Montreal Canadiens 2017 NHL Draft: Shane Bowers – Determination, Intelligence, Talent

Shane Bowers (Photo by Chronicle Herald)

by Blain Potvin, Staff Writer, All Habs Hockey Magazine

As weak as some may believe the 2017 draft class to be, it is simply not the case. There are projected to be several solid top six forwards and top four defensemen available well into the second round.

The issue some may have is that they have been spoiled by the high-end talent available the last two seasons. Connor McDavid vs Jack Eichel in 2015, and Austin Matthews vs Patrik Laine in 2016 highlight the high-end talent that has spoiled hockey fans who follow the NHL Entry Draft.

This draft class possesses an excellent crop of solid two-way centers that could fit with Claude Julien’s coaching style and game plans. One such player is Halifax, Nova Scotia native, Shane Bowers.

Shane Bowers, C, Waterloo Black Hawks (USHL)

July 30, 1999 | Halifax, Nova Scotia, CAN
6-0, 170 lbs. | Shoots L | @shanebowers15
2016-’17: 60 GP, 22 G, 29 A, 51 PTS (Waterloo Black Hawks)

CSB: No. 16 (NA Skaters) | ISS: No. 23 | THN: No. 30 | HP: No. 20 | FC: No. 31

At 6-feet and 170-pounds, Bowers will never be able to overpower opposition defensemen to make space on the ice with his frame. That said, he also isn’t so small as to allow himself to be intimidated. Not too big, not too small. Not too offensive minded, not too defensively focused. Essentially, Bowers is the goldilocks of NHL prospects.

Bowers is a superb skater. He has good overall speed, a strong first step, and impressive edgework that he uses to shift in any direction without losing speed. His skating style is reminiscent of Pittsburgh Penguins captain, Sidney Crosby. It is this fundamental ability that he has built his game around.

Bowers has developed an ability to cycle the puck with aplomb. He uses his excellent core strength and wide skating base to outwit and out-battle his opponents along the boards. Once he gains possession, he protects the puck well with body position. Bowers can then use his excellent on-ice vision to feed his teammates the puck in high percentage scoring areas.

He also boasts an excellent shot. It is heavy and accurate. He has a quick release that Habs fans can relate to when they see Max Pacioretty ply his trade. Bowers also has a tendency to aggressively attack the high percentage shooting areas, and is not intimidated by the physical game required to get there.

Defensively, Bowers is more than capable. He uses his strong skating ability and aggressive style along the boards to defend. His is very capable when playing down low, helping his defensemen.

He also uses his speed to create back pressure on opposition forwards, limiting their time and space when on the rush. It is Bowers’ positional play that shows the maturity to his game, as he is rarely ever out of position.

His playing style is an interesting blend of several players. He skates in a manner similar to Crosby, he plays an aggressive offensive game similar to that of Ryan Getzlaf, and plays a defensive game similar to Patrice Bergeron. There is a lot to like about his game. He isn’t flashy, yet he is a capable north-south, 200-foot player who competes hard and can play in all situations.

All that said, despite a highly tuned and prodigious work ethic, his projected potential is at best as a second line center. He may drop down to a third line player if he is unable to fill out his thin frame to allow for the muscle needed to play the style he uses now.

Bowers has taken a less-than-conventional route to get to the draft. While he is now committed to attending Boston College in the fall of 2017, he may have been ranked higher in this draft had he chosen to follow the CHL path.

He was the fourth overall pick of the Cape Breton Screaming Eagles in the 2015 QMJHL draft. However, he chose not to report to them, and signed with the Waterloo Black Hawks of the USHL instead to retain his NCAA eligibility.

In doing so, he may have helped his long-term hockey career path. Choosing the NCAA route will allow him to develop the size he will need to become a more effective NHL player. With Pat Brisson as his advisor, he has one of the most experienced NHL agents helping to guide him to his goal.

Bowers is a player that is a safe bet to be in the NHL. However, that path will still require several seasons to build to. He requires to fill his frame, and progress his overall game. Playing for David Quinn at Boston University will help him do just that. If Marc Bergevin were to select Bowers, it would address the significant lack of depth at the center position, and add a serious boost of skill as well.

Edited by Donna Sim

Need to catch up on potential draftees? You will find the All Habs draft archive here or use the quick links below to check out our most recent articles on the 2017 NHL Entry Draft.

2017 NHL Entry Draft on All Habs Hockey Magazine
In case you missed them! Here are the most recent articles on the draft.
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