When Samuel Girard was injured in the second round of the playoffs, Avs coach Jared Bednar kept his other pairings the same and put replacement Jack Johnson with Josh Manson.

But in the midst of in-game changes, Manson often skated with young blueliner Bowen Byram. The development of Byram’s game throughout the postseason — especially after Girard’s injury, made him another weapon for Bednar from the back end.

Colorado had started the playoffs with its usual top pair of Cale Makar and Devon Toews and had Girard skating with Manson. That was the duo Bednar was most excited for after Manson was acquired at the deadline.

The third pairing was made up of veteran Erik Johnson and Byram.

Listen to “Preseason Radio” on Spreaker.

The Avalanche dressed all of their top six defensemen in Monday’s 3-1 preseason victory over the Dallas Stars at American Airlines Center.

And Byram was once again paired with Manson, dropping a now healthy Girard down to the third pair with Johnson.

“I really like Bo and Mans played together throughout the playoffs and down the stretch run,” Bednar said. “So I think that’s a really good option.”

The Avs have the luxury of a well-balanced defense core. Toews, Byram and Girard all shoot left, while Makar, Manson and Johnson are right-handed shooters. Toews and Makar made up the NHL’s best pair last season and will once again remain together when healthy. The other two pairings could still be shuffled.

“We have the righties and lefties now,” Bednar said. “It’ll be Manson and EJ with one of each of those guys.”

Byram is looking to have a breakout season in a big way. The 21-year-old suffered from head injuries in the regular season and took a lengthy leave of absence as he fought back from his second concussion in as many years.

But his evolution in the playoffs was among the most impressive performances Colorado had en route to the Stanley Cup. Byram went from depth piece to having the highest time on ice in the Game 6 clincher against Tampa Bay.

If Byram could do for a full season what he did in the playoffs, he’ll be regarded as one of the best in the NHL.

Starting with Manson is just the next step in his development.

Aarif Deen is our Colorado Avalanche beat reporter. He covers Avs games live from Ball Arena and attends practices, media availabilities and other events pertaining to the Avs on the daily beat. He is also a co-host of Hockey Mountain High: Your go-to Avalanche Podcast. Deen joined Mile High Sports upon completion of his bachelor’s degree in journalism and master’s in business administration from the University of Michigan – Dearborn. Before Mile High Sports, Deen worked for the Michigan Wolverines Athletics Department as the assistant sports information director.

Listen to “Preseason Radio” on Spreaker.