Colby Barlow had a keen interest in eyeing the 2022 NHL draft.
That’s because he’ll be witnessing the process firsthand as one of the top forwards to qualify for the 2023 NHL Draft.
Barlow (6ft, 195lbs) had 47 points (30 goals, 17 assists) in 59 games for Owen Sound of the Ontario Hockey League last season. The right winger set an Owen Sound record for goals in a season by a 16-year-old, surpassing the 22 goals scored by Bobby Ryan (2003-04) and Daniel Sisca (1999-00) and was named to the OHL First All-Rookie -Team.
“You definitely look at it, you get goosebumps every time someone gets drafted and you’re like, ‘That could be you next year,'” Barlow said. “Getting drafted into the NHL is definitely my goal in life. So I play and put all the work into it. They’re definitely watching, not as a fan, but as… that’s where I want to be next year.”
Barlow, who turned 17 on February 14, is well on his way to making that hope a reality.
“He’s a left-footed winger who prefers to play down the wing and last season he showed his offensive advantages by setting a rookie goal record with Owen Sound,” said Dan Marr, the club’s central scouting director NHL. “He has good strength and skating drive to develop into an NHL power forward. He is very good at protecting the puck, winning battles and going into the net. He has the intelligence and tools to contribute offensively and is a strong two-way contender. His overall game continues to develop in the right direction.”
He will next demonstrate those skills for Canada at the 2022 Hlinka Gretzky Cup, an international under-18 tournament being played July 31-August 6 in Red Deer, Alberta. NHL Network will televise Canada’s preliminary round matches Group A, against Switzerland on Sunday (9pm ET), Slovakia on Tuesday (9pm ET) and Sweden on Wednesday (9pm ET). NHL Network will also broadcast the USA’s three Group B preliminary round games against Germany on Sunday (5:00 p.m. ET), Finland on Monday (5:00 p.m. ET) and Czech Republic on Wednesday (1:00 p.m. ET), as well as select other games and the medal round, which begins on Friday.
It will be an opening statement during a season where he will do his best for the NHL scouts.
“Skating is something I want to keep improving, but overall my whole game just has to keep getting better,” said Barlow, who says he modeled his game after the Toronto Maple Leafs forward Austin Matthews and Florida Panthers forward Matthew Tkachuk. “I can improve on that [defensive] Zone and make sure my shot percentage gets better. But skating is definitely a main focus for me.”
The Hlinka Gretzky Cup will give Barlow a first look where he will face off against many of the best prospects the 2023 draft has to offer.
The location and date for the 2023 draft will be announced at a later date.
“It’s a deep draft course,” he said. “There are so many good players. When you come to the camps for Hockey Canada and see them up close and personal, it’s insane how good this draft class is. I think I can count myself among the top players. Just keep working there and get better and keep working at it [becoming] a top prospect coming to the NHL draft later this year. I work for it. Deep draft, lots of great players.
“It will be interesting to see how it goes and how it pans out.”
Photos Courtesy: John Carrick; Alison Kennedy Davies
Listen: New episode of the NHL draft class