Paul Byron’s 2017-18 season ended with another 20 goals on his career record. After playing 81 games in his second season with the Montreal Canadiens, he was in the lineup for all 82 of his third campaign, though he apparently had to play through a nagging injury to do so.
April 18, 2018: Paul Byron undergoes shoulder surgery, out six months
Shortly after the season concluded, it was announced that surgery would be required on his shoulder, with a recovery period of six months. Even though Montreal faced a long off-season after missing the playoffs, that still projected him to be a few weeks late to the start of the 2018-19 calendar.
September 23, 2018: The Montreal Canadiens sign Paul Byron to a four-year contract extension
Byron proved to be a quick healer, able to play the second pre-season game against the Florida Panthers on September 19, just five months after the surgery was completed.
Marc Bergevin took the opportunity to extend the contract of his waiver claim before the season opener. Entering the final year of his initial three-year contract with the team, Byron re-upped for an additional four years at $3.4 million per.
October 30, 2018: [Injury Report] Paul Byron out with a lower-body injury
Despite cutting a month off his recovery, circumstances conspired to force him to miss that much time with a lower-body injury just a few weeks into the season. The ailment held him out of the lineup for the entire month of November.
In his absence, the Canadiens’ season had gone completely off the rails, dropping farther out of the post-season race as they struggled to score.
However, Byron’s imminent return as the calendar turned to December provided hope for the offensive game. His speed would surely help the team get from the defensive zone to the opposition end, and that’s something the team had sorely missed.
January 16, 2019: Skating analysis: Paul Byron’s breakaway goal against the Bruins
His return wasn’t the sole reason for a turnaround, but it was a contributing factor as the Canadiens went on a tear. With Carey Price making up for some defensive lapses on the back end, the team slowly started to get their game together.
In mid-January, with the team’s post-season chances looking very strong, he turned the tides on a Boston Bruins power play by using his speed to score a short-handed goal.
January 16, 2019: Paul Byron suspended three games for charging Florida’s MacKenzie Weegar
The game after the one with that tally, Byron was the centre of attention once again, but this time for the wrong reason. A series with the Panthers that had been heated since that first pre-season game saw another bit of nastiness as Byron caught MacKenzie Weegar in the head with a hit. The infraction cost Byron another three games of his season.
February 9, 2019: Canadiens put Alzner on waivers, Byron on injured reserve
A forearm injury that had Byron slamming the glass in frustration as he headed off the bench and to the locker room fortunately didn’t turn out to be as bad as he seemed to believe, though it did keep him out of game action for another two weeks, leaving him unable to get any sort of rhythm going.
February 19, 2019: Canadiens activate Paul Byron from IR, Dale Weise goes to Laval
He was back on February 19, scoring a goal in his return and launching a six-game point streak. He had a total of five goals in his next 17 games, netting goals in back-to-back games in late March.
March 26, 2019: [Injury Report] Paul Byron won’t travel to Columbus
As was the story of his season, the good times weren’t allowed to last. Back in action against the Panthers, Byron was called to answer for his hit earlier in the year, which he did by dropping the gloves with Weegar. Byron was clearly out of his element, and was then quickly out of the game after getting knocked woozy in the fight.
He was able to come back for the final two games of the season, having injured nearly every body part he had in what must have been a frustrating 56-game campaign.
July 31, 2019: Paul Byron continues to be an illustration of consistency
Despite all the setbacks, anger, and disappointment he dealt with in 2018-19, it still had him projected for over 20 goals. Surely the new season will be a smoother one for Byron, one that will probably have him on a pace to score that many once again.
August 2, 2019: Paul Byron’s versatility allows for lineup flexibility
The team made a few adjustments to the forward lines in the off-season, which may change his role. He could be called upon to play anywhere from the first line to the fourth, but if his history with the team has told us anything it’s that he will take whatever is given to him and turn in a quality performance.
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