Barrett Hayton did not hesitate a single second when asked who is the NHL player that inspires him the most in his development. The attacker of the Soo Greyhounds from Sault-Ste-Marie only has one name in mind : is Patrice Bergeron.
The center player has emerged this season as a hope of the first round managing to play an important role in a team full of veteran experience. Despite the presence of Morgan Frost and Boris Katchouk as well as the arrival of Taylor Raddysh at the trade deadline from the League of Ontario, Hayton is able to maintain an average of about a point per game (60 of 63).
In the absence of Katchouk during the Holiday season, this latest entrant in the camp of ÉCJ, and then to the World junior, Hayton has been used in the wing of the Frost and was harvested ten points in eight games.
But this is not necessarily for his exploits offensive that it is well rated in view of the repechage of 2018. In fact, not just because of that. “I feel a lot of pride to play well in all situations, to be a player, a complete and versatile “, says he.
A bit like Patrice Bergeron, what.
Moreover, canadian players will not be legion to hear their name be pronounced at the beginning of the first round of the NHL draft, the 22 June next year in Dallas. In fact, the possibility that no talent born and developed in Canada to be selected in the top 5 this year is very real. It would be a first since 1999.
It does not necessarily mean that this will be a bad year for Canada in the amount of chosen players, but the talents are considered elite don’t come in as large numbers as in years past.
For the moment, three european players seem to be safe values to be part of the first five players selected : the defender Rasmus Dahlin and forwards Filip Zadina and Andrei Svechnikov. Subsequently, the American Quinn Hughes, Brady Tkachuk and Oliver Wahlstrom, as well as the Swedish Adam Boqvist seem, at the present time, to be part of the players likely to be in the discussion for the top 5. Just as the defenders of canadian Noah Dobson for the Titan of Acadie-Bathurst and Evan Bouchard of the Knights of London.
One day at a time
If the two best hopes of Canada, according to several experts, are defenders, it is difficult to identify the first attacker canada to hear its name in June. Taking for granted that Hayton is part of the lot, the centre player Joe Veleno, who had an excellent end of season with the Voltigeurs of Drummondville, or Ryan McLeod, a pivot moving to the Steelheads in Mississauga with his brother Michael, a former first selection of the New Jersey Devils, are also part of the conversation.
For Hayton, however, no question of projecting into the future too quickly. For the moment, the Soo Greyhounds, the best team in the country, are in full playoffs.
“At the moment, I’m focusing on my season. The draft is always backward-thinking, it is obvious, but I’m taking one day at a time. “