On Friday night in Vancouver, the Avalanche had an opportunity to change the future course of the franchise. Holding two first rounds picks – Nos. 4 and 16 – Colorado was sitting in a position to grab a pair of players who should be wearing burgundy sweaters for the next decade.
By night’s end, Joe Sakic had made his choices. First, he grabbed defenseman Bowen Byram, an 18-year-old sensation from Canada who will bring some electricity to Colorado’s blue line. Then, he selected Alex Newhook, a center who has been a scoring machine at every level.
Both of these players are young, so it’ll take time for them to develop and become regular contributors with the Avs. But they both have star potential.
Here are the pre-draft scouting reports on each player:
Bowen Byram | D | Vancouver Giants (WHL)
The best offensive defenseman in the draft, Byram can control his team’s attack from the blue line. He has great acceleration, which makes him lethal on breakaways. Byram is also terrific at getting ahead of the play to set up opponents, which he does often through his silky passes. But he’s far from just an offensive threat. At 6-foot, 194 pounds, he has the size to battle on both ends. And he has just enough nasty to pull it all together.
Alex Newhook | C | Victoria Grizzlies (BCHL)
Newhook dominated the BCHL, racking up 102 points in just 53 games, putting him head and shoulders ahead of the competition. The center is effective because of his world-class speed, as he seems to have a different gear than others on the ice. But it’s not just his ability to move from one spot to another quickly, it’s the fact that Newhook can operate at top speed in an effective manner that makes him such a deadly scorer.
Those glowing reviews should have Avalanche fans excited. Joe Sakic added some future firepower to the roster.