The Avalanche added more depth to their prospect pool in the Matt Duchene trade. But while it’s easier for Avs fans to watch Samuel Girard and Vladislav Kamenev in Colorado and San Antonio, respectively, some of you may not know who Shane Bowers is yet.
Bowers’s backstory is an intriguing one. A native of Halifax, Nova Scotia, he was drafted fourth overall by the Cape Breton Screaming Eagles in the 2015 QMJHL Draft, but elected not to follow in the footsteps of fellow Nova Scotians Sidney Crosby and Nathan MacKinnon and play in the league, instead choosing to keep his collegiate options open. With junior leagues in the Maritimes not heavily scouted, Bowers set his sights on the United States Hockey League and landed in Iowa with the Waterloo Black Hawks after receiving permission from Hockey Canada to play in the States.
The USHL can be ridiculously difficult to score in, especially for 16- and 17-year-olds, but no one told that to Bowers. After a very respectable first season in which he put up 33 points in 56 games and was named to the league’s Second All-Rookie Team, Bowers became one of the USHL’s marquee talents in year 2. Centering Wild draft pick Nick Swaney and undrafted Kevin Charyszyn, Bowers’s 22 goals and 51 points were good enough for top ten in the league, and the most among Canadians by a fair margin.
Bowers, who skated for Team Canada at the Under-17 and Under-18 levels, had offers from most of the top schools and chose to play at Boston University, a school with 12 draft picks on their current roster. Although the Terriers have struggled in the early going, Bowers has not, and as of November 8 has four goals and two assists while finding a consistent role on a line with Predators pick Patrick Harper and top 2018 Draft prospect, Brady Tkachuk.
In my one live viewing of Bowers thus far this season, an early-season game at Quinnipiac, I came away impressed. The game was very physical, but it did not take him off his game in the least, and he scored his first career goal in overtime crashing the net for a rebound.
I don’t know when exactly Bowers will sign his first NHL contract, but given his status as a first-round draft pick and that he’s now in the Colorado organization, it is probable that he will either turn pro after this season or following his sophomore campaign. I definitely see an NHLer in his future, and I think he will turn out to be an underrated piece of this blockbuster deal with Ottawa and Nashville.