Rob Ramage discussed how Paul Byron helped Owen Beck

Owen Beck impressed at Canadiens camp in year one, but in year two he left something to be desired.
2024 Memorial Cup - Final
2024 Memorial Cup - Final / Nic Antaya/GettyImages

When the Montreal Canadiens drafted Owen Beck, he looked like a player with the potential to carve out an eventual role in the Habs bottom six.

He was great at his first NHL training camp, heading back to junior with a clear plan of where to improve. Beck had a solid year in the OHL split between the Mississauga Steelheads and Peterborough Petes. The Port Hope, Ontario native recorded 66 points through 60 games.

It's kind of weird that after another season of junior and a full offseason to prepare for his second NHL camp didn't do much for him. But Beck learned a ton at camp, especially from former Canadiens-turned-player development coach Paul Byron. This was crucial for Beck because it allowed him to learn where he needed to improve and what he needed to do to get his game to the next level. Beck took everything that was thrown at him and grew tremendously.

Paul Byron was the Habs secret weapon for Beck, which is rather unsurprising because, like Byron, Beck plays a game predicated on speed and intensity. If Beck can continue growing his two-way game, while implementing the lessons learned from Byron, there is a good chance he will take off completely. Byron played to his strengths and that is precisely how he carved out a successful career for himself.

I believe that Beck could really take off as a player if he continues to be one of the most competitive guys on the ice and just does whatever the coach needs him to do. Beck wasn't drafted for offence, but more to be a great presence in the faceoff dot and challenge the opposing offenses with his smart defensive play. So, sticking to that, while continuing to grow his offensive game makes a lot of sense, but sticking to playing a simplified game is the most important.

It was sad to watch Byron forced into early retirement, but the fact that he is still able to get on the ice and be a positive part of the Canadiens' building of a contender has turned a sad ending into a happy start.