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The Avalanche discussed trading up or down from the 25th pick in the first round of the NHL draft Tuesday, according to general manager Joe Sakic. But the chance to select defenseman Justin Barron prevented that and Colorado kept its 25th selection to pick the 18-year-old from Halifax, Nova Scotia.

From the same hometown as Avs superstar Nathan MacKinnon, Barron plays for the Halifax Mooseheads of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League. At 6-foot-2, 195 pounds he is considered an elite two-way defenseman who is bound to begin his fourth full campaign for Halifax next season, which is tentatively scheduled to begin Dec. 1.

Barron was limited to just 34 games last season because of a blood clot in his arm, but he still led all Mooseheads defensemen in scoring with 19 points (four goals). The Avs have now made a defenseman their first pick in three of the last four drafts. They chose Cale Makar No. 4 in 2017 and Bo Byram No. 4 in 2019.

“At our pick, he was our top player on the board,” Avalanche general manager Joe Sakic said of Barron, who is ranked 16th by Central Scouting among draft-eligible North American skaters. “We’re looking — not necessarily position-wise — but the best-available player and it just happens to be a D-man. As you know, you can never have enough good, young defensemen. He’s a bigger guy. He skates real well, moves the puck. May not be the highest point-producer but plays a really, really solid two-way game and he’s going to really complement our D.”

About moving down from 25th pick to possibly obtain a second-round pick they don’t have, Sakic said: “There were conversations — a lot about moving up, and a few moving back, as well. But once we got to our pick and Justin was available, we didn’t want to move back. You have those conversations all the time.”

Regarding Barron’s blood-clot problem, Sakic said: “He had a procedure and a clean bill of health from the doctors. No issue there. Same sort of stuff that a couple other players in the National Hockey League have had, and no problem after the procedure. So we’re very confident at that.”

Barron was named to the QMJHL all-rookie team in 2017-18 and played in 68 games for the Mooseheads in 2018-19, producing 41 points (nine goals).

Central Scouting’s report on Barron: “Good size with excellent skating skills. Strong forward and backward strides. Solid puck retrievals. Moves the puck well while finding the right options under pressure. Great mobility with good gap control. Pivots and angles opponents well. Plays a physical game.”

On a Zoom call, Barron said: “It’s really special” to be selected by the Avs in the first round. “Sometimes the Maritimes have been overlooked for hockey and prospects but I think in the past few years we’ve really shown that we have a ton of great players from around here. The hockey down here is really on the come-up and it’s only getting better. It was a long night sitting there but it was all worth it. I couldn’t be happier to be a part of the Avalanche organization.”

Footnote. Moments before the first pick was announced, NHL commissioner Gary Bettman said the league is “focused” on a Jan. 1 start for next season. The league previously had Dec. 1 as the tentative start. … Rounds 2-7 of the draft begins at 9:30 a.m. Wednesday. The Avs do not have a second-round pick.

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