The Canadiens are likely to be sellers at the trade deadline, but GM Marc Bergevin made sure winger
Paul Byron isn’t going anywhere.
Montreal announced Tuesday evening that Byron, 26, has signed a three-year contract extension with the Canadiens. According to multiple reports, Byron’s new pact carries a $1.167-million cap hit, or $3.5-million over the course of the deal.
TVA’s Louis Jean reported the first season of the deal carries a $300,000 signing bonus. “A fast-skating and versatile forward, Paul has been an important addition to our team,” Bergevin said in a statement. “He can contribute on the offensive side while being responsible defensively. Furthermore, he demonstrates an exemplary attitude and the qualities of a true professional.”
If the Canadiens hadn’t signed Byron and with him heading for unrestricted free agency, he likely would have drawn interest at the deadline as a depth winger. Byron, originally a sixth-round pick of the Buffalo Sabres in 2007, was acquired by the Canadiens via waivers days before the 2015-16 season opened. Sent down by the Calgary Flames months after signing a one-year, $900,000 contract, Montreal scooped Byron up and brought him in to be a bottom-six contributor. While Montreal’s season has turned from promising to ugly in a matter of months, Byron has been a steady contributor in his role and has been a terror for the opposition on the penalty kill. He hasn’t logged big minutes — Byron is averaging little more than 13 minutes per game — but he has been Montreal’s top penalty killing forward, averaging nearly two minutes of ice time per game with the Canadiens down a man. In 40 games, Byron has eight goals and 11 points, but three of his markers have come with the Canadiens down a man. Byron’s best offensive season came in 2013-14 before he became a full-time NHLer. During that campaign, he scored seven goals and 21 points in 47 games.