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Looking Ahead: Paul Byron

August 22, 2019, 1:33 PM ET [399 Comments]
Karine Hains
Montreal Canadiens Blogger • RSSArchiveCONTACT
Last season, Byron was in the last year of his first contract with the Habs giving him $ 1 166 667 per year but thankfully for him, he had signed a contract extension before his season was plague by injury. In the end, Byron was only on the ice for 56 games and managed to log in 31 points…Had he stayed healthy, chances are that he would have had a career year since his all time high is 43 points.

Come this season, Byron will be in the first year of a 4-year pact paying him $ 3 400 000 a year. There is no doubt that number 41 is an intricate part of the Canadiens’ line-up, his jersey was adorned with a letter last season and Claude Julien kind of uses him as a Jack of all trades. Need someone to fill in on the first line? Get Byron. Need someone to plug a hole on the 4th line and that won’t complain about ice-time? Just ask Byron. Need somebody to kill penalties and fly away with the puck on a breakaway? Lord Byron is your man! The only issue is that Byron always had health issues in Calgary and that’s why he struggled to established himself there and ended on waivers. His second and third seasons with the Habs when he played 81 and 82 games were the exception and not the rule. Prior to that, he had logged in campaigns of 47, 57 and 62 games so it’s fair to say that his 56 games contribution from last season was kind of a return to normal.

Where will Byron slot in this season? Your guess is as good as mine to be honest. He’s technically a left wing but he’s proven time and time again that he can also play on his off side. Considering the fact that Andrew Shaw was shipped back to the Hawks this summer, it’s not entirely impossible to see Byron land on the right side in the top six. Personally, I’d rather see him there over Joel Armia. He’s got more speed and plays with more heart and determination. Of course, Armia is much bigger and can protect the puck but there’s no need to protect the puck as much when people cannot catch you up. Right now though, Dailyfaceoff slots him in as the 4th line left winger.

If Byron intends to stay with the Canadiens for the duration of his 4-year contract, now is the time for him to shine and force the Habs front office to protect him in the next expansion draft. As things stand, I believe he is a strong candidate for exposure…it’s impossible to protect everyone and if health is a factor well, Byron starts with a couple of strikes. That being said, he was twice the winner of the Jacques Beauchamp trophy as the team’s unsung heroes and his leadership role is well established.

For both Byron and the Habs’ sake, let’s hope that lady luck is kind to the roadrunner v. 2.0 this season and that he’s allowed to contribute to the full extent of his talent. Hopefully, there won't be anymore charging suspension leading to retaliation like this:

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