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Bowen Byram returns to WHL’s Vancouver Giants

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The Avalanche sent their top prospect back to junior

Colorado Avalanche v Vegas Golden Knights Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images

The Colorado Avalanche made a handful of additional roster cuts on Thursday morning, trimming down their NHL lineup after their successful 4-1 victory over the Vegas Golden Knights last night on the road.

They may have pulled off a resounding win over their conference opponents, but 2019 fourth overall pick Bowen Byram struggled a bit with puck protection and physical play against the bigger NHL competition during preseason action. So it’s not a huge surprise to see that he was a part of the cuts made on Thursday morning; he’ll be heading back to the Vancouver Giants of the WHL, where he aims to win a Memorial Cup this year before challenging for an NHL roster spot this coming year instead.

Byram, a native of Cranbrook, BC, has been one of the most dynamic defensive players to come out of the Western Hockey League in years. He finished off his draft-eligible season with an incredible 26 goals and 71 points in 67 games, boasting incredible skating prowess and fantastic offensive skills.

Even in junior, though, he’s struggled a bit with the defensive side of the game at times — so it’s not a huge surprise that the Avalanche are hoping to see him mature a little bit more before he gets another look at the NHL level. Given that he just turned 18 a few weeks before the 2019 draft, he’s got plenty of developing — both physically and from a talent perspective — left to do.