Paul Byron
Paul Byron
30-Year-Old CenterC
Montreal Canadiens
2019 Fantasy Outlook
Byron was limited to just 56 games due to a series of injuries in 2018-19. If not for the 26 games he missed, he may have established new career highs in multiple categories. As it turned out, he ended the campaign with 15 goals and 31 points in 56 contests after notching 43 and 35 points in his previous two seasons, respectively. The Canadiens have used him on all four lines during his four years with the organization, but his consistent production could lead to him landing a permanent spot on a scoring line as well as Montreal's second power-play unit in 2019-20. When he was on the ice last campaign, Byron scored on 16 percent of his shots, a slight decline from his first three seasons in Montreal but good enough to lead the Habs in that category. The 5-foot-8 forward takes most of his shots from in front of the net, so a good shooting percentage should logically follow. A wrist injury finally ended his season in early April, but he's been working out regularly this summer, and should return to a prominent role entering his age-30 season. Read Past Outlooks
$Signed a four-year contract extension worth $13.6 million with the Canadiens in September of 2018.
Opens on fourth line
CMontreal Canadiens
October 4, 2019
Byron had one assist, one hit and blocked two shots over 13:06 of ice time in Thursday's 4-3 shootout loss to Carolina.
Byron opens the season on Montreal's fourth line, a departure from previous campaigns, when he could be found anywhere on the top three lines. His ice time on Opening Night was nearly two minutes fewer than the 14:59 he's averaged during the previous four seasons as a member of the Canadiens. With less time on ice and playing alongside less-skilled linemates, Byron will have a hard time reaching the 20-goal mark he posted in 2016-17 and 2017-18.
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Past Fantasy Outlooks
Byron's an indispensable Canadien, posting back-to-back 20-plus goal campaigns while missing only one game in that span. Originally slotted as a fourth-line grinder, Montreal's lackluster offense gave him opportunities with more talented linemates. While he's a pint-sized pivot at 5-foot-8, 158 pounds, Byron ranked fourth on the team with 137 hits last season and earned a career-high 1:07 of power-play ice time. That he was Montreal's second-leading goal scorer indicates how poor the team's offense was, but it's also a testament to his work ethic. Given the loss of Alex Galchenyuk, the Canadiens are in need of players who can put the puck in the net, something Byron has done with quiet efficiency since signing with Montreal in 2015. He's by no means a sniper, but makes the most of his chances, scoring on 20.3 percent of his shots since arriving in la belle province -- many of which are attributable to his hustle and speed. Offseason shoulder surgery has him in line to return by the middle of October.
Byron is perhaps the best value among NHL forwards. He made $1.17 million last season and scored 22 goals. Claimed off waivers prior to the 2015-16 campaign, the Canadiens thought they were getting a responsible three-zone forward who could kill penalties and make a few plays with his speed. They never dreamed of him scoring 33 goals on 146 shots (22.6 shooting percentage) following the initial pickup. Bryon was quickly moved up from his fourth-line duty as injuries hit and scoring deficiencies emerged. He finished second on the team with 21 even-strength goals and made a habit of the hustle goal, forcing a turnover and beating opponents down ice for a breakaway tally. Byron also has a knack for the dirty goal, finishing chances that come off puck luck. It’s unreasonable to think Byron can sustain his scoring, but he’s the type of forward head coach Claude Julien values. With a strong camp, he could emerge as a second-line left winger.
The Canadiens claimed the unheralded Byron off waivers from the Flames last year following his offseason wrist surgery. He checked off what seem to be the organization’s most sought-after traits when acquiring players – small and speedy – and turned out to be one of general manager Marc Bergevin’s best acquisitions. Byron was mostly a fourth-liner, but on a team that suffered injuries and lacked finishing talent, he got time on all the lines as head coach Michel Therrien attempted to find effective combinations. As such, Byron scored a career-high 11 goals, including three while shorthanded. The Habs re-signed Byron in midseason, recognizing his value as a depth forward who’s responsible on defense and led the team in penalty-killing ice time. With this offseason’s additions at forward (Andrew Shaw, Alexander Radulov) and the development of the organization’s younger talent (Sven Andrighetto, David Carr), Byron will likely be locked into a fourth-line role.
Byron is still recovering from the wrist surgery he underwent during the playoffs as well as a sports hernia procedure, but he hopes to be ready come training camp time. The winger doesn't provide much size (5-foot-7, 153 pounds) on the fourth line, but he has speed to burn and can contribute offensively once in a while. The Flames missed his speed against the bruising Ducks in the second round of the playoffs, and while he is unlikely to contribute enough to make noise on the fantasy side, he is a valuable cog in Calgary.
The speedy center put up 21 points in 47 games last season despite not seeing all that much ice time throughout the year. Byron is on a one-way deal, so he is all but a lock to grab one of the bottom two center spots and give the Flames 20-30 points again.
The majority of Byron's time in 2012-13 was spent in the AHL, where he put up 15 points and 38 penalty minutes in 38 games. He will begin the 2013-14 season in the AHL.
Byron's a young forward likely to get every opportunity to prove himself after being a part of the Robyn Regehr trade and arriving in Calgary along with Chris Butler. Byron posted two points in eight NHL contests last year while notching 26 goals and 53 points in 67 AHL games. At 22, he's a young player with offensive upside, something the Flames need. Remember his name in keeper leagues.
Byron had a phenomenal 2009-10 with Gatineau in the QMJHL, scoring 33 goals and tallying 66 assists in only 64 games. He should join Portland for the 2010-11 season. The Sabres have shown that they won't hesitate to reward the young, talented forwards that they have down on the farm with a call up if the big club needs a boost.
At only 5-8 and 135 pounds, Byron will have his work cut out for him in his first season in the AHL. Although he led his junior team the Gatineau Olympiques in scoring with 99 points (33G, 66A), the AHL is a different breed of play with a lot bigger bodies. It will probably be a while before we see Byron in the NHL, especially with other small prospects Nathan Gerbe and Tyler Ennis ahead of him in the ranks.
More Fantasy News
Shakes off injury
CMontreal Canadiens
September 28, 2019
Byron (upper body) will play in Saturday's home preseason game versus the Senators, John Lu of reports.
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Skates Monday
CMontreal Canadiens
Upper Body
September 24, 2019
Byron (upper body) skated prior to Monday's preseason game against the Maple Leafs, Stu Cowan of the Montreal Gazette reports.
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Absent from practice
CMontreal Canadiens
September 20, 2019
Byron did not take part in Friday's practice session after getting hurt against the Panthers on Thursday with what the team is calling an upper-body injury, Eric Engels of reports.
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Leaves game Thursday
CMontreal Canadiens
September 19, 2019
Byron was removed from Thursday's preseason game against the Panthers after taking a hit to the head, Pat Hickey of the Montreal Gazette reports.
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Back in action Thursday
CMontreal Canadiens
September 19, 2019
Byron (wrist) will be in the lineup for Thursday's preseason matchup with the Panthers.
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