Bowen Byram / Vancouver Giants (WHL)
Age on Draft Day: 18
Height / Weight: 6-0 / 194
2018-19 Stats: 67 GP / 71 P / +33
Projection: #2 (NHL Central Scouting — North American Skaters) / #3 (ISS Hockey) / #4 (Elite Prospects) / #6 (Bob McKenzie/TSN and Future Considerations) / #4 Corey Pronman (Elite NHL Prospect/Star NHL Player)
Byram is a can’t miss prospect who fits the bill of a high-end puck-moving defenseman that NHL general managers across the league covet. This guy is calm under pressure with the puck in his own defensive zone and can make a smooth, crisp outlet pass to start a rush in the offensive zone. Byram has elite skating ability and plays a very up-tempo style, getting his teammates involved in the play.
This was on display during the WHL playoffs, where Byram amassed 26 points in 22 games before he and the Vancouver Giants fell short in an overtime thriller of Game 7 in the finals to the Prince Albert Raiders. There is no denying his defensive capabilities either as his speed allows him to close the gaps in his own zone and capitalize on turnovers to sway the momentum back up ice in his team’s favor.
The soon-to-be 18-year-old is a complete two-way defender and should draw comparisons to Duncan Keith of the Chicago Blackhawks. Keith is also a WHL alumni, with his brief stint as a Kelowna Rocket during the 2002-03 season. Although Keith was more of a table setter on the ice, he always seemed to have an underrated wrist shot. Byram’s shot is definitely one of his strengths as he notched 26 goals in the WHL this year and with his creativity in the offensive zone, he could have an immediate impact for an NHL team in 2019-20.
Ideally, this would be the best pick possible for the Wings (outside of Jack Hughes and Kaapo Kakko, but that’s not realistic) at the six spot. It continues to bolster their defensive prospect pool — featuring Dennis Cholowski, Filip Hronek and Jared McIsaac — and Byram is the type of player that can step right into a prominent role on a roster that is trending in a youthful direction.
Would you be on board with the Wings taking Byram at #6?
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