A physically mature goal-scoring winger with a lethal one-timer and elite shooting ability. Lacks playmaking skills and needs to work on off-puck positioning to avoid becoming a one-dimensional goal scorer. Proper development could turn one of the best pure shooters of the 2023 NHL Entry Draft into a high-floor/high-ceiling top-6 elite goal-scoring power forward with PP1 and PK usage.
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December 2023 – Barlow has been out since November 8 with an undisclosed injury, thus missing an opportunity to represent Canada at the 2024 World Junior Hockey Championship. In 14 games with the Owen Sound Attack, he scored nine goals and five assists. Mark Henry
September 2023 – Barlow signed a three-year, entry-level contract with an AAV of $1,200,000 with the Winnipeg Jets on September 21, 2023. The 2023 first-round pick (18th overall) attended the Winnipeg Jets’ annual development camp from July 4-8, 2023, before making his Jets debut at the 2023 Young Stars Classic in Penticton, B.C., September 15-18, 2023. Barlow is participating in his first NHL training camp with Winnipeg in preparation for the 2023-24 season. Mark Henry
June 2023 – Barlow has been selected 18th overall by the Winnipeg Jets in the 2023 NHL Draft. Curtis Rines
April 2023 – Barlow was a scoring machine this season as he put up 46 goals and added 33 assists in 59 games. Had he not missed a handful of games, he easily would have reached the 50-goal mark and been the eighth player this century to do so in their draft season. Barlow has great size, is very physically mature for his age, and will probably continue to add weight over the next few years. His season stat line really does confirm what we see on tape with Barlow. He is a shooter and is at his best away from the puck getting in position to finish the play. He can rip the puck and score from range and will crash the net to score dirty goals as well. Barlow’s game lacks vision and a playmaking element. He’s not an effective distributor of the puck and prefers to finish plays than to start or connect them. Barlow’s simple, but effective, game should translate well to the NHL, but more in a middle-6 capacity. Unfortunately, if he doesn’t add more creative elements to his game, he may struggle to become a point-producing top-line player since he’s unlikely to get many assists at the next level. Jordan Harris
September 2022 – 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 he’s my early bet for “guy who gets drafted quite a bit earlier than most public boards have him ranked.” This isn’t to say that Barlow shouldn’t be a high draft pick, he most definitely should be, but he lacks the pure skill and upside of the players we have ranked in our preliminary top-10. Despite this, Barlow has genuine 30-goal NHL upside with the right development. His shot is absurd. The mechanics aren’t the most refined, but the power he generates on his wrist and snap shots 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 an impressive speed with some runway. His skating mechanics are upright and inefficient, which impacts his acceleration, but his power allows him to hit a high tempo regardless. Defensively, Barlow flashes physical involvement but gets caught puck watching more than you’d like, and off-puck scanning appears to be a chore that he constantly needs to remind himself to do. 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. Sebastian High