July 2, 2019
4. Colorado Avalanche – Bowen Byram, D, Vancouver (WHL)
NHL Central Scouting: No. 2 (North American skaters)
Byram (6-1, 195) led Western Hockey League defenseman in goals (26) and game-winning goals (nine), and he was third with 71 points in 67 regular-season games. He also set a single-season league record with six overtime goals and led the WHL playoffs with 26 points (eight goals, 18 assists) in 22 games. He has good awareness, plays with an edge, and likes to get up in the rush. He’s a high-end, two-way defenseman considered the best at his position in the draft and a threat in all three zones who is capable of making plays under duress and in traffic.
NHL.com analysis: The Avalanche got the unquestioned best defenseman in the draft. With Cale Makar, 20, making an impact during the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs and Tyson Barrie an established top-pair defenseman, the Avalanche have the potential for a high-end group of defensemen to go with their elite forwards.