The Calgary Flames just lost a good, cheap player for absolutely nothing. Yesterday, the Flames placed Paul Byron on the waiver wire; today, the Montreal Canadiens claimed him. This dropped the forward group by one, leaving just 13 forwards at camp, and depleting them of one of their better possession players.
Byron, 26, was oft-injured, which may have contributed to his falling out in Calgary. It's a shame, because when healthy, Byron is a perfectly capable of player - otherwise, why frequently play him alongside one of your top centres in Sean Monahan?
He made his teammates better. He suited up alongside them in difficult circumstances, and improved their performances. We joke about how he couldn't score on breakaways, but fact is, he was actually getting those breakaways with enough frequency for it to become a meme. That's impressive. And at only $900K on the cap, he comes extremely cheap.
Byron is the ideal bottom six player: one who makes his linemates better, can handle difficult circumstances, and occasionally, chip in with a goal here or there. He doesn't cost much, because he's depth, but he's everything you could have asked for in a depth player. He hit a fair amount as well; size had nothing on him.
With his departure, Johnny Gaudreau is now officially the smallest member of the Flames. Also with his departure, the Flames lost all remaining ties to longtime defenceman Robyn Regehr. Regehr, alongside Ales Kotalik and a second round pick, was traded for two pieces: Chris Butler and Byron. Butler left in free agency. Byron, the reason that second round pick was added to the trade, was lost when he didn't have to be.
Byron claim probably wouldn't have happened without Kassian incident— Elliotte Friedman (@FriedgeHNIC) October 6, 2015
For those not familiar with the Zack Kassian incident, check out Eyes on the Prize's coverage here.
Mason Raymond, who was also waived yesterday, cleared, because he's on a huge contract and severely underperforming. So, that's not surprising. He remains with the Flames at this time.