something right when it comes to scouting in the later rounds. Players like Pavel Buchnevich, Henrik Lundqvist, and Jesper Fast were all unheralded draftees, yet all have made significant impacts at the NHL level.
For now, it appears the scouting staff might have another future gem on their hands in the form of sixth-round pick Morgan Barron out of Halifax, Nova Scotia.
During his draft year, Morgan Barron was playing for St. Andrew’s College, an all-boys prep school, if you will, for high schoolers. The school has produced only two names that have gone on to play for the NHL so not quite a hotbed of hockey prospects thus far. However, in today’s day and age, parents and children have grasped the need and importance of education. For Barron, this was likely the choice that was made over, say something like, the OHL or Quebec Major Junior league, hence why he has made his way to an Ivy League school in Cornell University.
Through ten games at Cornell, Barron is near a point per game pace with 9 points in 10 games. Those are impressive numbers for anyone playing Division I College Hockey, and even more so for an 18-year-old. For those who may not know, it is very common for Division I recruits to play 2-3 extra years of junior hockey after high school, and they arrive on campuses as 20-year-old freshmen.
Cornell plays no cakewalk of a schedule either, defeating traditional powerhouses Boston University, Princeton, and Harvard already this season. It’s most certainly easy to get overly excited about his start and what his potential NHL future may hold, but for comparison’s sake lets take a look at some other notable college hockey players and what their stats looked like through 10 games of College Hockey as 18 year olds.
- Jack Eichel (1st Round, 2nd Overall) 10 GP, 7 Goals, 12 Assists, 19 Points
- Jimmy Vesey (3rd Round, 66th Overall) 10 GP, 5 Goals, 3 Assists, 8 Points (Vesey was also a year older at season’s start)
- Kevin Hayes (1st Round, 24th Overall) 10 GP, 2 Goals, 4 Assists, 6 Points
- Chris Kreider (1st Round, 19th Overall) 10 GP, 1 Goal, 4 Assists, 5 Points
So, yes a lot can happen between now and four years of college (Hayes was listed as three inches shorter his freshman year) and he’s clearly not going to be the next Jack Eichel. However, it’s certainly an encouraging start to this prospect’s career and this is someone who Ranger fans need to keep an eye on as the years go on.
Again, I’m not suggesting the Rangers have a future McDavid on their hands and I’m not one to get caught up in “stats” all the time. But one can’t help but be encouraged by this.
Check out some more information on Barron below.
.@CUBigRedHockey WINS IT! Cornell scores in the final seconds to defeat Harvard, 3-2! #ILN #LGR pic.twitter.com/RhZzDE1hkd
— Cornell On ILN (@CornellOnILN) November 12, 2017
Here’s a clip of Barron collecting the primary assist on the game-winning goal against Harvard. Obviously, the coach also is very high on this kid, having him out there with only seconds left in a tie game with the then No. 5 team in the nation.
It's the first Freshman Friday, which is a men's hockey Q-and-A feature. First up: Morgan Barron. https://t.co/5OiqfNECKJ
— Cornell Big Red (@CornellSports) October 20, 2017
In a recent Q&A interview with Cornell, he talks about his decision to stay at St. Andrew’s over going to Juniors or elsewhere while providing some interesting tidbits on Rangers training camp.
Leading NHL Drafted @collegehockey Frosh:
T-1: Casey Mittelstadt, MN (BUF) .92 points per game
T-1: Ian Mitchell, DU (CHI) .92 PPG
T-3: Max Gildon, UNH (FLA) .91 PPG
T-3: Benton Maass, UNH (WSH) .91 PPG
5: Morgan Barron, Cornell (NYR) .88 PPG
6: Grant Mismash, UND (NSH) .85 PPG
— Nate Wells (@gopherstate) November 19, 2017
Barron is listed at 6-foot-3 and 210 pounds and appears to have the size to compete in the NHL already. There’s definitely room to add more weight to the frame as well. He plays a sturdy North-South hockey game as a power forward. He may not have the game-breaking speed of Chris Kreider, but he also appears smarter and more willing to use his frame and size to his advantage. He is also blessed with a very good shot and release.
The physical tools are definitely there, and one can assume that if he’s at Cornell, then he has the mind for the game. However, don’t hold your breath, Rangers fans; this one could be a four-year college player (like Boo Nieves) whose long-term goal of a degree may keep him out of a Blueshirt for some time.
A solid NHL comparable may be someone like Micheal Ferland of the Calgary Flames: Someone who slots into the middle six forward group and is good for 20-25 goals a year and maybe 15-20 assists.
It may take some time for Barron to make it to the Rangers but from what we’re seeing, he’ll be well worth it. Keep on eye on this stud during his time at Cornell.