Montreal Canadiens: Three Regulars Who Need To Prove Themselves At Training Camp

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - MARCH 03: Brett Kulak of the Montreal Canadiens (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NEW YORK - MARCH 03: Brett Kulak of the Montreal Canadiens (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images) /
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Montreal Canadiens
MONTREAL, QC – FEBRUARY 27: Paul Byron Montreal Canadiens (Photo by Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images) /

Paul Byron

Paul Byron was picked up on waivers when the Calgary Flames decided they needed more grit (Brandon Bollig) and less speed and skill in their lineup. It’s hard to find a better player that was ever put on waivers.

Since arriving in Montreal as a castoff from a mediocre team out west, Byron proved to be a terrific penalty killer and a consistent 20 goal threat. He scored 11 goals and 18 points in 62 games during his first season with Montreal, but really found his offence in 2016-17.

That season, the Ottawa native scored 22 goals and 43 points in 81 games. The following year he would tally 20 goals and 35 points and after that he had 15 goals and 31 points in 56 games during the 2018-19 season.

Considering almost all of that production came from third and fourth line ice time at even strength and little power play time, Byron was a fixture heading into the 2019-20 season.

But, he didn’t have the same success. The 5’9″ left winger scored four goals and ten points in 29 games as he battled injuries throughout the regular season. He would score one goal and four points in ten postseason games in the bubble.

Byron mostly played on the third line in the bubble, but with added depth arriving on the wings, he could be pushed further down the lineup. The Habs are much deeper on right wing than left right now with the additions of Josh Anderson, Tyler Toffoli and Corey Perry added to Brendan Gallagher and Joel Armia on that side.

However, if Byron doesn’t bring much offence early this season, Toffoli could be moved to the left side, forcing Byron into a small role.

Also working against Byron is his large contract. He has a $3.4 million cap hit and the Habs are slightly above the salary cap at the moment. Placing Byron on waivers and sticking him on the taxi squad to begin the season could be a necessary cost cutting measure, unless Byron looks great in training camp.

If not, Gallagher, Anderson, Armia and Perry could be the four right wingers with Tatar, Drouin Toffoli and Lehkonen on the left side to begin the season.