Byram and Krebs ranked in top 10 to start season
It seems Cranbrook’s Bowen Byram and the Kootenay ICE’s Peyton Krebs remain somewhat connected as they enter pivotal years in their Western Hockey League (WHL) careers.
Having played on various national teams already in their young careers, the local lad playing for the Vancouver Giants and the star forward for the local WHL team, Kootenay ICE, are already receiving National Hockey League draft interest ahead of the start of the regular season.
Byram, a 6’1” blueliner, is rated as the sixth overall NHL draft prospect for the 2019 entry draft by TSN’s Craig Button, while ICE centre Krebs is rated eighth overall.
Small but dynamic American centre Jack Hughes, brother of Vancouver Canucks prospect Quinn Hughes, is widely regarded as the top prospect this year, followed by, according to Buttons, Lethbridge Hurricanes centre Dylan Cozens and Swedish defender Philip Broberg, Finnish forward Kaapa Kakko and Russian winger Vasili Podkolzin. Halifax Mooseheads winger Raphael Lavoie is ranked one spot ahead of Krebs, who notched 54 points, including 17 goals, in 54 games with the ICE in 2017/18.
The steady and smooth Byram finished his last campaign with the Giants with 27 points in 60 games.
Big Saskatoon Blades forward Kirby Dach is rated ninth overall.
In WHL pre-season action Saturday the ICE knocked off the Portland Winterhawks at Kennewick, Washington 4-3.
First-year forward Connor McLennon (two goals and an assist), blueliner Dallas Hines with a goal and two helpers and Krebs with three assists paced the ICE to victory. Gilian Kohler also scored for the ICE. Matt Berlin held the fort in net, stopping 22 of 25 shots.
The ICE have won two of five pre-season tilts so far, with two more to go including Friday, Sept. 14 at Invermere’s Eddie Mountain Memorial Arena against the Calgary Hitmen and a final prep match against the Hitmen in Calgary on Sept. 15.
The ICE welcome those same Hitmen at Western Financial Place to open the 2018/19 WHL season on Saturday, Sept. 22. Game time is 7 p.m.
Lead image: Peyton Krebs and Bowen Byram suited up for Canada’s U18 team earlier this year.