Photo by Amanda Bowen of RRBG Photography
Drafted in the second round (53rd overall) of the 2013 NHL Draft, Madison Bowey is one of the Capitals’ top defensive prospects not playing in the pros. Wait, scratch that–he’s one of their top prospects, and he proved this tonight as a fixture on Canada’s blue line.
Going into the draft, Bowey was lauded for his strong two-way play and skating ability. He’s only strengthened these assets since, and is entering his second year as captain of the WHL’s Kelowna Rockets. At 6’1”, Bowey uses his size to add physicality to his play, and his offensive numbers are projected to surpass those of his previous season (21G, 39A in 72 games.) There’s a lot to like about Bowey, and he gave Caps fans a taste of his abilities in his WJC debut.
Bowey has suited up for Canada before, but this is his first World Junior tournament. He and Winnipeg Jets prospect Josh Morrissey were slated to comprise Canada’s top defensive pairing, and disappoint they did not. In Canada’s 8-0 shellacking of Slovakia, Bowey recorded two assists on Canada’s third and sixth goals (scored by Robby Fabbri and Max Domi, respectively.)
Skating and size are huge components of Bowey’s game, and he put both to good use. He employed nifty footwork utilized his reach to reclaim the puck from the Slovaks. Bowey also didn’t hesitate to get physical along the boards or around the net.
Quarterbacking a power play is an important skill for offensively-inclined defensemen. While Canada’s power play wasn’t as dominant as anticipated, especially when considering their even-strength dominance, Bowey made crisp passes. He cycled the puck with ease from Canada’s own zone to Slovakia’s, frequently giving rise to what would become good scoring chances.
Bowey himself was denied on a number of quality opportunities, thanks to Slovak goalie Denis Godla. However, he helped Canada return the favor by further stifling Slovakia’s tepid offense while on the penalty kill. Bowey drew a penalty himself—two for tripping—midway through the third period. And while he fanned on a shot on Canada’s final power play, his overall performance on special teams was strong.
Bowey certainly looked like one of the premier young puck-moving defensemen tonight, and it’s hard not to wonder how a Capitals or Bears jersey would look on him next season. He retrieved the puck easily and was able to transition from zone to zone without getting caught out of position. He also showed his ability to play in a variety of situations, from 5v5 to 4v4 to shorthanded.
Of course, Slovakia is hardly a feared opponent, and Bowey and Team Canada will have the opportunity to face tougher competition Saturday at 8pm against Germany. Based on the play of the Bowey-Morrissey duo, don’t expect Coach Benoit Groulx to shake up his top pairing anytime soon.