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.