Paul Byron’s season review: How did the winger-turned-centre fare in 2017-18?
Byron was one of the few players able to maintain his scoring touch in what was a frustrating season for many.
Paul Byron was a no-risk waiver pickup for the Montreal Canadiens ahead of the 2015-16 season. The Calgary Flames weren’t interested in keeping him on their NHL squad, and Michel Therrien wasn’t convinced he was the one for his, but after three seasons with his new team, Byron has become not only one of the best waiver claims the Habs have ever made, but a critical piece of their offensive game as well.
As if that acquisition weren’t enough of a bargain, he was re-signed to a three-year contract carrying a cap of a little more than $1 million. Considering he can play just about any role — even getting games at the centre position in an injury-depleted lineup — he brings much more value than some wingers who have been signed to long-term, expensive deals. (On a related note, the Flames bought out the final two years of Troy Brouwer’s contract yesterday.)
Paul Byron’s contract makes him extremely valuable compared to his peers
His speed is reponsible for much of that value, and his work ethic makes up a significant portion of his worth as well. The combination of the two allows him to make up ground on the backcheck and turn defence into offence in a hurry, as he did versus the Boston Bruins this season. We broke down the play that went from chasing a potential odd-man rush to creating one in his own team’s favour to highlight his various skills.
Anatomy of a Goal: Paul Byron’s hustle allows Max Pacioretty to open the scoring
It was one of 15 goals he helped set up, and he also scored 20 of his own, hitting that milestone for the second consecutive year. When he did it in 2016-17, it seemed like something he would be unable to replicate, given the high shooting percentage he carried to reach it. But with another season converting goals at an extraordinary rate, it may be his true ability coming through.
It might be time to start treating Paul Byron as a bona fide 20-goal-scorer
Byron ranked sixth in points, but second in goals on the team last season, and there’s no reason to expect anything different going forward.
Grade Byron’s 2017-18 season performance