Brad Treliving wrapped up the final pending arbitration case today, inking speedy winger Paul Byron to a one year deal worth $900,000. That’s a modest raise over his previous contract of $600,000 per year.
Byron was the Flames best bottom-6 possession player this year. He also likely led the team in break-aways/60, if that were a real stat. Fast and agile, Byron is also tenacious, a quality penalty killer and very sturdy on his skates for a guy of his size. If he could have finished his chances with bit more regularity last season, he may have been in line for a bigger Bouma sized bump this summer as well. He didn’t, though, so he was forced to sign another “prove it” contract.
As it stands, this is the perfect contract for the Flames. It gives them another year of a very useful young player who may or may not turn into a fixture on the bottom end of the club’s rotation (depending on how he progresses versus some of the kids nipping at his heels on the depth chart). At $900,000, it’s also a deal that can be burring in the minors with no cap implications if Byron is passed on the depth chart (which is possible, though not probable).
I’m a fan of Paul Byron. I think he brings an element that no one else does in the bottom-6 (blinding speed and ability to push the play north), so I’m glad the Flames have decided to retain him for at least one more season. Now it’s incumbent on the player to prove he should be part of the long-term picture here in Calgary.
With all these forwards locked up, Treliving’s off-season task now turns to figuring out how to trim some of the fat.