With the Carolina Hurricanes and Montreal Canadiens leapfrogging the Arizona Coyotes at the Draft Lottery, Arizona had the fifth overall pick. Arizona used that pick and drafted center Barrett Hayton from the the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds in the OHL. The pick would prove to be a controversial one, and we will be going into greater detail about the pick in a future post. But for now we are going to ignore that and focus on Hayton’s season.
Regular Season Games Played: 39
Playoff Games Played: 11
Playoff Goals: 6
Playoff Assists: 10
Hayton would start the season with the Coyotes, but the team would ultimately reassign him to the OHL before he played his first NHL game. The team apparently felt it important for him to spend more time with the training staff, and it was clearly beneficial. This past season was his best offensive season to date, and despite playing in 24 fewer games then he did his previous two seasons he had a career high in both goals and assists.
With the Greyhounds Hayton found success as a leader, captaining the team to the post season and proving to be a difference maker. He would miss time with injuries, where his absence was apparently very noticeable, and would be a big part of the Greyhounds offense. He would finish the season ranked ninth in the OHL in points per game and eighth in game winning goals.
The Greyhounds would make it to the second round of the OHL playoffs before ultimately being eliminated by the Owen Sound Attack. Hayton’s six goals and ten assists is behind only Morgan Frost in playoff points for the Greyhounds.
Barrett Hayton seems to be a key piece for the Arizona Coyotes moving forward, and its hard to imagine him having a better first season after being drafted. The biggest knocks against Hayton before being drafted was his lack of offense, but if this past season has gone a long way to alleviate those concerns. Whether or not he has advanced enough to play in the NHL next season remains to be seen, but management has to be happy with the progress he has made.