The Los Angeles Kings are coming off of their worst season since 2007-08 and have a chance to add another game-breaking defenseman in the draft like they did that year.
The Kings had 71 points that season and drafted Drew Doughty with the No.2 overall pick. This season they also had 71 points and there is a good chance that Bowen Byram will be there for them at No.5 overall.
In recent drafts, the Kings have went very forward heavy and would love to add the top defenseman of this year’s class to a group that currently includes Mikey Anderson, who was USA’s captain at the 2019 U20 World Juniors, and Kale Clague, who was their top pick (No.51 overall) in 2016.
Los Angeles also has the No.22 overall pick in this year’s draft and could add another forward at that point—their top forward prospects include:
With the No.5 Overall Pick in the 2019 NHL Draft, the Los Angeles Kings select…
Bowen Byram — D — Canada 🇨🇦
Byram is arguably the third best player available in this draft, but the Kings are fortunate that the Chicago Blackhawks and Colorado Avalanche already have really good defensive prospects and may pass on Byram.
Oddly enough, Byram has drawn comparisons to Doughty. They are similar in stature—Byram (6-foot, 194 lbs.), Doughty (6-foot-1, 202 lbs.)—and both play at a high rate of speed with high intensity and can rack up massive offensive numbers while playing extremely sound defensive games. Skill-wise, he obviously is not Doughty right now but stylistically they are very comparable.
Bryam spent the entire season with the Vancouver Giants of the Western Hockey League, where he was second on his team with 71 points (26G / 45A) in 67 games. His 26 goals were highest among WHL defenseman and he went on to become the first blueliner to lead the WHL Playoffs in scoring since 1986. A draft-eligible defenseman scoring eight goals with 18 assists (26 points) in 22 playoff games is an awfully impressive feat and speaks volumes to how elite Byram is offensively.
Adding a player with Doughty-like qualities that can learn from Doughty himself for the next 5-to-10 years makes Byram an even more intriguing pick for the Kings.
The NHL team that drafts Bowen Byram is getting a very complete defenseman who, despite not turning 18 until a week before the draft, is knocking on the door to play in the league. Byram may not have the skill level of John Klingberg or the skating of P.K. Subban, but he does everything at a good if not very good level. He’s such a smooth player. His skating and pace of play will translate to the NHL immediately. — Corey Pronman (The Athletic)
An exceptionally gifted defenceman that knows his strengths and plays by them. He possesses elite skating ability and is at his best when playing high energy, up-tempo hockey. He handles the puck well and is able to keep control of it under pressure. He makes calculated decisions that consistently shift momentum in his team’s favor. His creativity in the offensive zone speaks to his confidence in his ability to be a game-changer. Defensively astute, he actively takes away lanes and limits options for the oncoming opposition. All-in-all, Bowen Byram is a workhorse that understands how to take advantage of turnovers and shift the pace of play in his favor in all three zones. — Curtis Joe (Elite Prospects)
- #3 — HockeyProspect.com
- #3 — Future Considerations
- #3 — ISS Hockey
- #2 — NHL Central Scouting (NA Skaters)
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