2018-19 Team: Vancouver Giants (#44)
Date of Birth: June 13, 2001
Place of Birth: Cranbrook, BC, Canada
Ht: 6’ 1” Wt: 192 lbs
NHL Draft Eligibility: 2019 first-year eligible
- NHL Central Scouting: 4th (among NA skaters)
- Future Considerations: 6th
- HockeyProspect.com: 11th
- McKeen’s Hockey: 6th
- ISS: 4th
- DobberProspects: 6th
Those who wondered if Byram would be an effective point producer have been silenced this season. He started the 2018-19 campaign off with a gold medal at the Hlinka Gretzky U18 Cup, collecting four points in five games. This season with the WHL’s Vancouver Giants, the alternate captain has put together a solid draft-eligible campaign. He’s among the top defenders in the league in points and is second among Giants skaters.
Related: NHL Draft Guide | 2019 Edition
In his rookie season, he collected 27 points in 60 games, winning Giant’s Rookie of the Year and the WHL’s Western Conference Rookie of the Year honours. In his sophomore season, Byram impressed again, putting up 26 goals and 71 points in 67 games, including a WHL record six overtime-winning goals.
He has been relied on heavily by the Giants this season, and some calling into question his endurance because of this, but he’s likely being overplayed and his numbers this season should silence any doubters critical of his skill.
His goal totals this season lead all defenders in the league and are a franchise record for the Giants. His point total is the 14th most all-time by a WHL U18 defender and his 26 goals are eighth-most all-time and the most since 2001-02 for a U18 in the WHL.
He’s a great skater with an ability to surprise opposing players with his speed. His vision allows him to make big passing plays, and he isn’t afraid to play physically. He handles the puck very well and has a quick, hard shot that can fool goaltenders. He’s consistently ranked in the top-10, with some ranking him as high as fourth. He has the potential to be a top-five pick and will be a top-10 at the very least.
Other THW Draft Profiles:
Bowen Byram – NHL Draft Projection
There’s no question that Byram is a top-10 pick in this year’s draft. He will likely even crack the top-five. Being the best defender available, when he’s drafted will depend on the teams that hold the top five picks. His skating and ability to move the puck up the ice have him going fifth overall in my rankings and the first defenseman taken off the board.
“An explosive skater who can act as a one-man breakout. He blends his terrific acceleration and north-south speed with lateral edge work and play creation through the neutral zone. Owns a heavy shot that is effective in all situations. Quick hands that embarrass oncoming forwards at the offensive blueline. Can get caught at times, but you take the good with the bad. An efficient power play quarterback in the making. Has been red-hot the last month or so.” – Cam Robinson, DobberProspects
“Byram is smart, decisive and generally makes the right play. His ability to hold onto the puck and wait for a seam is something that may go under the radar a bit but is really the hallmark of his game. The questions about his offensive upside may persist until he starts to pile up the points. I think it’s fair to suggest that he won’t ever be an elite point producer but will still be able to man a power play with ease. He was extremely effective in that role at the Hlinka tournament and has displayed all the right attributes for that to continue this year. The questions about his ice time and possible overplaying will also play a part in the analysis, but over the course of the season, those concerns will likely be overlooked due to his consistent, intelligent and fluid play from the back end,” – Ryan Bietch, The Athletic (from, “Scouting the West: Giants’ Bowen Byram leads the way among 2019 draft-eligible defencemen” – The Athletic – 10/5/18).
“Calculated two-way defenseman with leadership traits who makes the proper reads and carries an on-ice demeanour similar to that of a seasoned veteran. Byram has excellent mobility and always looks to either join the rush or create a breakout by himself, and he makes difficult plays while handling the puck look easy. Byram uses flip, chip, bank or stretch passes to trap forecheckers, and he’s capable of dishing the puck with accuracy and authority while back skating or off balance. He consistently keeps his feet moving and reacts to the puck’s changing direction with quickness and confidence. Byram is a strong stick-handler who protects the puck extremely well, especially in instances when he skates methodically into traffic in the neutral zone. He’s an upright skater with a powerful stride with both lateral quickness and rapid directional changes. Byram can run the power play from the left point or the top of the umbrella and owns a hard slap shot that is accurate, creates rebounds and requires little backswing to achieve significant velocity.” – Steve Kournianos, The Draft Analyst
- Skating mobility/acceleration
- High hockey IQ
Under Construction (Improvements to Make)
- Offensive upside
Byram is arguably the best defenseman available in the draft. He has the potential to be a top-four defender and the ability to be top-two. His skating and vision will allow him to quarterback any team’s power play and lead the breakouts from his own end.
Risk – 2/5, Reward – 4.5/5
Fantasy Hockey Potential
Offence – 8/10, Defence – 8/10
Byram won a Western Canada U16 Challenge Cup gold medal in 2016-17, the same year he was named CSSHL Top Defenseman. In 2017-18, he played for Team Canada in the World Under-17 Hockey Challenge where he was named to the All-Star Team and won a silver medal. The 2018-19 season saw him win a gold medal in the Hlinka Gretzky Cup.
Starting out as an Ottawa Senators contributor for The Hockey Writers, Josh is now an editor and at-large contributor, focusing on prospects, the NHL Draft, hockey history, and breaking news stories.