The St. Louis Blues have selected center Shane Bowers from the Waterloo Black Hawks of the United States Hockey League, using the 27th overall pick acquired from the Washington Capitals in the Kevin Shattenkirk trade.
Bowers is a rarity in the USHL, a native of Halifax, Nova Scotia who opted to forego playing in the QMJHL in order to retain his NCAA eligibility. After a solid rookie season in the USHL in 2015-16, where he put up a 15-18-33 scoring line (plus-6, 16 PM, 1 PP, 2 GW) in 56 games, Bowers committed to Eastern power Boston University early in the 2016-17 season.
Respected independent scouting service ISS has Bowers ranked at 27th overall, but do not have him selected in the first round of their mock draft. Consistency, and explosiveness in his skating, are cited by ISS as areas in which Bowers could improve, and listed at just over 6’ 1 and 178 pounds, he is a tad undersized for the “ideal” NHL center. ISS does rank Bowers as the third-best defensive forward available in this draft, and rated him as “Very Good” in the areas of Size and Strength (emphasis on Strength), Shot, Defensive Play, Physical Play, and Competitiveness, and “Excellent” in terms of Hockey Sense. Vancouver center Brandon Sutter is listed by ISS as the NHL player to whom Bowers best compares.
Most of the other independent scouting services have Bowers ranked right about here, near the end of the first round. The HockeyProspect.com “2017 Black Book” has Bowers ranked 26th overall, while FutureConsiderations.ca has him ranked 31st overall and McKeen’s has him at 29th. NHL Central Scouting ranked Bowers the 13th-best prospect in North America at Midterm and 16th in their Final rankings.