NHL Wrap: Two BC Boys Win, Cup Party Coming to Abbotsford!
Regardless of how big of a Vancouver Canucks fan he was as is kid, the focus for Colorado Avalanche defenceman Devon Toews this summer will be celebrating a Stanley Cup victory with the NHL franchise that went out of its way to acquire him in the fall of 2020.
The Abbotsford native came over from the New York Islanders, the team that drafted him in the 4th-round in 2014, for a pair of 2nd-round NHL Draft picks. It paid off for the Avalanche.
Toews ended up playing top pair minutes to the left of 2022 Norris Trophy winning defenceman Cale Makar, the “next Bobby Orr”. He was what Dallas Smith’ was to Bobby, at least for a small sample size. Or the ‘Don Sweeney’ to Makar’s ‘Ray Bourque’, the all-time leading scorer among NHL defenceman.
Their performance was impressive.
Also ready to enjoy a summer of festivities is fellow Avalanche defenceman Bowen Byram, who grew up in eastern BC, closer to the Calgary Flames market in Cranbrook. Of course, Vancouver hockey fans know him very well from his four seasons as a prolific scorer from the blueline with the Vancouver Giants of the Western Hockey League.
So prolific that in 2019 the NHL’s Central Scouting Bureau ranked him 2nd among North American skaters for that summer’s draft, before he was actually taken 4th-overall by the Avalanche.
In other words, there will be people celebrating all across the province for Byram, and maybe even with a little extra zest considering this young player’s ongoing battle with concussions during his career. His resiliency resulted in steady third-pair minutes to the left of veteran Eric Johnson.
Byram played 25:48 of ice time in the clinching game, 2nd only to Toews’s 25:56 for the Avalanche.
Now they’re hoisting the Cup, and the NHL party with Lord Stanley will start in Denver. Here’s a final look at the BC natives directly involved in the Stanley Cup Final.
Devon Toews – Colorado Avalanche – D-man – Abbotsford – 6 GP – 25:55 average ice time, 2 assists, 10 shot-on-goal, Minus-4, 6 blocked shots, 11 hits, 190 total shifts, 6:19 total power play ice time, 17:46 total penalty kill ice time
Bowen Byram – Colorado Avalanche – D-man – Cranbrook – 6 GP – 23:05 average ice time, 2 assists, 14 shots-on-goal, Plus-2, 9 blocked shots, 17 hits, 177 total shifts, 6:15 total power play time, 3:38 total penalty kill ice time
Jon Cooper – Tampa Bay Lightning – Head Coach – Prince George – Lost series.
Joe Sakic – Colorado Avalanche – General Manager – Burnaby – 3-and-2 – Won series. Bring the Cup back home?