Madison Bowey – D – Kelowna Rockets
6’1 ft. 195 LBS
69 GP – 12G – 18A – 30 PTS
Bowey pushes the pace of the game and has the ability to control the rush, his high end skating ability keeps defenders back peddling as he break out of the defensive zone and work the play thru the neutral zone. His first steps are quick and allow him to pinch effectively with the ability to recover his positioning. The key here is his ability to make plays at high speed and how that translates to his NHL future, I see it continuing to develop moving forward but it could use small improvement.
Bowey’s point totals don’t do his pure hockey ability justice from my observations. A coveted right shot D man, that shot was one of the best I saw in the WHL this season (better slap and wrist shot than Seth Jones IMO), his ability to skate at high speed backs off defenders in such a way that he becomes very effective on zone entries. He handles the puck extremely well, and works the line in an elusive manner that helps him maximize the space at the point and work the puck deep to his forwards. Never afraid to make moves into the slot he is hard to track because of his quick first steps and ability to carry the puck with his head up at all times. Difficult to read when making decisions, Bowey has a knack for getting the puck on the net (12 goals in 2012/13) and does so in a variety of ways, one move I found very effective for him was working himself toward the slot faking like was going to pass the whole time only to fire a shot on that routinely fooled goalies and defenders.
A high speed North-South skater with an elusive ability to move East-West, Bowey moves up the ice with a strong and powerful stride, he is a multi-dimensional skater when moving forward and driving the puck up the ice, keeps defenders back peddling and uses his body well. Reverse skating is just as elite and keeps pace when tracking most forwards on the their attack, his quick feet allow him to gamble a bit and recover position easier. He was one of the most fluid defenders in the WHL this season and I would call his skating top 5-7 in this draft.
Gifted with a high offensive IQ Bowey did not disappoint when given the opportunity to preform, however he has made a conscience effort to work on the defensive side of his game and has taken strides in this area, his gap control and timing have come a long way since the start of the season as loose defensive play is rarely tolerated in Kelowna. Gifted with that great reverse stride he closes off opponents quickly and rubs them out with authority, but on several occasions during the season got a little out of control and took unnecessary penalties for being over aggressive (Cross checks, roughing, interference) as his PIMs spiked from 39 in his first full year to 75 this season.
Bowey is a two-way defenseman with potential to have serious offensive upside, his ability to put up points was slightly hampered by the defense first system played by the Rockets, and his general lack of first unit PP time, but when give the opportunity he was very effective, especially when playing with fellow draft eligible player Mitch Wheaton. Bowey a young man who has seen a general lack of limelight because of top heavy draft, looked poised when chosen to represent Canada at the U18, he’s a humble well spoken guy and generally looked excited when I brought up the draft to him. Look for Bowey to be returned to Kelowna after suiting up for a few NHL games, I see a breakout year for him and increased opportunity with a few Rockets possibly moving on, but mostly because he is the best defenseman in Kelowna at this time. Which is a statement that should not be taken lightly. Like most 18-year-old prospects Bowey needs to add some strength and it would not shock me to see him play at 215-220 lbs one day. Tough to project an NHL comparable in this situation, reminds me a little of Subban however should develop into a more elite skater, should be a special player. Could go as high as 15, could slip out of the first round but I doubt it.
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