WWYDW: Lord Byron Edition

You see, the trick for Byron scoring on breakaways is: remove all other players and put him in the best Flames sweater ever created. There. Simple.

With Winnik and Tlusty both dealt this afternoon, the trades are starting to come fast and furious as the trade deadline approaches and I thought we should spend some time talking about another one of the Flames expiring deals, Paul Byron. 

I have made it exceptionally clear in previous posts here that I am one of Paul Byron’s biggest fans so I will abandon all pretense of objectivity today. However, I am very curious to hear what everyone else’s opinions of ol’mighty mouse are. That’s why today we are discussing what to do with Paul Byron, a restricted free agent this summer after making 600K this season. Let’s get into it after the jump

Paul Byron’s struggles to score on breakaways have become a punchline this season for many Flames fans and for good reason. He’s currently batting something like .079 on breakaways in his career and has had many opportunities to score at key moments but has failed. 

However, Byron has shown himself to be a very useful player for the Flames this season and throughout his brief stint as a regular NHLer. Using the most basic of possession evaluations, when you take a look at Byron’s WOWY’s, you can see that the vast majority of his teammates CF% improves when playing with Byron (take a look at Colborne’s numbers without him…yikes).

Byron’s greatest weapon is his skating, a facet of the game that, to my mind, the Flames have made the most drastic improvement in during the post-Iginla era. Byron’s speed makes him valuable for creating controlled zone entries and for generally being a pain in the ass to the opposition on the PK (he has played 55:28 on the PK this season, second only to Bouma).

The real question is, what to do with him and does he fit in the long term plans for the Flames. The Flames chose not to qualify him last summer and instead settled on a one year deal. I think it’s safe to say that the Flames organization is at least ambivalent in terms of his long term future, despite the fact that Bob Hartley seems to trust Byron, playing him in diverse situations, often including in overtime.

However, outside of Curtis Glencross, the Flames are bereft of expiring deals that could net them either futures or perhaps a depth defender. The question becomes, what is Byron worth and is he worth holding on to if the price is too low?

As of this afternoon, the trade market for depth forwards seems to be heating up with Winnik heading to the Pens for a 2016 second and a 2015 fourth round pick. Jiri Tlusty was also moved for a 2016 third and 2015 sixth (gosh, that’s cheap). It’s hard to say what this means for Byron, whom you would think would fetch less than Tlusty. 

Complicating matters is the fact that Byron is currently on injured reserve with a “whole body” injury and very few details about how long-term it will be. It seems as though it isn’t very serious but the Flames did make those callups recently so who knows? For the purposes of this exercise, let’s assume he’s healthy and able to be dealt, should the Flames do it? 

Personally, I think the Flames are way better off hanging on to Byron rather than letting him go for mid round prospects (before you point this out, yes I know the Flames have struck gold with fourth rounders lately but the vast majority of mid-rounders never pan out). Byron’s contribution at an NHL level are valuable and he could be a part of, what Kent characterized when describing Lee Stempniak (I think) in an article many moons ago, the connective tissue of the team. I like Byron and think he should be given a new contract. 

But who cares what I think! I turn things over to you, what would you do with Paul Byron? 

  • Derzie

    Byron is one of our little secrets to success tis year. Not a gifted goal scorer but lightning fast and pesky. Part of the engine we need to keep until we have a better option.

  • I didn’t even read this because Lord Byron is a nickname only a sh*theart would enjoy.

    Are you a sh*theart, Taylor? Did your parents raise a sh*theart? Would your grandpa be happy to find out he had to survive world wars so he could raise a kid who would have a kid and would raise that kid to be a sh*theart?

    No, Taylor, they would not be happy to find out you are a sh*theart. But there is always time to get off the sh*theart train. It’s actually pretty easy, really. All you have to do is never use the utterly wack nickname ‘Lord Byron’ ever again.

    Instead, you use “Cerebral Paulsy”.

  • Lober

    Really though are the Flames a better team with Byron in the line up? If they are not a better team with him in the line up then whats the point in keeping him on the team when you can acquire some picks for him.

  • I like Byron as a player in the role he has now. He can play centre, if need be. He has been able to play anywhere in the line up from 1st to 4th line. He has wheels and pushes play in the right direction. While he is not by any means big, he does engage the other team physically.

    I would like to see him retained at a cost of up to 1.5 mil/year for 2 seasons. He becomes the player that prospects have to beat out to earn a roster spot and if he does become redundant and is passed by the prospects, his cap hit would be low enough that a trade is easily made or could be buried in the minors to mentor other prospects.

  • Nick24

    I like Byron, and I think he is valuable to the Flames. He for sure helps them win. When you have a depth player like Byron, the break-a-ways are all gravy as far as I’m concerned.
    They may not be going well for him this year, but usually he’s pretty decent at it, and I think they’ll eventually turn around. Again though, his value does not come from his scoring ability.

  • supra steve

    I’m gonna make an outlandish claim:

    Without Paul Byron, right now we’re discussing McDavid, Eichel, Hanifin, Strome, and Provorov.

    That’s how much impact this guy has had at times this season.

    Just look at what’s happened in the three games since he’s been injured:

    – Lose in overtime
    – Outscored 6-2 in 3rd periods

    It’s not a sample size to be drawing any conclusions, but simply what I see is that when Byron is on the ice the Flames are a much more confident team.

    Size and Speed is important, but it’s what you do with it that matters. Byron might not be the 30 goal scorer we wish he were, but he’s still one of my first choices for bringing back next year.

  • Daves Waves

    Is nobody going to talk about that breakaway beauty against the Sens? I could watch that replay all night long. What a setup by Sven and what a gorgeous finish.

  • JumpJet

    I see Emile Poirier being a Paul Byron 2.0. Bigger, faster, stronger, scorier. I hope that’s as soon as next year, but if Byron can hold Poirier’s roster spot until the Quebecer is fully marinated, I’m totally fine with that.

  • JumpJet

    Colborne, Byron, Wideman and Glencross for sale. Replace with Shore, Poirier Wotherspoon and Baertschi. Armchair GM time! Deal Glenny to Chicago for Rundblad and a pick.

  • JumpJet

    Paul Byron is a really good (AHL) player. Sorry, but the dude doesn’t have the hands for the NHL. It’s like watching Lombardi. All start, no finish.

    He is okay enough. And he is a heck of a lot better then say, Bollig. So if your stuck with him in the bottom 6 for the weekend so be it.

    But he isn’t a full time NHL player for any team planning on raising the cup.

  • MattyFranchise

    Anything you get for this guy would be selling low. He is one of the stronger possession players on the team and he is not making a ton of money either. The other guy up there that said 1.5mil over 2 years has it right. The Flames are better off with him in the lineup than without him.

    What I would do is taken advantage of the effect that Byron has had on Colbourne and see what he may be worth on the market this year.