Bowen Byram joined Buffalo on March 6. ©2024, Micheline Veluvolu

Sabres notes: Bowen Byram adjusting to Buffalo following trade

BUFFALO – Following a torrid start – three goals and four points in his first three games – Sabres newcomer Bowen Byram has understandably cooled off.

Byram, 22, joined the Sabres in a significant trade March 6 that sent center Casey Mittelstadt to the Colorado Avalanche. While he has certainly showcased some of his talent here, the defenseman must acclimate to a new organization, teammates, expectations, surroundings and more.

“Lots of challenges, lots of getting to know new people and how the organization is run, and lots of new stuff on the ice to get used to and learn from,” Byram said prior to Tuesday’s 6-2 win over the Washington Capitals in KeyBank Center. “So it’s a process. It’s not going to happen overnight.”

Byram, the fourth overall pick in 2019, left the comfort of Colorado, where he had spent his entire career and won the Stanley Cup in 2022. Tuesday’s game will be just his 159th NHL appearance and 13th with the Sabres.

In his first seven outings with Buffalo, Byram compiled three goals and five points while averaging 24 minutes, 9 seconds of ice time, usually alongside top defenseman Rasmus Dahlin. In his last five contests entering Tuesday’s game, Byram had one assist while averaging 20 minutes, 23 seconds.

The Sabres recently moved him alongside defenseman Henri Jokiharju and to the second power-play unit.

“There’s lots of challenges,” Sabres coach Don Granato said of Byram adapting to a new team. “You factor in just where he’s at in his career. He doesn’t have a lot of games played, he’s young. There’s constant adapting and learning as a player. He jumps from the Western Conference to the Eastern Conference, players you play over and over in the Western Conference, you’re getting familiar with different ones. … So you’re taking in lots and lots of information.”

In Colorado, for example, Byram played man-on-man defense, a system most NHL teams have dumped for zone defense, like the Sabres.

“It’s weird coming from somewhere where I played a different system for three and a half years,” he said. “… I feel a little awkward out there sometimes, just getting used it, but it’s a process.”

Granato said Byram has “done an incredible job” quickly adjusting to a new style.

“But it’s easier for a younger guy also to do that, and a guy with the athleticism that he has,” he said. “So I think he’s done a great job, and it’s really exciting to see, not only how far he’s come in a short time, but how far he can go. He’s a very talented guy that changes the dynamic not of our back end, but changes the dynamic of our team.”

Winger Jordan Greenway will miss Tuesday’s game with an upper-body injury and is being shut down for a few days, according to the Sabres.

Granato said Greenway underwent imaging Monday and saw the doctor.

“That was all good news,” he said.

Still, the Sabres want to give Greenway, who participated in Tuesday morning’s optional skate, time to recover.

Granato said wingers Eric Robinson and Lukas Rousek, who has missed the last three games after getting high-sticked during practice last week, will return to the lineup Tuesday. Center Tyson Jost will be scratched.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *