It’s not shocking, but it is a bit surprising that the Montreal Canadiens have placed winger Paul Byron on waivers Sunday. A talented middle-six winger who plays the game with speed and is fairly reliable in his 200-foot game, he’s a bit expensive, but he could make almost any team better.
The Canadiens have made this move so they can place Byron on the taxi squad and it’s a plan that may work as his cap hit will probably keep him from getting picked up by another team. At $3.4 million over the next three seasons, he’s got a contract not a lot of teams can afford.
With the talent the Canadiens picked up this offseason on the wing, Byron has been forced into a checking role for the Habs and his ice time is down to an average of 12:36 per night. It’s not the right spot for him on an NHL team and he has no goals and just three assists in 14 games. For the Canadiens, a team that is already close to the salary cap ceiling, it’s difficult to justify paying that kind of money to a player who isn’t producing.
But, would a team take a chance? This is a guy who had consecutive seasons north of 20 goals.
The Answer is Probably No
While a couple teams could make a claim on the winger, it’s not likely to happen. Money is the most valued asset in the NHL right now and grabbing a $3.4 million winger with no goals and coming off a season in which he only played 29 games, it’s a big risk.
It would be one thing if Byron only had this season remaining on his contract. But, because he’s got two more seasons after this one, he’ll likely wind up clearing waivers and joining the Canadiens’ taxi squad.
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