The Colorado Avalanche are unlikely to use the services of prize prospect Bowen Byram unless they suffer a spate of injuries or illness.
The Colorado Avalanche are getting closer to their return to play. They’ve been active in Phase 2, which is the informal practices. Valeri Nichushkin has joined the group. The only Avs regular I can’t confirm is with the group is goalie Pavel Francouz, who presumably returned to the Czech Republic during the NHL pause.
Teams will be able to carry 31 players into the playoff bubble — the usual complement of regulars and backups with some black aces. They’ll all need to be in the bubble for the entirety of the team’s duration in the playoffs.
Many teams, including the Avalanche, are bringing signed prospects into the bubble. Specifically, Colorado is bringing in their fourth-overall selection from last summer, Bowen Byram. He joined the team for Friday’s skate, the final informal skate of Phase 2:
He’ll be part of the training camp that starts Monday.
How likely are we to see Byram in action during the playoffs, though? Not very likely, and that’s a good thing.
For one, if he plays more than 9 games with Colorado, it’ll burn a year off his contract. That doesn’t serve anyone. The team wants to slide his contract to put off the payday he’ll eventually get. And, with the financial crisis the COVID-19 crisis is going to effect in the NHL, he’s better off waiting a year anyway before he comes into a flat-cap, escrow-beleaguered league.
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For the Avalanche, playing Byram means a rash of injuries or illnesses have occured, which is not ideal. The team is very stacked on defense. Their usual core is healthy:
They also have their usual backups in Mark Barberio and Kevin Connauton. So, to get to a place where it makes sense to play Byram, you’d have to see at least three injuries or illnesses. We don’t want that.
Watching Byram play sooner than later has its potential for entertainment, though. He’s an exciting player. But I think we’d better adjust our expectations. He’s a steal for us, but not on the level of Makar.
Byram is young and will need some development. It will be good for him to be in the playoff bubble with the team and get some playoff atmosphere, even if it’s just the intensity from practices and the team hotel. But I don’t think it would be good for him to play.
The Colorado Avalanche look good to make a run at the Stanley Cup. Bo Byram can only benefit from being even a small part of that team.