Avalanche center prospect Shane Bowers will be suiting up for Team Canada at the upcoming World Juniors but his playing situation beyond that tournament appears to be up in the air. TVA Sports’ Mikael Lalancette reports that Drummondville of the QMJHL will be acquiring his junior rights from Saint John on January 6th. The trade can’t be made official until then because he’s playing in that tournament.
The Voltigeurs are not the first team to try to get him to play in the QMJHL. He was drafted by Cape Breton back in 2015 and then redrafted by Saint John one year later but Bowers has remained firm on his college commitment thus far. Not surprisingly, the return for his rights involves multiple conditional draft picks and Lalancette notes that there is no firm commitment from Bowers to report just yet.
The 19-year-old is in his sophomore season at Boston University and is off to a quieter year offensively thus far with just five goals and three assists through 15 games. That comes off the heels of a very strong freshman campaign where he had 32 points in 40 contests while he was a key part of the return in the Matt Duchene trade back in November of 2017.
Interestingly enough, if Bowers reports, this wouldn’t be the first time this happened to a Colorado prospect at Boston University. Winger A.J. Greer was in his second season with Boston University back in 2015-16 before suddenly changing course and suiting up with Rouyn-Noranda of the QMJHL in mid-December. He then signed his entry-level deal in July of 2016 and has gone back and forth between the Avalanche and their AHL affiliates since then.
If Bowers does indeed go to Drummondville, the timeline for him turning pro would undoubtedly be accelerated. He’d lose his remaining NCAA eligibility while if he were to remain in junior past this season, he’d be in his overage year; first-round picks (which he is) hardly ever play that final season of eligibility. In other words, a commitment to play in junior for the rest of the season is essentially a commitment to turn pro for 2019-20. Once his World Junior tournament is over, he’s going to have a big decision to make on his playing future.