2004 Prospects: Dane Byers

By Guy Flaming





2004 Prospects: Dane Byers

The Prince Albert Raiders have three forwards that
fall in the top 30 players according to Central Scouting’s mid-season
rankings.  Dane Byers, a big punishing
winger, is slotted in at the 18th spot on the list, and is also ranked 53rd overall by International Scouting Services.

 

Byers is from Nipawin, a town lying in North-eastern
Saskatchewan, and has just completed his second season in the WHL.  After totalling 14 points in his rookie year
with the Raiders, Byers managed 17 points in his sophomore season that was
stunted by a broken finger.

 

Peter Anholt, the head coach of the Raiders,
describes Byers as the prototypical power forward.

 

“He’s a really physical player, a big strong winger,”
began Anholt.  “He skates well, hits
really hard and gets in on the forecheck. 
He comes from a high quality family and he’s a real quality kid and I
think he has a bright future in front of him just because of how he plays.”

 

Hockey’s Future spoke with Dane Byers after a March
contest in Red Deer in which he played a particularly strong game in a losing
effort.

 

 

HF:  What is
your role on this team in your second season?

DB:  I’m more
of a grinder in that I dig pucks out of the corner and make big hits to get the
team going.  If a guy wants to fight,
I’ll fight, no problem. 

 

HF:  Is it
distracting at times being that it is a draft year?

DB:  Not
really.  You just have to go out and
play your game.  You have to keep doing
what you did to get to be rated No. 18. 
You put it in the back of your mind but it’s nice to get rated so high
but at the same time you try and forget about it.

 

HF:  What was
the experience of playing in the prospects game like?

DB:  It was a
great experience.  All of the guys there
were very skilled and it was great to play all of those guys.  All of them know how to shoot or stickhandle
the puck so it was nice. 

 

HF:  Did
anyone there impress you and stand out in your mind?

DB:  (Robbie)
Schremp sure did, I thought he controlled the game. 

 

HF:  What was
your reaction to the move he pulled?

DB:  (smiles)
ah… a little bit of hot-dogging but if he can do it, then why not?  If there’s a time, I think that’s the game
to do it in. 

 

HF:  What
would a ‘successful year’ for you would consist of?

DB:  I’d like
to hit the 20-point mark, that would be nice, and I have to get my pluses back
up.

 

HF: 
You missed quite a bit of action with a broken finger earlier this
year.  How many games exactly and how is
the finger these days?

DB:  21
games.  Now it’s good and back to 100
percent. 

 

HF:  Have you
heard people making comparisons of you and current NHL players?

DB:  People
say I play like Brendan Shanahan although he gets more goals than I do but
hopefully I can start sticking them too. 

 

HF:  What are
your biggest strengths?

DB:  Banging
and crashing but also getting the puck from the corners and opening up the ice
for my teammates.

 

HF: 
I noticed tonight that you played on both the power play and the penalty
killing units.

DB:  Peter’s
given me a great chance to show my stuff and I’m really thankful for that. 

 

HF: 
You’re still young so there are bound to be areas of your game you’d
like to improve on?

DB:  Skating,
you can always improve on that.  I think
I can still improve on my shot a little bit more and also my strength.

 

HF: 
How big are you now compared to the 6’2” and 181 lb that the media guide
lists you as being?

DB:  I’m 6’2”,
185 lbs. but my brother is 6’5” and 220 lbs so… (smiles).