Kris Baker is once again counting down his list of top prospects available in the NHL Draft for Sabres.com. The first round of the 2017 NHL Draft will take place on June 23 in Chicago.
Team: Waterloo Black Hawks (USHL)
The hard-working Shane Bowers is a well-developed two-way player with a great feel for the offensive game. He's smart and physical with a very reliable straight-line style. Bowers' well-rounded skil set and lineup versatility should provide limited risk to any team drafting him.
The Halifax, Nova Scotia native passed on the opportunity as a fourth overall QMJHL draft pick to instead pursue collegiate options, ultimately joining the USHL's Waterloo Black Hawks, where he peaked this past season with 22 goals and 51 points in 60 regular season games.
Since entering the USHL in 2015-16, Bowers has made quite an impression as a workmanlike player that brings elite skating, puck-possession skills and offensive creativity that projects to a top-six forward role, but he can also jam on a shutdown unit if necessary with his cycling aptitude, energetic hitting game and ability to dig into his defensive zone responsibilities.
Along the way, Bowers' skill and work ethic were rewarded with a scholarship to Boston University, where he'll begin play in 2017-18 while looking to add 10-15 pounds of mass to his 6-foot-1, 183-pound frame.
Excelling in Waterloo added Bowers' name to a list of forwards that includes Joe Pavelski, Craig Smith and Brock Boeser to have used the Black Hawks program as a launching pad to the collegiate level.
He is expected to be the latest in the line of Boston University Terriers taken in the first round of the NHL draft, following the likes of Jack Eichel, Clayton Keller, Charlie McAvoy, Kieffer Bellows and Dante Fabbro.
There is nothing flashy in Bowers' offensive tool set and that's perfectly acceptable in the eyes of scouts. He simply exhibits the qualities of a team-first talent who will lead by example and get the job done in any role presented to him.
For more on all the youngsters in the Sabres pipeline, check out Kris Baker's website, SabresProspects.com. You can also follow him on Twitter (@SabresProspects).
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