2022-23 Team: Owen Sound Attack (OHL)
Date of Birth: Feb 14, 2005
Place of Birth: Orillia, ON, Canada
Ht: 6-foot-1 Wt: 187 pounds
NHL Draft Eligibility: 2023 first-year eligible
- NHL Central Scouting: 10th (among NA skaters)
- Future Considerations: 16th
- Elite Prospects: 20th
- Peter Baracchini’s January Rankings: 12th
- Logan Horn’s January Rankings: 8th
- SMAHT Scouting: Honorable Mention
- Bob McKenzie’s Rankings: 8th
- Dobber Prospects Mid- Season Rankings: 38th
- Recruit Scouting: 11th
What if I told you there was a draft-eligible prospect who’s on the verge of scoring 50 goals this season, but isn’t getting nearly enough attention because of the likes of Connor Bedard, Adam Fantilli and others? You’d be interested, right? What if then I told you that this 17-year old is already a captain in major junior? Now you’re impressed. Now what if I told you that he has the respect of everyone in the locker room for the way he plays and leads on and off the ice? Because this is what you get with Owen Sound captain Colby Barlow.
Barlow has put together a very impressive 2022-23 season. His 46 goals accounts for almost 20% of the Attack’s goals. He’s shown more of a playmaking ability by almost doubling his assist total from his rookie season. This is all coming off a win at the Hlinka/Gretzky tournament. As one of the most prolific goal scorers in this world at his age, you would think there’d be more buzz around him at this stage.
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However some in the industry have their doubts about what Barlow’s true upside is. Quite honestly, I do not get the hesitation. While he certainly has areas of his game he needs to round out, his ability to finish is among the best in the draft. Being on the verge of 50 in your draft year is no accident.
This shows Barlow’s ability to find open space for himself and his teammates. It also shows he can finish from a variety of areas on the ice. While many of his goals come from near the net-front, he can beat goalies clean from distance when given the chance.
What makes Barlow stand out for me is his willingness to play defense. He says that playing defense is his first priority over scoring. That’s saying something for a 46-goal scorer. But he backs up his words with his play.
Related: 2023 NHL Draft Guide
The first thing I notice about Barlow is his commitment to forcing turnovers. He has no issue pressuring his man into a mistake. He doesn’t cheat up the ice. But once his team has possession, he can turn up ice and create dangerous opportunities quickly. Then when the situation calls for it, he is not afraid to sacrifice his body to block a shot. In a 5-1 win for his team early in the season, he stepped in front of a shot that went off his ankle that clearly hobbled him. The willingness to make that play even with the game decided showed me how committed he is to his own end.
Whoever drafts Barlow is getting the ultimate competitor who will help his team in all aspects of the game. There’s a reason why he is so respected at this point in his career. He takes killing penalties as seriously as he does finishing goals. He leads by example with his actions. That’s why some believe he’s a top-10 prospect in this loaded draft. There aren’t many who play like him at both ends of the ice. Should he fall too far, he could become one of the steals of this draft.
Other THW Draft Profiles
Colby Barlow- NHL Draft Projection
Most of the industry has Barlow safely in the first round with some having him inside the top-10. Those that are not sold on him cite some of his skating mechanics along with needed improvements with the puck on his stick. We suspect he’ll break into the top-20 and could surprise by getting into the top-10. His finishing ability will get someone’s attention early on.
“Barlow should find quite a bit of success at the NHL level and can be an effective top six goal scorer at the next level. If he can unlock that power stride, it will only lead to more points at 5v5 in the NHL. The NHL is all about speed and timing. With improved speed and if paired with top six distributors, he could put up 40+ point seasons at the next level and play a Tyler Toffoli-like role. ” –Josh Tessler, Smaht Scouting
“The reality is, Barlow has a very safe projection as a complementary piece on a scoring line who can be on the ice to protect a lead or when a goal is needed. Goal scorers who play both ends effectively are rare. These types typically transition to the NHL very well.”–Brock Otten, McKeen’s Hockey
Latest News & Highlights
“I think Barlow has top-15 potential, right now I would be comfortable taking him anywhere between 10-15 in the first round. His ceiling is a top-six scoring forward and he can play in all situations given his play style. Even then, I think his floor is a middle-six forechecking guy who can score occasionally and find a way to carve out a role on special teams.”–Austin Broad, Future Considerations
“Continues to forge forward with point production, but his game also continues to improve in all areas. ”–Sam Cosentino, Sportsnet
“Barlow was a scoring machine with the Attack last year, potting 30 goals and 47 points as a rookie and another five goals in seven playoff games. Barlow’s wrist shot can be devastating, and his defensive game looked improved during the Hlinka Gretzky Cup. Rounding out his game will be a big task this season, but there’s a lot to like early on.” –Steven Ellis, Daily Faceoff
- Elite shot
- Strong leader
- Ultra competitive
- Good stickwork
- Improved speed
Under Construction- Improvements to Make
- Can use physicality more
Barlow projects as a top-six winger who can play in all situations whether his team needs a goal or needs to prevent a goal. He plays the kind of game that can drag teammates into the fight. Assuming continued development, 30+ goals in a season is not out of the question based on his finishing ability alone.
Risk- Reward Analysis
Risk- 2/5, Reward 5/5
Fantasy Hockey Potential
Offense- 9/10, Defense 8/10
Barlow was named to the OHL’s First All-Rookie Team in 2021-22. He guided Team Canada to a gold medal at the 2022-23 Gretzky/Hlinka Tournament. He also competed as one of the captains at the CHL/NHL Top Prospect’s Game.
- The Hockey Writers: 4 Good Minutes With Top Prospect Colby Barlow
- Sportsnet: It’s Always an Honor to Put on the Leaf