The Vancouver Canucks may have a chance — albeit a slim one — at selecting Vancouver Giants defenceman Bowen Byram at the draft this year. Here’s why they shouldn’t hesitate to call his name if he’s still available when the Canucks make their first pick.
The NHL Draft is in Vancouver this year. Bowen Byram plays for the Vancouver Giants of the Western Hockey League. Isn’t it just destiny that the Vancouver Canucks select Byram with their first-round pick?
When it comes to defencemen available in this year’s draft, Byram is in a league of his own. Byram has tallied 26 goals and 45 assists so far this year for the Giants — which is nothing short of remarkable for a defenceman — especially one who is just 17 years old.
Byram is an elite skater with excellent poise and superior puck control. He makes smart plays and doesn’t try to do too much — but with his skating abilities, he is able to exit his own zone in a hurry and rush the puck up the ice.
The Cranbrook, British Columbia native currently leads all WHL defenceman with 26 goals, and that is a testament to the deadly shot and power play prowess that he possesses. Seven of Byram’s goals have come on the man-advantage.
Here is a fact that provides a little more perspective on just how good Byram has been this season for the Giants, courtesy of @canucksplace on Twitter. The last defenceman in the WHL to record at least 20 goals drafted in the top 15 of their class is Jake Bean in 2016, with 24 goals and 64 points in 68 games. Byram already has 2 more goals in 2 fewer games.
The things Byram is doing for the Giants this season is remarkable. He is without a doubt the best defenceman in this year’s draft class, and depending on where the Canucks pick, he may be there for the taking. Sportsnet’s February draft rankings had Byram being drafted at sixth overall, but other rankings such as mynhldraft.com have Byram being picked as early as third overall.
Byram would be an excellent addition to the Canucks’ future defence core. Having a 1-2 punch of Quinn Hughes and Byram would be absolutely deadly for years to come. Byram can run the power play effectively, and if he and Hughes were on separate units, that would give the Canucks an effective power play quarterback on both units.
Regardless of where the Canucks pick — aside from first or second overall, where the order is essentially set in stone with Jack Hughes and Kaapo Kaako — they should strongly consider selecting Byram if he is available when they take the stage in front of their fans at this year’s draft.
With the recent wins and the rejuvenated late playoff push, Byram may be off the board long before the Canucks take the stage. If he’s there though, it seems like a no brainer that the Canucks should call his name.