Colorado Avalanche prospect Bowen Byram talked about his slow start and what he learned from the NHL training camp.
Top Colorado Avalanche prospect Bowen Byram spoke with Conor McGahey and Marc Moser on Altitude TV’s Sports Social a couple days ago. A lot of their conversation focused on the training camp Byram attended with the Avalanche and his subsequent year.
By Byram’s own admission, “I didn’t quite have the training camp I wanted to have.”
The Avalanche drafted Byram with the fourth-overall selection in the 2019 NHL Draft. At the time, he was a very young 18-year-old — his birthday is in June. He attended the team’s prospect development camp and acquitted himself quite well.
Prospect development camp, though, is for the youngsters the team has drafted and a few other invitees. Many of the players who attend the camp never make an NHL roster.
The situation is different with rookie camp and, especially, training camp proper. Rookie camp might still feature a few players who will never make the NHL cut, but training camp is NHLers.
Here’s what Byram said of his experience:
"“You’re playing against men. There are guys who are 30+ years old. It’s very different. It’s fast hockey, but I think I can play. I’m confident. But it’s not easy. It’s the NHL for a reason. It’s the best league in the world for a reason with the best players.”"
Byram had something of a different experience than other players who typically go in the top five of the draft. He wasn’t walking onto a struggling team. He was joining a team that had made it to the second round of the playoffs and only drafted him by virtue of a trade.
In other words, he was going up with and against some of the best players in the NHL.
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I watched training camp and the preseason. Byram looked out of his league. He made some young mistakes, including an own goal in one preseason game. I don’t think that alone is a killer — it’s still just the preseason. However, I wasn’t surprised that the Colorado Avalanche sent him back to the Vancouver Giants.
The less-than-ideal training camp apparently followed Byram through to his major juniors team. “I’m not afraid to admit that I wasn’t at my best.”
He started out slowly with the Giants. However, being a top prospect, he played for Team Canada in the World Juniors in December. He got two assists in seven games but overall had a solid tournament.
And he came back to the Giants on a tear:
"“The World Juniors was definitely a big confidence-booster for me. And after that I think I was playing really good hockey up until the virus hit.”"
Indeed, in 50 games, he recorded 52 points. It’s a bit of a decline from his previous season, his draft year. However, it’s still excellent stats for a defenseman.
I don’t think Byram is going to return to the Giants. I think he’s gotten out of major juniors everything he possible can. He’s even expected to join the Colorado Avalanche as a “Black Ace,” one of the extra roster players each team is allowed to carry when the Stanley Cup playoffs resume.
He’s probably not going to play too many games, if any. The team is stacked on defense, and the front offices won’t want to burn a year off his contract.
Nonetheless, Byram has been working on “rounding out” his game, and he plans to continue in that manner. He plans on working on his size and strength moving forward — he’s gained about 10 pounds, all muscle of course. He wants to work on his speed and skating, too.
Here’s the video:
Bowen Byram is going to make a very nice complement to the Colorado Avalanche. It’s a pity there probably won’t be a prospect development camp this year. But he’s likely to attend the team’s training camp before the playoffs start up.
And that could be even more valuabel for the young prospect.