Left Wing/Right Wing
Owen Sound Attack/OHL
Next: Oliver Moore
Colby Barlow made a massive impression on NHL scouts last season when he scored 30 goals as a rookie for the Owen Sound Attack of the OHL. Although his all-around game still needs to be refined, he has the overall skill set to be the next Mason McTavish, as he already has developed a reputation as a goal scorer at the OHL level but showed more layers to his game, including the ability to kill penalties as well. Barlow plays a direct, intentional game built around great hands, good overall speed, a pro frame, and an NHL shot. He’s also going to be an able penalty killer, which should give him an all-situations upside at the next level. With Canada at the Hlinka Gretzky Cup, Barlow showed that he had a devastating wrist shot and an improved defensive game, putting up 2 goals and 5 points in 5 games. So far this season, Colby has 20 goals and 37 points in 26 games and has been shooting up the draft boards lately, similar to Mason McTavish in 2021. Colby Barlow has the potential to be a big-time scorer at the NHL level, who features high-end shooting ability.
Physical Play Average
Offensive Play Great
Defensive Play Average
Hockey Sense Good
1. He’s a skilled goalscorer with raw power and an absolute cannon of a shot.
2. He picks up impressive speed and metamorphosizes into a freight train when he has a runway.
3. Has a Pro-ready frame, and he’s also going to be an able penalty killer with more refinement.
Areas of Improvement
1. His skating mechanics are upright and inefficient, which impacts his acceleration.
2. Gets caught puck-watching more than you’d like.
3. His Passing needs work if he wants to be a more effective player at the next level.
Colby Barlow was a unique player in the OHL last season, and the same will be true this season. He’s a skilled goalscorer with raw power and an absolute cannon of a shot. That alone will get NHL GMs salivating, and Barlow is my early bet for a “guy who gets drafted earlier than most public boards have him ranked.” It’s not that Barlow shouldn’t be a high pick, it’s that he lacks pure skill and upside the players we have ranked in our preliminary top-10. Despite this, Barlow is a genuine 30-goal NHL upside with the right development. His shot is absurd, and the power he generates on his wrist and snapshots in the blink of an eye is mind-boggling. Barlow doesn’t get into shooting positions by taking calculated off-puck routes and playing inside defenders’ blindspots like Calum Ritchie does but he powers his way to the high slot with or without the puck and unleashes his shot – a habit and ability which awarded him 30 goals in the OHL as a draft-1 player. Beyond the goalscoring and power, Barlow can achieve impressive speed with some runway, but his skating mechanics are upright and inefficient, which impacts his acceleration. If Barlow learns to pass the puck more regularly offensively, he will be a far more effective player as his extreme tendency to shoot (and failure to spot open teammates in high-danger areas) limits his effectiveness. Barlow’s tools are very impressive, but he needs quite a bit of development to round out his game beyond his scoring ability and power. The NHL Comparison for Colby Barlow is Mason McTavish, although he isn’t as big as McTavish, he does have a similar skillset and like McTavish could find his way in the top 10 if he has a fantastic season in the OHL. Barlow needs to continue to round out his game but has the potential to be a big-time scorer in the NHL.
Skill: Powerful goalscoring winger who features high-end shooting ability
NHL Comparable: Mason McTavish
NHL Potential: Top 6 Goal-Scoring Winger
|2021-22||Owen Sound Attack||OHL||59||30||47|
|2022-23||Canada U18||Hlinka Gretzky Cup||5||2||5|
|Owen Sound Attack||OHL||26||20||37|