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B.C. born Bowen Byram linked to Vancouver Canucks in potential trade

One name to keep an eye on when it comes to a potential trade between the Vancouver Canucks and Colorado Avalanche is defenceman Bowen Byram.

This, according to Thomas Drance and Rick Dhaliwal:

One name sure to interest our Vancouver audience that we were surprised to hear linked to the Canucks by one of our contacts this week, in conjunction with Colorado’s interest in Miller: Bowen Byram.

Byram, 20, has had a rocky start to his professional career. He’s appeared in just 37 games, and has been battling some serious concussion issues. His last NHL game came on Jan. 10, and since then has been dealing with both not just the concussions, but vertigo and COVID-19, too.

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In November, he spoke with The Athletic’s Peter Baugh where he said he considered ending his career.

Here’s some of what Baugh wrote:

Bowen Byram was sick of it. Sick of thinking he was better, only for symptoms to return. Sick of not being able to put everything into his offseason training. Sick of not feeling like himself.

The Avalanche defenseman called his mom one day this summer when the load got too heavy. He had felt totally out of it skating that morning. Months of frustration — of setbacks and symptoms and not knowing what was wrong — had built up. When Stacey Byram answered, he confessed a growing worry: that his career was slipping away.

“What am I going to do now?” he remembers asking. “I can’t play hockey anymore.”

Sitting in his Toyota Tacoma in Vancouver, where he trains during the offseason, he was a worn-down 20-year-old, struggling and scared. He’d never suffered a serious injury before the 2020-21 season, but in his first full year as an NHL player, he’s dealt with multiple concussions, vertigo and COVID-19, all of which have limited him to only 30 games.

At times over the summer, Byram didn’t know what symptoms were caused by what. His medical situation was perplexing, and the recovery process hasn’t been fun. The family thought at various times they were done with it, and then something else would go wrong.

Now, after it finally looked like he weathered the worst of his problems, an errant elbow has thrown him back on the roller coaster once again.

Teams have been linked to J.T. Miller for some time and rightly so. He’s been on a heater this year scoring 21 goals and 61 points — both pacing for career highs — in 54 games so far. The Canucks’ asking price for Miller is very high and this has reportedly caused the trade conversations on Miller to cool off considerably.

Trading for Byram would certainly be a risk given the issues he is battling now, but the upside as a player is clearly there. A Cranbrook native, he played his WHL hockey with the Vancouver Giants, so there may not be an NHL team who saw more of him than the Canucks. Drafted fourth overall in 2019, the aforementioned issues have held him back from gaining NHL traction.

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Zach Laing is the Nation Network’s news director and senior columnist. He can be followed on Twitter at @zjlaing, or reached by email at [email protected]