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Bo Byram gaining comfort on Avalanche blue line

“I feel a lot more comfortable on the ice,” said rookie.

Mike Chambers
The Denver Post
Colorado Avalanche defenseman Cale Makar, right, celebrates his shootout goal against the Tampa Bay Lightning with defenseman Jack Johnson, left, and defenseman Bowen Byram during an NHL hockey game Saturday in Tampa, Florida.
Chris O’Meara/The Associated Press

Bo Byram’s NHL learning curve is reminiscent of how quickly teammate Cale Makar fit in with the Avalanche two seasons ago. And make no mistake, that’s a rare development cycle.

Makar began his first full NHL season at age 20 and won the Calder Trophy as the league’s rookie of the year at 21. Byram, 20, has started the season so well he’s an early favorite to win the Calder around his 21st birthday in June.

Whether Byram does that or not, the Avs appear set for years to come with two dynamic, young end-to-end defensemen as their current top defensive pairing and cornerstones of the future.



“Such a fun pair to watch,” former Avs defenseman and current TV analyst John-Michael Liles said. “Byram has the luxury of learning from Cale while playing with him. Each can pretty much out-skate anyone else on the ice, which makes them extremely dynamic as a pairing. Add to that the puck skills and hockey IQ of both, and they are going to be fun to watch for a long, long time.” Avalanche general manager Joe Sakic promised to rebuild the league’s worst team in 2016-17 from the blue line out, and he has nailed that pledge.

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