Welcome back to Top Shelf Prospects, the daily column that brings you the next crop of professional hockey players. Each day I will bring you a new player profile or topical article in the lead-up to the 2022 NHL Draft. Be sure to bookmark the site, follow me on Twitter, and spread the word for the site that will bring you analytical and critical profiles and scouting reports! Last Word On Hockey Prospects is your new headquarters for everything “NHL Draft”! We have a complete listing of our draft articles here. Today we bring you our Bryce McConnell-Barker Scouting Report.
Drafted fourth overall in the 2020 OHL Draft, McConnell-Barker saw what was supposed to be his rookie season in the league completely cancelled by the COVID Pandemic. Making up for his lost time, McConnell-Barker had a big rookie/draft season for the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds. He scored 23 goals and 26 assists for 49 points in 68 regular-season games. McConnell-Barker also added one goal and four assists for five points in 10 OHL Playoff games. He helped the Greyhounds to a five-game victory over the Guelph Storm in the first round. Unfortunately, the team suffered a five-game loss to the Flint Firebirds in the second round of the playoffs. McConnell-Barker also played for Team White at the CHL Top Prospects Game, contributing in a 3-1 victory.
McConnell-Barker played his minor hockey in London for the Junior Knights. His older brother, Blake McConnell-Barker played Tier II hockey in the GOJHL. His younger brother, Brodie McConnell-Barker is a defenceman who was recently selected by the Greyhounds in the third round of the 2022 OHL Draft. Their cousin, Cole Bishop, was also taken in the 2022 OHL Draft. He was selected in the sixth round by the Niagara Ice Dogs.
Bryce McConnell-Barker Scouting Report
Centre — shoots Left
Born June 4th, 2004 — London, Ontario
Height 6’1.25″ — Weight 193 lbs [185 cm/88 kg]
McConnell-Barker is a good but not great skater. He has a decent first step and good acceleration. His top-end speed is also above average. If McConnell-Barker is able to get a step on a defender, he can accelerate and create space. He also has the ability to go wide and drop his shoulder, cutting to the net. His ability to get around the ice allows him to get back quickly on the backcheck and play a 200-foot game. McConnell-Barker also has good edge work and agility. His cross-overs help him to add speed and power coming out of his turns. He also has good lateral agility allowing him to weave in and out of traffic.
McConnell-Barker has the power and balance to fight through checks. He also does a good job of winning battles on the boards and in front of the net. This should only improve as he gets stronger.
McConnell-Barker is able to score goals thanks to a strong and accurate wrist shot. He also gets it off with a quick release. He is able to score both off the rush, and by setting up in the slot and taking a pass from his teammates and firing a shot on the net. McConnell-Barker is more than willing to play in the gritty areas of the ice. He gets in quickly on the forecheck and creates turnovers by pressuring opposing defenders. McConnell-Barker is willing to get to the front of the net and take punishment to create scoring chances. He is also good at winning battles on the boards and retrieving loose pucks.
McConnell-Barker plays a very straightforward offensive game. He takes the smart, simple pass and then looks for the give-and-go. He is not the type to dangle a defender or make a creative cross-ice pass through multiple sticks. Instead, he looks to maintain possession in the offensive zone through cycling the puck down low and waiting for an opportunity to get it to the net. He uses his size and stickhandling to protect the puck and keep the cycle game going. McConnell-Barker is good at carrying the puck through the neutral zone and finds the right lane to gain possession in the offensive zone.
McConnell-Barker is a strong defensive player for his age. He stays as the third-man high in the offensive zone and does not get caught deep. This allows him to get back quickly on the back check and help the defence with strong back pressure. He also brings his strong work ethic to supporting the defence down low, winning battles on the boards and containing opponents on the cycle. McConnell-Barker has good awareness and positioning. He uses his stick to cut down passing lanes as well as being willing to use his body to block shots. When a turnover is created, McConnell-Barker is quick to move the puck in transition. He can carry the puck out of danger as well as make a good first pass. McConnell-Barker is also strong in the face-off circle.
Projection and Comparison
McConnell-Barker could develop into a solid middle-six centre if he reaches his potential. With his size, skating, and defensive game, he could be used in all situations and play against the best players on the opposing team. He needs some more time in junior, continuing to improve his offensive game. It would be nice to see him be more consistent in terms of his production. Born in June, McConnell-Barker is a relatively young player in this draft, and there is still some development to do. He should spend another two years in the OHL before hitting the AHL, and then working his way to the NHL. His game is reminiscent of Anthony Cirelli. This is a stylistic comparison only though, and is not based on skill and ability.
The following is a compilation of some of the highlight packages and features of Bryce McConnell-Barker that are available on youtube and Twitter.
The London-born centreman spoke to @Kyle_nw about how he worked hard in the gym with his brothers to prepare for the next level.
— DobberProspects (@DobberProspects) March 11, 2022
SAVARD on the Power Play!
3 – 0 Hounds!
🍏#29 Kudryavtsev pic.twitter.com/y0iaoS6g11
— Soo Greyhounds (@OHLHoundPower) May 10, 2022
Kartye puts us on the board first!
1 – 0 Hounds
🍎#18 McConnell-Barker pic.twitter.com/9tABoGoMpM
— Soo Greyhounds (@OHLHoundPower) April 30, 2022
Kartye with his SECOND of the NIGHT!
2 – 0 Hounds lead
🍎#18 McConnell-Barker pic.twitter.com/pAplGd4khD
— Soo Greyhounds (@OHLHoundPower) April 30, 2022
NEW ON 519 – London's Bryce McConnell-Barker is hard at work gearing up for training camp with @OHLHoundPower Check out the FULL story on 519's YouTube channel brought to you by Power Blades Skating Development. #LocalSports @LJK_hockey @ALLIANCE_Hockey https://t.co/dhzi6CRj4r pic.twitter.com/pxEHf0fAp8
— 519 Sports Online (@519sportsonline) November 19, 2020
The release from McConnell-Barker 👀 #NHLDraft 📈
— Canadian Hockey League (@CHLHockey) March 10, 2022
Check back later for our next NHL Draft article.
Bryce McConnell-Barker Scouting Report Main Photo:
The future of hockey lives here!
Catch 2022 #NHLDraft prospects Danny Zhilkin & Bryce McConnell-Barker as the @Storm_City faces @OHLHoundPower, Friday at 7:30pm et on TSN3, the #TSN App & TSN Direct: https://t.co/LireDcbFaW#TSNHockey @CHLHockey | @OHLHockey @TheWHL | @QMJHL pic.twitter.com/3ZOfVnRdQw
— TSN Hockey (@TSNHockey) January 20, 2022