This offseason, the Ottawa 67s made some pretty significant changes. They hired James Boyd away from the Mississauga Steelheads and installed him as their new General Manager. They also named André Tourigny as the team’s new head coach. Tourigny will be familiar to Colorado Avalanche fans as he spent two seasons with the Avs serving as an assistant to Patrick Roy.
After finishing eight games below .500 last season, it’s a fresh start for an organization that has been in limbo for the past few seasons. With a lot of turn-around, one thing that remains constant on the team is their captain - and Avalanche prospect - Travis Barron, who will try to act as a stabilizing presence as he looks to take the next step in his development.
"There are so many new people that even veterans were nervous this morning during the physical tests. But the more the day went on, the more smiles were on the faces of the players. I recommend to everyone to savor the moment. Hockey is supposed to be fun."
Speaking with reporters during 67s training camp, Barron spoke about how hard the changes have been on some of the returning members of the team. Amidst the uncertainty, Barron showed a maturity and acknowledgment that the changes can be exciting and ultimately it’s what’s best for the team.
"Several veterans saw this coming. I've been with Jeff Brown since my first day in the organization. With Mike Eastwood, he helped me get where I am today. I had a long conversation with him when the news of his departure came out. The call was emotional. At the same time, I am excited by the enthusiasm that André (Tourigny), James (Boyd) and their new group of coaches. It's a new beginning and I think everyone needed it.”
Losing Jeff Brown as a head coach is definitely going to be a huge transition for Barron, as Brown is really the only head coach he’s ever known.
He also spoke about the excitement he has about playing for a coach that has NHL experience, something that Barron hopes can help him make the jump in the Avalanche system.
Along with an enthusiasm for a fresh start with his team, all indications are that Barron has put in a lot of work this offseason in order to help his game. He lost a lot of weight over the summer - something he is no doubt hoping will bring some much-needed speed to his game.
Travis Barron is in great shape, dropped 20lbs and looks great, Kody Clark bulked up and is up 12 lbs and was flying during camp.— Kenneth Walls (@LongBallsWalls) September 1, 2017
After being selected in the 7th round of the 2016 NHL Entry draft, Barron isn’t necessarily looked upon as a top-end prospect for the Avalanche, but with his new found athleticism, this season could be huge for the 19-year old forward.
In 59 games last season, Barron put up 13 goals and 34 points for the 67s, and he will undoubtedly be looking to improve on that total this seasons - the goal should be to get close to a point per game.
Barron will be a key player to watch next week at Avs rookie camp. He told the Ottawa Citizen that he spent a lot of time in Colorado this summer and is truly looking to mature as a hockey player.
“I spent the whole month of June in Denver training,” Barron said, “and I became a professional this summer. I dropped 20 pounds staying away from the carbs. I wasn’t fast enough, and I guess I was a little thick around the edges. The diet and training worked”
This kind of dedication to improving is a great sign for Avs fans. Being the 191st pick in the draft, if Barron can turn himself into a legitimate NHL prospect, it will be a huge win for the organization. Luckily we won’t have to wait long, we’ll get our first chance to see Barron’s new potential at the Rookie Showcase in San Jose next week.