Chicago Blackhawks NHL Draft: Top 6 options at no. 3 overall

(Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
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Chicago Blackhawks Patrick Kane
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3. Bowen Byram

This could be the biggest sleeper pick for the Chicago Blackhawks at third overall. Bowen Byram is the top defensive prospect in the world going into this draft. It is well documented that the Hawks need help on the blue line and there is a possibility that they try to address the issue via the third overall pick.

Bowen Byram leads all defenseman in the 2019 NHL Draft rankings. He plays his junior hockey for the Vancouver Giants and turns 18 years old just a few weeks before the draft in June. In 67 games played he has 26 goals and 45 assists for 71 points from the blue line. Those are impressive numbers from the back end, even for junior hockey.

A guy like this might not come in and make the team right away like a Rasmus Dahlin or Charlie McAvoy did in their rookie years, but it shouldn’t take too long for him to jump into an NHL lineup. The only negative to the possibility of waiting for him to be ready is the age of the Blackhawks core. They might be a bit past their prime by the time Byram is truly ready but that is always the risk you take when you draft a defenseman. That is the hardest position to develop doing it the right way.

Byram is highly touted for his two-way game that will look to play heavy minutes once his career gets going. He is hopeful to be the kind of guy who plays in every situation in and excel in all three zones. He is often compared to Toronto Maple Leafs’ defenseman Morgan Rielly. Rielly is a top-flight player and could be in the conversation for the Norris Trophy which goes to the best defenseman in the league. If Byram ended up being even 80 percent as good as Rielly, that would be a huge success for whoever drafts him.