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Prospect Profile - #25 Blaine Byron

Our Top 25 Under 25 series kicks off with 2013 6th round draft pick Blaine Byron.

Al Bello

Who is this guy?

Blaine Byron is a 5'11" 163lbs 18 year old Center from Osgoode, Ontario who was drafted by the Pittsburgh Penguins in the 6th round of the 2013 NHL Draft.

What are they saying about him?

The Red Line Report called him "one of the most underrated players" and "best pure skaters" of the 2013 Draft, while also raving about his stickhandling ability. Assistant Director of Amateur Scouting Randy Sexton said "Blaine is a very smart player. He will grow a little bit more. Smart, skilled, creative playmaker."

Byron has been noted for his speed, vision, puck handling, and play making abilities. He has also shown an excellent ability to play the point on the power play. During the 2013 Prospect Development Camp he was one of the standout players, noted for his impressive breakaway opportunities and Datsyukian dekes.

However, due to his size and his relative inexperience having only played against Tier II opponents he is considered a long term project. Last year he was recognized by the CCHL, being named Third Team All-Star and receiving an award as the Top Prospect.

Where has he been?

Byron spent the past 2 seasons playing in the Central Canadian Hockey League (CCHL), a Canadian Junior A league. He was the Kemptville 73s' top scorer in 2011-12 and served as their Alternate Captain and again top scorer until partway through the season when he went to the Smiths Falls Bears.

When can we expect to see him?

Byron is heading to the University of Maine this season, so unless he drops out of school early it will be another 4 years until he turns pro. As has been noted, he is quite undersized for an NHL player, so the hope is that over the next 4 seasons he will bulk up and possibly even continue to grow taller, as he is only 18.

Beyond that there has been suggestions that he could stand to become more comfortable shooting the puck, since as a playmaker he tends to play with a pass first mentality. With that in mind, it would probably benefit him and the organization for him to continue to develop in the NCAA for the next 4 years before making a push to join the WBS Baby Pens or Wheeling Nailers after graduation and work his way up through the system to Pittsburgh from there.

Why is he #25?

Based on the fan vote, Byron received 1 vote for #20, 1 vote for #22, 2 votes for #23, 1 vote for #25, and 4 that omitted him from the Top 25.

How can he climb the list?

The easy answer is time. He could stand to bulk up a bit and he needs experience competing against tough opponents in the NCAA. And as mentioned adding more of a goal scorer mentality to his repertoire would certainly help. By next July, with a year of college under his belt, he could be even more impressive at Prospect Camp.