2017-18 Team: Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds (#27)
Date of Birth: June 9, 2000
Place of Birth: Kitchener, ON
Ht: 6’1” Wt: 185 lbs
NHL Draft Eligibility: 2018 first-year eligible
- NHL Central Scouting Final: 9th (North American)
- Future Considerations: 11th
- hockeyprospect.com: 27th
- ISS Hockey: 12th
- McKeen’s Hockey: 13th
The Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds enjoyed a magical regular season. Imagine a team losing just SEVEN times in regulation over a 68-game season. Imagine a team winning so much that they almost broke the OHL record for most consecutive wins. The Greyhounds accomplished both of those tasks.
While most of the attention went to established prospects Boris Katchouk, Morgan Frost and eventually Taylor Raddysh after being traded from Erie, the Greyhounds had a draft eligible prospect that was arguably one of their most important players throughout the season. He played the role of 2C beautifully while contributing at both ends of the ice. He could be the best overall available center in this draft. Meet Barrett Hayton.
Hayton’s season started as well as it could possibly start. He was part of the Team Canada team that won a gold at the Ivan Hlinka. Then he enjoyed a monster OHL season. Mind you, he played second line minutes virtually the entire season. He scored 21-39-60 in 63 games and added 8-13-21 in 24 playoff games. So not only was he almost a point per game on line two, he saved his best for later in the playoffs. When the games got tougher, Hayton shined. Whether it was a big goal or an excellent penalty kill, Hayton did things to keep his team in games.
So what do we have in Hayton? We have someone who does a lot of things well. He can score with an excellent shot. He’s a good passer. He has some of the best hands in this draft. He can kill penalties and isn’t afraid to forecheck the heck out of you. He’s relentless on defense. Although his overall skills aren’t elite, they’re very good.
Two things stand out for me about Hayton in terms of questions. His overall skating is fine. He does need to improve in his first 2-3 steps especially against competition at the next level. Once he’s on a roll, he’s good. The other thing I want to see is how he does against the opposition’s best. Frost, Katchouk and Raddysh got the opposition’s best every night and Hayton took full advantage. He’s the star of the show next season. How will he fare in that role? The expectation is that he’ll dominate but let’s see how he handles the extra attention.
Other THW Draft Profiles:
Barrett Hayton – NHL Draft Projection
Almost every major outlet lists Hayton as a first-round pick. Where there is a little variance is exactly where in the first round he’ll go. Those that have him in the lottery believe he’s the best center available. Those that have him at the back of the first believe his upside is that of a 2-3 center. I’ve had him in the mid 20’s most of the season, but his performance in the OHL Playoffs moved the needle for me some. He does crack my top-20 now at number 19.
“Slick, two-way center who can beat you in a variety of ways. Whether you view Hayton as the beneficiary of a deep supporting cast, or a key cog in Sault Ste Marie’s attack, the truth is he very much is a very skilled, heady player. He has excellent vision and makes most defenders miss when he’s controlling the puck below the circles. Hayton’s a strong skater with excellent balance. He won’t blow past defenders immediately after his first or second step, but his straight-line speed when combined with the likelihood of a sudden change in direction keeps opponents guessing. Hayton is both shifty and crafty with the puck, plus he’s capable of making high-percentage plays on his backhand. He knows how to finish around the goal, but he’s also shown to favor his lethal wrist shot from anywhere near the circles. Again, this kid is very hard to prepare for — both before a game and right when he hops over the boards. He can be a relentless forechecker, especially on the penalty kill, and he will use his body effectively to protect the puck. He has top-line upside and should be expected to dominate the OHL next season when his role is expanded.” –Steve Kournianos/The Draft Analyst
“Hayton is having a strong draft year and is a draft ranking riser. After a quick start with Canada at the Ivan Hlinka posting six points in five games, he has exploded offensively on the powerhouse Greyhounds playing primarily on a line with star power the like of Morgan Frost, Boris Katchouk, and Taylor Raddysh. Hayton is producing around a point per game offensive production and his game may lack some of the flashy offensive aspects that garner a lot of attention, he certainly possesses plenty of skill. Hayton is drawing comparisons to Patrice Bergeron in that he plays a smart game and is reliable on both sides of the puck. The Hounds deploy him on their first unit penalty kill, and his 17 powerplay points are a testament to his deployment on the man advantage as well. Skating has improved since his rookie year and he really has no holes in his game, Hayton has good size, hands, smarts and skill. He may lack any elite level attributes, but he is above average across the board and projects as a surefire NHL player with top six upside and a fantasy relevant floor.” –Peter Harling/Dobber Prospects
“Hayton does not lack in the hockey sense department, which means he can play any role and lineup with and against anyone. At 6’1”, he has some size and plays heavy on the puck with a relentless work ethic and forecheck. His vision is very good which allows him to make plays, and when he’s on the receiving end, as mentioned, his shot makes him a threat to score. He has a willingness to drive the net with or without the puck.” –Dominic Tiano/OHL Writers
- Effective two-way center
- Hard, accurate shot
- Excellent hands
- Skating, change of directions
Under Construction (Improvements to Make)
- Skating, initial acceleration
- Consistent play against the opponent’s best
- Still somewhat new to playing center
Hayton’s upside is a Patrice Bergeron type who can excel at both ends of the ice especially defensively. This is high praise for someone who played the season behind Morgan Frost on the depth chart. He’s at worst a 3C at the next level which makes his floor higher than most. At this point, I see him as a solid 2C with upside. He used the playoffs to show us the big stage isn’t too big for him as he was arguably one of the Greyhounds’ MVP’s. That’s an important aspect to have for later in his career.
Risk – 3/5, Reward – 4.5/5
Fantasy Hockey Potential
Offence – 8/10, Defence – 8/10
Hayton has been a champion of some kind in parts of his last four seasons. He won a gold medal at the Ivan Hlinka this past season. He won a championship in his respective league in 2014-15 and 2015-16.
- Hayton Using Smart Approach – nhl.com
- Hayton Named OHL Scholastic Player of the Year – Peterborough Examiner
I am a fully credentialed writer who covers the Columbus Blue Jackets, Cleveland Monsters and Erie Otters as well as the Ontario Hockey League and NHL Draft. The 2021-22 season will mark eight seasons with the Hockey Writers. I am also the site’s Credentials Manager.