There is no specific need at forward for the New York Rangers to address. However, adding a center is never a bad strategy in a league that relies heavily on them. We take a look at one in Shane Bowers.
In the 2017 NHL Entry draft, the New York Rangers will have a number of quality players available to select in the first round. Perhaps not eye-popping, game-changing talent that you hope to find at the top of the draft. However, sometimes teams can find a diamond in the rough, or at the very least, find a solid career NHLer.
Shane Bowers is not in the same mold as the other forward we have profiled here. Klim Kostin is a big-bodied and talented power forward with the cliché “Russian Factor” that hangs on him as a question mark.
Nor is he Kailer Yamamoto, the small, speedy, crafty winger that also projects to go near the middle to end of round one.
Now that we have covered who Bowers is not, let’s take a look at who he is.
Who is Shane Bowers?
Shane Bowers is a left-shot Canadian-born center with “NHL” size, listed at the NHL Combine as 6’1.5″ and 178lbs. He describes himself as a “complete two-way, three zone player”.
Kris Baker describes him succinctly:
"The hard-working Shane Bowers is a well-developed two-way player with a great feel for the offensive game. He’s smart and physical with a very reliable straight-line style. Bowers’ well-rounded skill set and lineup versatility should provide limited risk to any team drafting him."
Bowers seems to fit the mold of perhaps a Ryan Callahan or Brandon Dubinsky. He’s a player that won’t necessarily “wow” you but isn’t a purely defensive forward.
Furthermore, he isn’t afraid to get to the dirty areas to score. He scored many goals by tipping in shots in the slot while screening the goalie or driving to the net. Finally, his shot doesn’t necessarily jump out at you but he places it well.
The video above is a pretty good snapshot of his game. On the first goal, he digs the puck out of the corner to quickly dish to his linemate. On the second, he take the puck in stride, drives wide right to the net and out-waits the goalie to deposit the puck into the open net.
The 2016-17 season was Bowers’ second on the Waterloo Black Hawks of the USHL. Bowers put up 22 goals and 51 points in 60 games, good for 12th in league scoring. This was a marked jump up from his rookie campaign, where he totaled 15 goals and 33 points in 56 games.
Unfortunately, Bowers had a short postseason, only scoring two goals and an assist in six games.
Another encouraging sign was his increased shot generation. Bowers’ averaged 2.70 shots per game last season compared to 1.96 his rookie season.
Additionally, interestingly enough, his increased point production was a direct result of his increased shot generation. He shot 13.58% in 2016-17 compared to 13.64% in 2015-16.
- 26 – Hockeyprospect.com
- 27 – ISS Hockey
- 31 – Future Considerations
- 29 – McKeen’s Hockey
- 16 – NHL Central Scouting (North American Skaters)
(courtesy of EliteProspects)
Bowers is described as a “safe” and “low risk” pick, which isn’t so appealing when tantalizing boom-or-bust players may be available. However, the Rangers seem to like to hedge their bets in the first round as of late. He is also college-bound player, which the Rangers like to scout and pick.
Recent Rangers’ first round picks of J.T. Miller and Brady Skjei both fall into this category. It should be noted that sometimes making the “safe” pick can pay off in spades. For example, Miller and certainly Skjei were not projected to have as much of an impact when they were drafted.
Bowers is committed to, and expected to attend Boston University for the 2017-18 season. He will likely play there for two or three seasons, giving him time to add some bulk to his frame. If not, his rights are held by the QMJHL’s Saint John’s Sea Dogs.
The flashier players may very well have been drafted by the time the Rangers are on the clock at 21. They should feel comfortable in drafting Bowers, even if he isn’t “exciting”.