The Colorado Avalanche are heavily promoting the debut of a young defenseman who could be a difference-maker for them down the road. In exciting news, Team Canada World Junior standout Bowen Byram will be making his NHL debut tonight versus the Los Angeles Kings.
The Avs wrote on their official website regarding the news, “On defense, rookie Bowen Byram will make his NHL debut and Greg Pateryn will skate in his first game as a member of the Avalanche. The squad will once again use an 11-forward and seven-defensemen lineup.”
The much-anticipated debut of Byram will be watched closely by a number of hockey insiders as the Avalanche already have an extremely deep blue line and Byram was selected at No. 4 overall by the Avs in the 2019 NHL Draft. He’s been a stud prospect since his draft and he won a silver medal earlier this month as a co-captain with Team Canada at the 2021 IIHF World Junior Championship.
Byram led that team in ice time, averaging 22:59 per game and he led the team’s defense in points with five. During the entire tournament, it was easy to see he wasn’t far from cracking the Avs roster despite how deep their defense corps is.
Pateryn will come in after being acquired by the Avalanche in a salary-cap saving trade that sent Ian Cole to the Minnesota Wild. Erik Johnson is the team’s healthy scratch on defense.
Big Moment for Byram
Just 19, this is a huge opportunity for Byram but it’s likely his ice time will be limited as an extra defenseman. He said he walked into the locker room and found out he was in because his name was on the lineup for Thursday’s game. He texted his dad to tell him but he hadn’t sent any other messages to friends or family.
As for how much he’ll play, it makes little sense to throw him into the deep end right away, even if he’s proven he can handle bigger minutes at every other level.
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