Sharks bag brute Ben Eager in trade with Thrashers; Atlanta receives 5th round pick

When a hockey player breaks The Code, they often find themselves shipped to another team as punishment for shaming their team. It happened when Pierre-Luc Letourneau-Leblond broke one of “The Unwritten Rules” and attacked a Marcus Johansson, a player who didn’t want to fight earlier this season. The enforcer known as “PL3” never wore a New Jersey Devils sweater again after that incident.

By that logic, it’s not surprising that the Atlanta Thrashers decided to let Ben Eager go today. They traded the brutish forward to the San Jose Sharks for a fifth round pick in the 2011 NHL Entry Draft, according to sources including TSN. As you may remember, Eager received a four-game suspension for his shameful sucker punch on Toronto Maple Leafs forward Colby Armstrong.

From the Sharks perspective, they get two things: added grit and yet another former member of the 2009-10 Chicago Blackhawks. That makes it two out of three for the team’s attempts to acquire players from the team that beat them in the Western Conference finals, as they added Antti  Niemi and Eager while the ‘Hawks decided to match their offer sheet on Niklas Hjalmarsson.

A portly pop star once sang “Two out of three ain’t bad,” but in the case of Eager, being bad is basically the point.

Habs claim Byron off waivers from Flames

Paul Byron
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Montreal added some forward depth on Tuesday, acquiring diminutive forward Paul Byron off waivers from Calgary.

Byron, 26, is a veteran of nearly 150 career NHL games, most coming with the Flames. Despite fairly solid production over the last two years — 40 points in 104 games — he was exposed to waivers on Monday, along with fellow forward Mason Raymond.

(Calgary does have a logjam of players at forward, hence parting ways with Byron and Raymond.)

Byron can play both wing and center but, at 5-foot-7, 153 pounds, is one of the most undersized skaters in the league. Thankfully for him, Montreal has an affinity for undersized forwards, with the likes of Brendan Gallagher (5-foot-9, 184 pounds) and David Desharnais (5-foot-7, 174 pounds) already on the active roster.

Byron could also fill Zack Kassian‘s roster spot. Kassian is currently suspended without pay while undergoing Stage 2 of the NHL’s Substance Abuse program.

Isles claim goalie Berube off waivers

Evgeny Kuznetsov, Jaroslav Halak
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The New York Islanders have claimed goalie Jean-Francois Berube off waivers from the Los Angeles Kings, the club announced today.

Berube won the Calder Cup last season with AHL Manchester, but the 24-year-old has yet to appear in an NHL game.

That the Isles claimed Berube could be evidence that Jaroslav Halak will not be ready to start the season after all.

If that’s the case, Berube would back up Thomas Greiss, with Stephon Williams expected to go to the AHL.

The Isles open their regular season Friday at home versus the Blackhawks, then play the next day in Chicago.