VANCOUVER The Colorado Avalanche Hockey Club selected defenseman Bowen Byram with the fourth overall pick in the first round of the 2019 NHL Draft tonight at Rogers Arena in Vancouver.
Byram, 18, spent the 2018-19 season with the Vancouver Giants of the Western Hockey League, where he recorded 71 points (26g/45a) in 67 regular-season games. The Cranbrook, British Columbia, native led all WHL defensemen in goals and ranked third in points, earning WHL (West) First All-Star Team honors. He added 26 points (8g/18a) in 22 playoff games, leading all skaters in assists and points and becoming the first defenseman to ever lead the WHL in postseason scoring. Byram has accumulated 98 points (32g/66a) in 138 career WHL contests, all with Vancouver, and has totaled 33 points (11g/22a) in 29 playoff outings.
Internationally, Byrum represented his country at the 2018 IIHF World Under-18 Championship in Russia, recording one point (0g/1a) in five contests. He tallied four points (1g/3a) in five games to help Canada capture the 2018 Hlinka Gretzky Cup and suited up for Team Canada Red at the 2017 World Hockey Challenge, registering five points (1g/4a) in six outings.
Born June 13, 2001, the left-shooting defenseman is the Avalanche’s fifth top-five draft pick since the franchise relocated from Quebec, as the club chose Nathan MacKinnon first overall in 2013, Gabriel Landeskog second overall in 2011, Matt Duchene third overall in 2009 and Cale Makar fourth overall in 2017. This is the seventh time that the Avs have picked in the top 10, having previously selected MacKinnon, Landeskog, Duchene, Makar, Mikko Rantanen (10th in 2015) and Tyson Jost (10th in 2016).
Byram was rated the second-best North American skater in NHL Central Scouting’s final rankings for the 2019 draft, moving up from the fourth spot in the midterm rankings. He’s the 57th player in franchise history to be selected out of the Western Hockey League and the 10th player the organization has selected from the WHL in the first round (fifth since 1995). Byram is the second player drafted from the Vancouver Giants in franchise history, joining defenseman Mason Geertsen (2013).
The NHL Draft resumes tomorrow (Saturday, June 22) with rounds 2-7 beginning at 11 a.m. MT on the NHL Network.