Bowen Byram is close to being back and will help the Avs in the playoffs
Bowen Byram was recalled by the Colorado Avalanche on Monday from their AHL affiliate, the Colorado Eagles. The news was first reported by Peter Baugh.
When Byram steps on the ice in the burgundy and blue it will be the first time playing for the Avs since January 10th. Following a game at home to the Seattle Kraken, Byram stepped away from the team due to lingering effects from a concussion suffered in a game against the Vancouver Canucks on November 11th. The young defender had played in seven games since being injured before having to step away for an unknown length of time.
This was the third concussion of Byram’s NHL career which is worrying since he has only played in 37 games for the Avs. The Avalanche have suffered numerous injuries to players this season including recently with Nazem Kadri suffering an upper-body injury last Thursday against the San Jose Sharks that will likely keep him out until the playoffs.
Byram’s return to the Avalanche lineup could be coming at a perfect time as the team has two other defenders currently out. Samuel Girard has been out since March 8 with a lower-body injury but has begun skating in anticipation of a return, and Ryan Murray remains out with an upper-body injury that occurred after blocking a shot against the Edmonton Oilers a couple of weeks ago.
If Byram is able to make his return to the lineup on the Avalanche’s upcoming three-game road trip it will be much needed in the race for the President’s Trophy awarded to the team with the most points in the NHL. In that race, the Avalanche have a two-point advantage over the Florida Panthers with both teams having played 69 games. The team traveled to Pittsburgh for a game Tuesday night against the Penguins and Byram was part of the party that made the trip which may hint toward a return this week. In 18 games for the Avs this season, Byram has collected 11 points from five goals and six assists while playing at least 18 minutes per night.
The 20-year-old Canadian was asserting himself as a top-four defenseman before the injury and had shown the potential of being a cornerstone piece for the Avs in the future alongside Cale Makar. Had a concussion not put a stop to his season Byram could have very well been in contention for the Calder Trophy given to the NHL’s rookie of the year. As of now Makar and Devon Toews have shown that they are the top defensive pairing for the Avalanche with the second and third pairings being shaken up due to the injuries to Girard and Murray along with the addition of Josh Manson from the Anaheim Ducks.
The best-case scenario for the Avs and Byram would be for him to return to the same level he was at before and fit right back in the second pairing. He had been paired with Erik Johnson early in the season, but it would not surprise me if he ends up being paired with either Jack Johnson or Manson. With both Jack Johnson and Manson, Byram would be the far better offensive defenseman and would add more scoring depth to an already lethal team.
The worst-case situation would be that Byram returns and still needs time to adjust to the speed of play. This worry is part of the reason why he was sent to the AHL. He played a game for the Eagles against the Ontario Reign, the AHL affiliate of the Los Angeles Kings. This is a possibility, but it is more important to get used to NHL play especially with the playoffs just around the corner.
I think that Byram has the potential to be a very crucial player for the Avs in the playoffs and will be another blueliner that can turn a game around on the offensive end as well. If the Avs are going to finally make a run to the Stanley Cup then Byram’s play will be even more important depending on when Girard and Murray return to play.
If Bowen Byram does come back to the level of play he was capable of then it will be great for the Avs and the NHL as it is never good to see a young player suffer such a serious injury so early in his career.
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