Bowen Byram, one of the top prospects for the 2019 NHL Draft, won the Canadian Hockey League Top Prospect Award on Saturday.
Byram (6-foot, 193 pounds), a left-shot defenseman with Vancouver of the Western Hockey League, led WHL defensemen with 26 goals and was third with 71 points. He then led all players in scoring in the WHL playoffs with 26 points (eight goals, 18 assists) in 22 games.
"It's a huge honor," Byram told the CHL website. "There's so many great players throughout the leagues, so many great prospects. To be named as one of the best is pretty special. It's definitely a humbling moment."
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Byram is No. 2 on NHL Central Scouting's final ranking of North American skaters for the 2019 Draft, to be held at Rogers Arena in Vancouver on June 21-22.
"We take a viewpoint of who's someone you can build around, and Bowen Byram meets all the little boxes we needed to check off there," director of NHL Central Scouting Dan Marr said. "He's immensely talented, but his character, his attitude, his compete, his battle, it just hits all the marks.
"There's a term scouts use when they go around, this guy gets it. And Bowen Byram is one of the players that just gets it. He knows what needs to be done at the right time on the ice, he knows what the situation calls for and he's proven that he's capable of rising to the occasion, whether it's to defend a goal, create a scoring chance, put an opponent in his place. He checks off all the boxes there."
The other finalists for the award were forward Arthur Kaliyev of Hamilton of the Ontario Hockey League and forward Raphael Lavoie of Halifax of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League.
Kaliyev (6-2, 190), No. 7 on Central Scouting's final ranking of North American skaters, was sixth in the OHL with 102 points (51 goals, 51 assists) in 67 games. Lavoie (6-4, 196), No. 20 in Central Scouting's final ranking, had 73 points (32 goals, 41 assists) in 62 regular-season games, and led all players in the QMJHL playoffs with 20 goals in 23 games.
Another 2019 Draft-eligible player, Everett (WHL) goalie Dustin Wolf, was named the Scholastic Player of the Year. Wolf, No. 12 on Central Scouting's final ranking of North American goalies, had a 100-percent school average and led WHL goalies in wins (41), goals-against average (1.69) and save percentage (.936).
The other finalists for the award were Mississauga (OHL) defenseman Thomas Harley, who is No. 11 in the final rankings, and Charlottetown (QMJHL) goalie Matthew Welsh, who is eligible for the 2019 Draft.
Quinton Byfield of Sudbury (OHL), a 16-year-old forward, was named the CHL Rookie of the Year after he had 61 points (29 goals, 32 assists) in 64 games. He is eligible for the 2020 NHL Draft.
The other finalists for the award were Moose Jaw forward Brayden Tracey, No. 21 on Central Scouting's final ranking, who led WHL rookies with 81 points (36 goals, 45 assists) in 66 games, and Jordan Spence of Moncton, No. 59 in the final ranking, who led QMJHL rookie defensemen with 49 points (six goals, 43 assists) in 68 games.
Rimouski (QMJHL) forward Alexis Lafreniere, a leading candidate to be the first pick of the 2020 NHL Draft, was named CHL Player of the Year. Other finalists for the award were Portland (WHL) forward Joachim Blichfeld (San Jose Sharks), and Sudbury (OHL) goalie Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen (Buffalo Sabres).
Also honored Saturday were Niagara (OHL) forward Jason Robertson (Dallas Stars) for being the top scorer in the CHL with 117 points (48 goals, 69 assists) in 62 games; Spokane (WHL) defenseman Ty Smith (New Jersey Devils), best defenseman in the CHL; Ian Scott (Toronto Maple Leafs) of Prince Albert (WHL), best goalie in the CHL; Moose Jaw (WHL) center Justin Almeida (Pittsburgh Penguins), Sportsman of the Year; Rimouski defenseman Charles-Edouard D'Astous, Humanitarian of the Year; Mario Pouliot of Rouyn-Noranda (QMJHL), CHL coach of the year.
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