Prospect Weekly: Bowen Byram is proving he is a special player

There isn’t any question Bowen Byram is a top prospect for the Colorado Avalanche but there seems to be some varying opinions on just how good he is. Make no mistake Byram is a special player that’s only found at the very top of the draft. With boxscore numbers that had eluded him over the first half of the year it was easy to forget what a dynamic and well-rounded talent he really is.

Now that has changed with Byram getting notice for the incredible streak he and the Vancouver Giants have been on. Winners of 10 straight they are catapulting up the standings and getting back some of that mojo which put them in the WHL finals last season. The catalyst to this surge is Byram who has found his groove again after returning from the World Junior Championship as he brings the team together with his swagger on the ice and camaraderie off the ice.

Getting the numbers out of the way, Byram is currently riding a nine-game point streak which began against Kamloops, the top team in the BC division, and has now totaled to seven multi-point nights good for six goals and 12 assists over that span. Byram is a leader and the team goes as he does which rides on confidence, energy and momentum.

Below is one of the typical plays Byram makes where he cuts into the slot and then changes the angle to get a shot on net and in this case converted a goal for the Giants. Byram pushes the pace with his skating but uses his soft hands to carry the puck into and around the offensive zone as well.

Although Byram was never expected to score 26 goals again it is nice to see him still able to cash in on these great chances as seen below with a blistering shot from the slot and remind folks that he has a powerful shot and is a threat to score goals. He has averaged two shots on goal per game during this stretch and prior to was shooting below 4%. Byram now has nine goals on the season and a total of 39 points in 42 games.

Lost among the points and focus on his offensive talents it’s easy to forget that Byram is a two-way defender with a physical side to him at heart. He does not shy from contact and will look to make plays like this hit seen below even when he was recovering from the illness he picked up overseas.

Speaking of the defensive side of his game, Byram was a standout in that WJC taking on the role of number one defenseman en route to winning a gold medal. He averaged the most time on ice of any player on the team, was only on the ice for two goals against in the entire tournament including on the penalty kill and was trusted to take on critically important minutes late in the game on the man disadvantage and extra attacker situations in order to secure the gold. While many hoped to see more than the two assists at the tournament the poise and versatility Byram showed as an 18-year old was impressive.

What’s next for Byram is completing his junior season with the Giants which now seems will include at least a playoff round or two. If the Colorado Eagles enjoy the extended season they also look headed to then there could be time for Byram to still join them for a few playoff games and gather some professional experience in the AHL before Avalanche camp in the fall. Either way Byram should be a serious candidate to make the Avalanche roster next season as his strong skating and intelligence will help ease the transition despite his young age much like Sam Girard and Cale Makar before him.

queenjk

Aka tigervixxxen, prospect junkie.

%d bloggers like this: