Bryce McConnell-Barker – 2022 NHL Draft Prospect Profile

Bryce McConnell-Barker

2021-22 Team: Soo Greyhounds (OHL)
Date of Birth: June 4, 2004
Place of Birth: London, ON, CAN
Ht: 6-foot-1 Wt: 187 pounds
Shoots: L
Position: C
NHL Draft Eligibility: 2022 first-year eligible

Rankings

Coming into his draft season, Bryce McConnell-Barker was a name to keep an eye on as he is a reliable, two-way centre with a scoring touch. For most of the season, there were times where you were left wanting more. He may have needed some time to adjust after missing a full season, but McConnell-Barker’s play is becoming more noticeable.

Related: THW 2022 NHL Draft Guide

McConnell-Barker might be overlooked compared to other names, but his play as of late should start to gain some traction as the consistency is starting to show. He sits in the top-10 in Ontario Hockey League rookie scoring with 46 points and is seventh with 22 goals. Among players in their draft year, he’s 10th with a 0.59 primary points per game and seventh with a 0.48 even strength primary points per game. To put up this kind of production as a rookie is still impressive as the skillset is there where he may breakout and the offensive numbers should improve.

Not to mention, he was further down the lineup as the Greyhounds are already deep at centre with Calgary Flames 2020 sixth-round pick Rory Kerins and St. Louis Blues prospect Tanner Dickinson. Due to an injury that Dickinson sustained, McConnell-Barker was able to get some more minutes to try and increase his draft stock. (from ‘Making the grade: McConnell-Barker on NHL Draft Prospects list’, The Sudbury Star – 3/2/22).

McConnell-Barker possesses a lot of upside as a prospect much in part to his work ethic, competitive nature, shot and speed. Even though he may not get as much attention, that combination makes him a real force when he’s on the ice. He has great IQ and awareness that a centreman should possess. He tends to keeps things safe, but that’s never a bad thing as he’s always responsible with his decision making. He has great speed and a smooth stride, as he’s always in motion evading his opponents. This allows him to lead an attack or help on the backcheck and act as a third defender to pressure puck carriers to make a mistake. 

Bryce McConnell-Barker Sault Ste Marie Greyhounds
Bryce McConnell-Barker, Sault Ste Marie Greyhounds (Photo by Terry Wilson / OHL Images)

McConnell-Barker has the presence and mindset of where he needs to be as he has great positioning with and without the puck. He does a great job at protecting and maintaining control of the puck with his size and is very effective when getting to the inside and separating opponents from the puck to regain possession. He has an active stick in order to break up plays, is always persistent when pursuing the puck and gets into the lanes extremely well.

Although the numbers are average, McConnell-Barker can be a dangerous player offensively. His combination of his hands and speed makes him a real threat in transition. Package that with his quick and accurate wrist shot and you have a dangerous player that can burn you from a long distance. He likes to attack with force in order to draw in defenders, forcing them out of position and making a quick move to get around them. Even when faced with pressure he doesn’t panic and always tends to find the open ice for a quality scoring chance.

McConnell-Barker is also very effective at utilizing the opposing player as a screen upon release and uses that to his advantage when wiring it on net, as well as patience to find the open ice. He has great awareness in order to open himself up and go unnoticed for a quick one-time opportunity or working a quick give and go and driving to the net. If he’s able to improve on his already decent offensive output, he could do some more damage.

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Bryce McConnell-Barker – NHL Draft Projection

Coming into his draft season, McConnell-Barker was viewed as a potential late first round selection. With some inconsistent production wise and getting a tough gauge on OHL players, he’s still being viewed as a player that can be selected anywhere in the mid to late stages of the second round. With his ceiling and potential, he definitely could be a great selection in this range.

Quotables

“McConnell-Barker has a great low stance and is able to accelerate quickly using his crossovers. He makes great reads in the neutral zone and is able to cause turnovers with a quick stick. He also showed a willingness to drive into open lanes in the middle of the ice and to put the puck into high danger areas for his teammates. McConnell-Barker also did a good job moving around the offensive zone to find open space.”– Mat Sheridan FC Hockey

“While his physicality and battle level aren’t areas of concern like some other similarly-ranked OHL prospects, his inconsistent production and a lack of creativity in his offensive zone approach to get more looks in high-danger areas may limit his ultimate NHL upside as a two-way center.”– Joseph Aleong, FC Hockey 

“Bryce is a tall and lengthy centre that has a presence each and every me he is on the ice. He is a good skater with good overall quickness. He has good offensive skills and instincts that he used to generate a lot of his team’s offense this past season. He is always moving and putting pressure on the puck, and is a tireless worker both with and without the puck. He has all the attributes to be a very good player moving forward.”– Soo Greyhounds, OHL Priority Selection Guide 

Strengths 

  • Quick shot and release
  • Work Ethic and compete level
  • Effective two-way game
  • Hockey IQ
  • Speed and agility

Under Construction- Improvements to Make

  • Work on offensive consistency
  • Can be over aggressive at times

NHL Potential

Although his play wasn’t as strong to start the season, McConnell-Barker has been slowly improving as the season went on. If he continues this upward trend with his development, he does have the makings to be a solid middle-six, two-way centreman with a strong scoring touch. His shot makes him lethal in transition and on the power play for prime scoring opportunities. It may take time to see if he gets to that point, but the promise and potential remains.

Risk- Reward Analysis

Risk- 3/5, Reward 3.5/5

Fantasy Hockey Potential

Offense- 6/10, Defense 7/10

Awards/ Achievements

McConnell-Barker was selected fourth overall by the Greyhounds in the 2020 OHL Priority Selection Draft. Before making the jump to the OHL, he won the ALLIANCE Hockey Player of the Year in 2020, previously won by Nick Suzuki (Montreal Canadiens), Travis Konecny (Philadelphia Flyers) and Bo Horvat (Vancouver Canucks).

Bryce McConnell-Barker Statistics

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