Name: Bowen Byram
Age: 17 (June 13th, 2001)
Weight: 194 lbs
Bowen Byram is the top-ranked defenseman in the 2019 draft. His game is based on him being a strong two-way player. He can jump on in the rush and he is able to stay at the blue line and still get back on defense. Byram is an excellent skater both forwards and backward. He has excellent pivots, agility, and edgework which allows him to cover all areas of the ice. He can win battles on the board and is great at protecting the puck.
In this play, Vancouver and Tri-City are in overtime. it’s 3-on-3 and Vancouver has possession in the offensive zone. Byram receives at the blue line from his teammate down low. He uses his feet to skate laterally to the inside, then cuts back to the outside and starts to drive the net but peels left to lose his man. Now that his man is off of him there is no one there to challenge him, so he takes his time skating in and picks his spot to riffle one past the goalie to give Vancouver the win.
(Play at 1:15)
Byram’s skating ability is a big help to him in the offensive zone and in transition. His passing skills and vision allow him to run the power play. He is a strong puck-mover and is not afraid to lead the rush. His offensive game is at a high level. He has a good shot from the blue line. He can navigate his shot through traffic and has the ability to score from anywhere in the offensive zone.
In this play, the Giants are on the power play. Byram receives a pass from down low and starts to walk the blue line. He centers himself and fires a shot through traffic that beats the Swift Current goalie short side.
(Play at :40)
The defensive game of Byram is very smart. While he will play a physical game he has shown that he is disciplined. He can take the puck and skate himself out of danger and can make a strong first pass to start the transition. Going back to his skating ability, his proficiency in skating makes him difficult to beat in one-on-one situations. Byram will need to add some muscle in order to continue his physical game at the pro level.
In this clip, the Vancouver Giants are facing the Medicine Hat Tigers. Byram’s d-partner gets the puck taken away and Byram must skate back with the Medicine Hat forward to prevent the breakaway. Byram is not only with him stride for stride but he is also able to close the gap between them and uses his stick to make the Medicine Hat forward lose control of the puck. Byram knows that he is not going to get a good shot off so he pulls himself back to make sure he doesn’t get called for a hooking penalty.
(Play at 6:41)
Bowen Byram has all the skills necessary to be a number one defenseman in the NHL. He may take a year or two before he is 100% ready to enter the league. Byram could be drafted as high as 3rd overall and should not fall past the 6th pick.
Cover photo credit: Eliteprospects.com
Chris Bugajsky covers the Dallas Stars, the NHL and the NHL Draft for Full Press Coverage. Follow Chris on twitter @CBugajsky14.