Prospect Deep Dive: Bowen Byram

Cam Robinson

2019-02-14

 

 

Bowen Byram has long been pegged as the top defender for the 2019 class. He was selected third overall by the Vancouver Giants in the 2016 WHL Bantam draft behind Peyton Krebs and Kirby Dach – two premier forwards in the upcoming crop.

 

Byram skated in 11 regular season contests as a 15-year-old two seasons ago to get his feet wet. It’s an impressive feat for a youngster to suit up in CHL contests as a 15-year-old, and while he didn’t produce any points, he kept his head above water.

 

His draft-minus one campaign featured increasing confidence and production as the year went on. It culminated with a point-per-game rate in the playoffs as the Giants were knocked off in a seven-game first round series. As a feather in the cap of the 6’1 192lbs defender, he was invited and cracked the Canadian U18 squad as an underaged player.

 

While there, he showcased his terrific mobility, creativity and elusiveness. He also got caught a few times and was stapled to the bench. These are the learning opportunities for a mobile, offensive blueliner.

 

Heading into 2018-19, Byram was rated as an A-level prospect by Central Scouting and has lived amongst the top 10 skaters on each of my released lists – including sitting sixth overall in the most recent February Top 100 edition.

 

Considering the expectations, Byram was somewhat average to begin his draft-eligible campaign. He began the year with just two points through his first six contests. However, he’s long since put that in the rear-view mirror. The WHL Player of the Month for January has been on a prolonged hot stretch of late.

 

Byram has been clicking at a point-per-game rate through 53 contests and has his Giants squad amongst the CHL’s very best teams. This will likely mean he’s not available for this year’s version of the World Under-18 Championships that takes place during the CHL playoffs. 

 

With 14 games remaining on the schedule, Byram has a chance to join some rare air when it comes to goal-scoring blueliners. His 21 goals on the season, sits as the fourth most by a U18 WHL defender in the last 25 years. He’s already surpassed WHL alums, Matt Dumba (20), Shea Theodore (19), Dion Phaneuf (16), Ivan Provorov (15) and Josh Morrissey (15) in that category.

 

It’s unlikely he’ll catch Ian White’s 32 markers but Kris Russell and his 26 tallies sitting in second place may be in jeopardy.

 

Byram can beat goaltenders in any number of ways.