Montreal Canadiens 2021-22 Forward Ratings: Paul Byron
It was a difficult year for the majority of players, but few more than Byron.
I’m sure there was going to be a lot of debate as to who would be the lowest-ranked Montreal Canadiens forward in this series, and the fact is that it was Paul Byron. Unfortunately, by a mile.
He ended up with 16.7% of the 120 points available in the ranking system. This is largely because he was the worst on the team in goals-for and expected-goals-for percentage. He was also second-worst on the team for points per 60 and fourth-worst in Corsi-for percentage. He wasn’t even particularly high on the defensive-zone draws list netting only seven of 16 points for that (pre-weighting).
Much of this fall from grace for Byron can be attributed to having a lot of injury problems last year as he came in having had surgery in the off-season. The fact is that the had spurts of looking like his old self, but wasn’t able to hold out for any true consistency. As a friend of mine, a strength and conditioning coach, explained it to me, as you get older you don’t necessarily lose the ability to reach peak performance, but rather it’s your recovery that suffers more.
Last year Byron had a shortened off-season, surgery, and tried his best to be a leader on the sinking ship we called a team. It would have been a tall order to expect any consistency in his game with all of those factors.
Montreal does not look to be chasing a Stanley Cup this year (hot take right?). Considering all that Byron has done for this organization, and the one year left on his contract, I would keep him on the team. He clearly needs to rehab properly if he wants to have any chance at furthering his NHL career. Montreal can afford to pay him to rehab and be a good locker-room presence. Play him sparingly so he can focus on getting healthy, then bring him in toward the end of the year to prove to a team that he still has value.
For more info on the model I used, check out the introduction to this series.