As the 2019 NHL Entry Draft approaches, the Los Angeles Kings have their work cut out for them, including making decisions on two first-round picks: the fifth pick and the 22nd pick, thanks to the Toronto Maple Leafs. From now until the draft, the staff of Jewels from the Crown will be taking a look at some draft-eligible players to help introduce some young men who could very possibly be future Kings.
“With the fifth pick in the 2019 NHL Entry Draft, the Los Angeles Kings select, from the Vancouver Giants, Bowen Byram.”
Bowen Byram is a remarkably gifted defenseman who knows his strengths and swears by them. It’s said that Byram would be the perfect D pair for Drew Doughty for next decade. But, before we get into the strengths and weaknesses, let’s get the basics out of the way…
HOCKEY CARD STATS
Born: June 13, 2001 (Age 17)
Place of Birth: Cranbrook, British Columbia, Canada
2018-19 Team: Vancouver Giants
Weight: 194 lbs.
2018-19 Season: Vancouver Giants
Regular Season: 67 Games, 71 Points (26G, 45A), 80 PIM
Playoffs: 19 Games, 23 Points (7G, 16A), 8 PIM
#2—NHL CENTRAL SCOUTING (North American Skaters)
Smart and skilled, Byram is perhaps one of the best skaters available at any position in this year’s draft. His elite skating ability shines best when playing in an up tempo, high energy, environment. He possesses a superior hockey IQ, making calculated choices that regularly shift momentum in his favor. He thrives under pressure due to his incredible stickhandling. He’s a master at taking away lanes and limiting options for rushing opponents. One look at his highlight reel and you’ll be hooked on his game and wonder aloud if he’s a forward or a defenseman (and that’s a very good thing). He is a heavy-duty puck-mover who’s not afraid to lead the rush. If the Kings don’t draft him, you’ll be buying a ticket to see him when he comes to town.
Byram has the total package to be a number one NHL defenseman in the NHL, however he may not be ready to suit up as an 18 year old, needing to add some muscle to his frame. An area that needs seasoning is his defensive habits and discipline. He’s been singled out for a rather pedestrian defensive positioning and his lack of urgency. These are easily coachable problems and no one seems to ding him on them when accessing his upside.
“The mobile blueliner loves to engage offensively and has the ability to embarrass opposing wingers as he dangles with impunity on the blue line. He owns a big shot but can also saucer it through traffic. A tremendous skater with a big upside. Cam Robinson.”– Cam Robinson/DobberProspects.com
WHY THE KINGS SHOULD TAKE A CHANCE
I know, I know, they Kings need scoring and centermen, but how can you pass on the next Brent Burns, or better, the next Drew Doughty? The Kings have been searching for the perfect partner for Doughty since they won the Stanley Cup in 2014 without much success. This has definitely shown in team success with the Kings winning only one playoff game since hoisting their second Cup. Byram will most certainly be available at number five and locking down a premier defenseman should be very tempting to Rob Blake and his war room crew.