James Paul Byron (born April 27, 1989) is a Canadian professional ice hockey forward and alternate captain for the Montreal Canadiens of the National Hockey League (NHL). Byron was drafted by the Buffalo Sabres in the sixth round, 179th overall, of the 2007 NHL Entry Draft and made his NHL debut with Buffalo in 2011 before a trade sent him to the Calgary Flames.
Byron with the Calgary Flames in 2011
April 27, 1989|
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
|Height||5 ft 9 in (175 cm)|
|Weight||160 lb (73 kg; 11 st 6 lb)|
179th overall, 2007|
A native of Ottawa, Byron first played junior B hockey with the Ottawa West Golden Knights in 2005–06. He moved up to major-junior the following season with the Gatineau Olympiques of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League (QMJHL). Following a 44-point campaign in 2006–07, the Buffalo Sabres chose to select him with their sixth round pick, 179th overall, at the 2007 NHL Entry Draft. He remained in junior in 2007–08 where he improved to 68 points in 52 games for the Olympiques. Byron scored 32 points in 19 playoff games – second only to teammate Claude Giroux's 51 points – to help lead Gatineau to the President's Cup championship and a berth in the 2008 Memorial Cup. He played a third and final season in the QMJHL in 2008–09 where he scored 99 points in 64 games and was named a second-team all-star.
Byron signed a three-year contract with the Sabres on June 1, 2009, only a few hours before Buffalo would have lost his rights. He was assigned to the Sabres's top minor league affiliate, the Portland Pirates of the American Hockey League (AHL) for the 2009–10 season. He played the entire season in Portland, scoring 33 points in 57 games, and spent the majority of the 2010–11 season there as well, improving to 53 points in 67 games. Byron earned a recall to the NHL during the season and made his NHL debut on January 22, 2011. He scored his first NHL point, an assist on a Tyler Myers goal, in a 5–3 victory over the New York Islanders. He scored his first goal two nights later in his hometown against the Ottawa Senators.
A draft-day trade on June 25, 2011, sent Byron, along with Chris Butler, to the Calgary Flames in exchange for Robyn Regehr, Aleš Kotalík and a draft pick. He spent the majority of the season with the Abbotsford Heat of the AHL, but earned several recalls to Calgary. On one such recall, he scored on his first career penalty shot in a 5–1 victory over the Toronto Maple Leafs. Byron's 2012–13 season was marred by injury as he missed over a month of play due to a shoulder injury. He spent the majority of the season with Abbotsford, where he recorded 15 points in 38 games. He was recalled to Calgary in mid February, but suffered a broken hand early in his first game of the season with the Flames. He played an additional three games following his recovery and recorded an assist.
After beginning the 2013–14 season in Abbotsford, the five-foot-nine Byron earned a regular spot in the Flames line-up by playing an aggressive style that impressed head coach Bob Hartley: "The size of the heart is much more important than the physical size. Here's a guy who plays like he's six-foot-two, six-foot-three. He's not avoiding traffic."
Following the 2014–15 season, Byron became a restricted free agent under the NHL Collective Bargaining Agreement. The Calgary Flames made him a qualifying offer to retain his NHL rights, and on July 5, 2015, Byron filed for Salary Arbitration. On the eve of the beginning of the 2015–16 season, Byron was acquired off waivers from the Flames by the Montreal Canadiens on October 6, 2015. The decision was motivated in part by a fan-made YouTube video showing numerous examples of Byron missing breakaway shots, which showcased his speed to Montreal's scouting staff. On February 23, 2016, Byron signed a three-year contract with the Canadiens worth a total of 3.5 million dollars. During the 2016-17 season, Byron recorded career-highs in goals with 22, assists with 21 and total points with 43, finishing second on the Montreal Canadiens in goals.
On September 22, 2018, Byron signed a four-year, 13.6 million-dollar contract extension with the Canadiens lasting until 2022–23 season. after yet scoring another 20-goals seasons with a struggling Montreal Canadiens in the 2017-18 season. On October 1, after Shea Weber was named captain of the Canadiens, Byron was named an alternate captain, along with Brendan Gallagher.
Byron and his wife Sarah Leblond have a daughter and son together.
Awards and honoursEdit
- Career statistics: "Paul Byron player card". National Hockey League. Retrieved January 1, 2014.
- "Paul Byron profile". Hockey Hall of Fame. Retrieved March 3, 2012.
- Hanlon, Peter; Kelso, Sean; Ahrens, Janette; Buer, Greg (2011). 2011–12 Calgary Flames Media Guide. Calgary Flames Hockey Club. p. 116.
- Holland, Brad (May 13, 2008). "Champions crowned throughout Junior A hockey". National Hockey League. Retrieved March 3, 2012.
- "Buffalo Sabres sign draft pick Paul Byron to entry-level deal". The Hockey News. June 1, 2009. Retrieved March 3, 2012.
- Harrington, Mike (January 23, 2011). "Byron gets right to the point in debut". Buffalo News. Retrieved March 3, 2012.
- "NHL capsules". National Hockey League. January 25, 2011. Retrieved March 3, 2012.
- Lebrun, Pierre (June 25, 2011). "Flames trade Robyn Regehr". ESPN. Retrieved March 3, 2012.
- Johnson, George (February 15, 2012). "Byron cool as ice on Calgary penalty shot". Calgary Herald. Retrieved March 3, 2012.
- Sportak, Randy (February 13, 2013). "Tough break for Flames' Byron". Calgary Sun. Retrieved January 1, 2014.
- Hanlon, Peter; Kelso, Sean; Thomas, Rob, eds. (2013). 2013–14 Calgary Flames Media Guide. Calgary Hockey Club. p. 53.
- "Paul Byron player card". National Hockey League. Retrieved January 1, 2014.
- Cruickshank, Scott (December 23, 2013). "Byron grows into role with Flames". Calgary Herald. p. D1.
- "Deadline for player filed salary arbitration today". flamesnation.ca. July 5, 2015. Retrieved July 5, 2015.
- "Canadiens claim forward Paul Byron off waivers from Flames". National Hockey League. October 6, 2015. Retrieved October 7, 2015.
- Engels, Eric (November 14, 2016). "Canadiens hot start fuelled by savvy buy-low moves - Sportsnet.ca". Sportsnet.ca. Retrieved November 14, 2016.
- "Canadiens agree to terms on a three-year contract extension with forward Paul Byron". canadiens.com. February 23, 2016.
- "Canadiens sign Paul Byron to 4-year contract extension". sportsnet.ca. September 23, 2018. Retrieved October 1, 2018.
- Share-Cohen, Brandon (October 1, 2018). "Weber Named Captain of Canadiens". thehockeywriters.com. Retrieved October 1, 2018.
- National Hockey League (2010). The National Hockey League Official Guide & Record Book/2011. Triumph Books. p. 284. ISBN 978-1-60078-422-4.