Bowen Byram was selected No. 4 overall by the Colorado Avalanche this past weekend at the 2019 NHL Draft in Vancouver, British Columbia. Rated as the second-highest North American skater in NHL Central Scouting's final rankings, the 6-foot-1 and 195-pound defenseman was the first blueliner picked at this year's draft.
Byram has played parts of the past three seasons with the Western Hockey League's Vancouver Giants and finished his 2018-19 campaign racking up 71 points (26 goals, 45 assists), tied for the 14th most in a regular season for an under-18 defenseman in WHL history.
The 18-year-old also has experience on the international stage. The Cranbrook, British Columbia, native represented Canada at the 2018 IIHF U18 World Championship in Russia, where he tallied one point (one assist) in five games. Additionally, he played for Canada Red at the 2017 World Under-17 Hockey Challenge, where he captured the silver medal and was named to the tournament's all-star team after putting up five points (one goal, four assists) in six outings.
The Avs' 2019 No. 1 draft pick recently sat down with ColoradoAvalanche.com about getting drafted and being in Denver for development camp.
Is there anything you are excited to do while you are in Colorado?
"I am looking forward to going up to the mountains, and I'm kind of starting to get into basketball so it would be cool to see the Nuggets play one day. Also, I love baseball as well. So, it's definitely a cool sports city to be in."
What are some of your hobbies off the ice?
"Well I love the outdoors: hunting, fishing, hiking around, I am always doing that. Living in Cranbrook, it's kind of a similar landscape to here so that's pretty cool for me."
How would you describe your playing style?
"I think I am an offensive defenseman. I am good on both sides of the puck. I can kill penalties, run a puck play, and I am also super competitive."
What was your favorite hockey memory growing up?
"Winning the bantam AAA provincials in Alberta is definitely my fondest memory of minor hockey. It was a big step for the team I was on. I played for Lethbridge at the time, and they hadn't won a provincial title for a long time, so it was pretty cool."
What does your pregame routine consist of?
"It's pretty structured. Definitely a lot of stuff at the same time and whatnot. Certain stretches, eating, things like that."
What is your favorite pregame meal?
"Usually I try to keep it light like rice, salad, chicken breast, usually things like that."
Video: Byram on arriving in Colorado after the draft
What kind of music do you like to listen to before games?
"I actually like listening to country before games."
Who is your all-time favorite player?
"Right now I like Auston Matthews. I think he's super fun to watch, so he is definitely my favorite player right now."
What was your draft day like?
"It was pretty cool. I woke up and went to a prospect breakfast that the NHL put on. After that I pretty much laid low. I worked out for a bit just to get my mind off things. Then I went for lunch and after that it was basically time to go to the rink. In the end it went by quick, but it definitely felt like a long time leading up to the draft."
What was your initial reaction when you heard your name called?
"Just excitement, maybe I was in a little bit of awe. It was pretty crazy seeing Joe call my name on stage. Like I said, Cranbrook is kind of similar to Colorado so all my dad's buddies and my friends and whatnot were pretty pumped for me to go to a place with mountains."