ColoradoAvalanche.com is profiling players who completed their rookie seasons with the organization in 2020-21. This installment takes a look at defenseman Bowen Byram.
After acquiring a first-round pick from the Ottawa Senators in November 2017, the Colorado Avalanche waited almost two years and finally got to use the selection with the fourth-overall position in the 2019 NHL Draft. Bowen Byram, a competitive defenseman, was Colorado's first pick that year.
Ahead of the 2020-21 season, Byram represented his country in the 2021 IIHF World Junior Championship in Edmonton and won the silver medal as a co-captain of Team Canada. Byram led the squad in defensive points with one goal and four assists and while also leading the team in time on ice (22:59).
The Cranbrook, British Columbia, native swiftly made his was to Colorado after the World Juniors and worked to make his way onto the roster. After a few weeks of practice and time spent on the Avalanche's taxi squad, he made his NHL debut on Jan. 21 at the Los Angeles Kings.
As Byram reflected on his NHL debut, he noted his strengths and weaknesses.
"Definitely some nerves and jitters at the start there," Byram recalled. "I thought I calmed down later into the first, and in the second and third I felt pretty good out there. I think I did some things well and I think there's some things I can improve on, but overall, I think it's a good starting point for me."
He didn't have much time to reflect on the milestone however as he got right back at it the next day with his second contest in the league, this time at the Anaheim Ducks. Not only did he gain confidence on the ice as the game went on, Byram also notched his first NHL point with an assist in the third period that gave the Avs a 2-1 lead. The team went on to win the matchup in overtime, 3-2.
Video: COL@ANA: Byram records first point on Rantanen's goal
Ahead of the NHL Outdoors at Lake Tahoe event, Byram logged a career high 25:03 in ice time in a 3-2 victory against the Vegas Golden Knights on Feb. 16. He then went on to play 14:25 in the outdoor game itself.
The rookie defenseman was limited to 19 games due to separate injuries, but he still managed to make an impact.
Byram is looking to be a earn a spot as a reliable defenseman, and a permanent fixture on the Avalanche roster in the upcoming campaign.