Anaheim Ducks 2019 Draft Prospect Profile: Bowen Byram

VICTORIA , BC - FEBRUARY 24: Bowen Byram #44 of the Vancouver Giants looks on during a Western Hockey League game against the Victoria Royals at the Save-on-Foods Memorial Centre on February 24, 2019 in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada. (Photo by Kevin Light/Getty Images)
VICTORIA , BC - FEBRUARY 24: Bowen Byram #44 of the Vancouver Giants looks on during a Western Hockey League game against the Victoria Royals at the Save-on-Foods Memorial Centre on February 24, 2019 in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada. (Photo by Kevin Light/Getty Images) /

With no shot at the playoff’s, the Anaheim Ducks need to start putting together a strategy for the 2019 NHL Draft. Could Bowen Byram fit Bob Murray’s criteria?

In a recent event held for the Anaheim Ducks season ticket holders, Bob Murray stated that his intentions going into the 2019 NHL Entry Draft were to take the best players in the first two rounds and fill the rest of the team’s needs in the later rounds. While many believe that Murray should draft a center with one of his first round draft picks, it is not out of the question that he could draft a defenseman.

After the Ducks defeated the Nashville Predators in their most recent game, they currently sit fifth from the bottom of the league. If they continue to play the way they have been recently, they could still draft relatively early, but they most likely won’t win the Jack Hughes lottery. If they stay fifth or sixth from the bottom, a prospect like 17-year-old defenseman, Bowen Byram, is within their grasp.

The Cranbrook, British Columbia native currently plays for the WHL’s Vancouver Giants. Byram is currently ranked between 5th and 6th by several credible sources. The left-handed defenseman, who stands at 6’1”,  is applauded for being a solid two-way defenseman, a player the Anaheim Ducks could certainly benefit from drafting.

Byram is currently having one of his best seasons to date. This year is only his second full season in the WHL, playing only 11 games in his first year with the Giants in 2016-17. Currently, he is second in points on his team with a staggering 26 goals and 44 assists. With the WHL playoff’s not too far out, he is going to be a lethal asset for the Giants.

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Making a significant impact for his team in the WHL playoff’s will solidify Byram a spot as one of the top prospects going into the 2019 NHL Entry Draft. While he may be ranked 5th-6th overall, according to mid-season rankings, he is the number one North American defenseman on everyone’s list. This is going to make him a coveted asset for any team who is looking to add a blue-chip defenseman to their prospect pool come June. However, the question still remains, how does he fit the needs of the Anaheim Ducks?

How Could Bowen Byram Fill the Anaheim Ducks Needs?

At the beginning of the 2018-19 season, Bowen Byram was named one of the Vancouver Giants five alternate captains. Although the five players have rotated the “A” throughout the season, this points to a very important fact, Byram is a natural born leader. Praised for his leadership abilities, it is often said that he acts similarly to a seasoned veteran rather than a 17-year-old should in the WHL.

He is poised and confident in his leadership role, which has earned him the utmost respect from his teammates. The Anaheim Ducks will likely be going through a change in leadership over the next few years as Ryan Getzlaf, Corey Perry, and Ryan Kesler all eventually retire. While they will still have players like Adam Henrique, Josh Manson, and Cam Fowler in the fold (if they are not traded) the Ducks will need to seek other leaders from throughout the team. If Byram’s leadership skills can translate similarly in the NHL, it would benefit Anaheim tremendously.

Speaking of confidence, Byram doesn’t just display this quality as a leader, but in his overall game. He is intuned with his strength’s and uses them to not only make himself a better player but make his team better as well. At such a young age, he is already incredibly creative on the ice, which allows him to change the pace of the game at will. After this season, the Anaheim Ducks could all benefit in a lesson on confidence from the young WHL’er.

Prior to the 2018-19 season, in his draft analysis, Steve Kournianos wrote this about Bowen Byram:

"“Defensively, Byram displays quick feet in maintaining a tight gap, even if a quicker opponent tries to shift gears on him. His stick is highly active and poke checks are timed without putting him at risk of getting caught flat footed. He likes to stand up at his own blue line; either to strip the puck or deliver a hard check.”"

Aside from his extraordinary skills as a talented defensive prospect, Byram isn’t afraid to get physical either. While the NHL strays further and further away from being physical with every passing season, we all know how Bob Murray still loves to draft and sign players who have a gritty edge to their game.

The Anaheim Ducks could benefit greatly from adding someone like Bowen Byram to their prospect pool. Over the past two years, Bob Murray has traded away his most valuable and highly touted defensive core. With Shea Theodore, Sami Vatanen, and Brandon Montour all playing for new teams, the Ducks are lacking something on the blueline.

Brendan Guhle has certainly impressed Ducks Nation, but his sample size is so small due to the recent injury he has been suffering from. Jacob Larsson will most likely have the chance to make the jump into the NHL full time, but there are questions as to whether or not he will fit into the Anaheim Ducks long term plans. At this point, he, as well as a few of the Ducks other defensive prospects, seem expendable if the need arises.

Hampus Lindholm seems to be the Anaheim Ducks most well-rounded defenseman at the moment, and even he leans towards being more of a defensively minded defenseman sometimes. Adding a solid two-way defenseman like Bowen Byram to their long term plans would strengthen the Anaheim Ducks foundation as they look forward to their already bright future.

Next. Anaheim Ducks Re-tool Player Evaluation: Corey Perry. dark

Who is your favorite prospect going into the 2019 NHL Entry Draft? Do you think the Anaheim Ducks should draft Bowen Byram if they have the chance? Let us know by leaving a comment for us down below.