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2024 Player Report Card: Bowen Byram

Mar 24, 2024; Calgary, Alberta, CAN; Buffalo Sabres defenseman Bowen Byram (4) skates with the puck against the Calgary Flames during the second period at Scotiabank Saddledome. Mandatory Credit: Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports

Promising new addition to defense gives Buffalo hope for the future.

Total Season Stats: 11G, 18A | 29 PTS | 53 PIM

Sabres Season Stats: 3G, 6A | 9 PTS | 13 PIM

Age: 22

Contract Status: $3,850,000 AAV; will be RFA at the end of the 2024-2025 season

Having just joined Buffalo during the last weeks of the regular season in exchange for forward Casey Mittelstadt, Bowen Byram has already made quite an impression. On March 7th, he became the first defenseman since Alexei Zhitnik in 1995 to score a goal in his first game with the team following a trade. Even more impressive? It was his first shot on goal sporting a Sabres jersey that found the back of the net.

A few games later, Byram turned heads again as the first defenseman in Sabres history to score three or more goals in his first three appearances with the team. In his short time in the NHL, he has exhibited elite talent with his smooth and fast skating, puck control, and calm demeanor, which stuck out like a sore thumb (in a good way) during his first month and a half in Buffalo. It was brought to the attention of the fans – even more than was already known – how poorly this team has been coached over the last few seasons as Byram came in with poise, stepping up both offensively and defensively. He seemed to do more on the offensive side, though, under the direction of former head coach Don Granato.

Looking back, the Canadian defenseman spent his first years in the NHL with the Colorado Avalanche after being drafted in the first round back in 2019 before making his way to the Queen City. To his advantage, he came to Buffalo already knowing a few familiar faces on the team after representing Team Canada together: Dylan Cozens, Peyton Krebs, and Jack Quinn, respectively. At only 22 years old, Byram fits in with his new, young teammates and has great potential to succeed as the club looks to begin a new era under head coach Lindy Ruff.

He began playing alongside Sabres “veteran” and fellow offensive-defenseman Rasmus Dahlin in his debut and will certainly be an asset like his counterpart on both the power play and penalty kill – two areas that are desperately in need of resuscitation for the 2024-2025 season. If coached correctly, Byram is sure to stay toward the top of the team’s defensive pairings and has the potential to pair well with more defensive players like Mattias Samuelsson or Owen Power.

Season Grade*: A

*Grade based on a very short time with Buffalo so far.

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