With 19 NHL games under his belt, defenseman Bowen Byram is using the Colorado Avalanche's 2021 development camp as a jumping off point for the upcoming season. Though he dealt with injuries in the 2020-21 campaign, the experience he had with the NHL club can help him entering the new year.
"I've been lucky enough to be with the organization for a few years now and been through a couple development camps and then spent the year here last year," said Byram. "So, I'm comfortable with everyone, everyone knows me so it kind of makes it a lot easier on me."
Over the three-day development camp, the rookies are training on and off the ice before ending the annual event with a three-on-three game on Tuesday at 6 pm at Family Sports Center. Practices and the scrimmage are open to media and fans on a first-come, first-served basis.
Having the opportunity to participate in the development camp and play contests in the 2021 Arizona Rookie Faceoff offers Byram and the other prospects a leg up once training camp begins later next week.
"It's a competitive advantage for them" said director of player development Brian Willsie. "They're in games next weekend and heading into the NHL training camp, they've already had 10, 12 days of full high-paced action."
After being limited to 19 games in last season's shortened campaign, Byram is gearing up for the 2021-22 season with Colorado.
"I am feeling good. I feel great, better than I've felt in a long time. It was good to have some time off in the summer to make sure all my injuries got taken care of properly and I was 100 percent going into the season," said the young defenseman. "It was definitely some time that I needed just to kind of reboot my system, but I feel great now and I am ready to go."
Video: Byram looks ahead to the 2021-22 season at Dev. Camp
As one of the few players on the development camp roster with previous NHL experience, alongside Alex Newhook and Sampo Ranta, Byram has the opportunity for additional preparation and growth going into training camp.
"I didn't really totally get a full year in last year with injuries and everything, I'm treating this as my first full year. I want to come in with the attitude to make the team and be in the lineup every night and contributing in a successful way," said Byram. "That has been my goal all summer and now that I am here, I am trying to put that to work. I am grateful to be here a bit early, get some skates in at altitude and then we have the rookie tournament. It will be nice to get in some games again, it's been a while since I've been able to do that. I think everything has been positive so far and just trying to get myself up to speed."
Byram has one month until opening night where he can build up his game and get ready for the season to come.