Video: Nugent-Hopkins sets up Hall, makes history*

When Taylor Hall and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins joined forces on Edmonton’s top line to start the season, people sensed something special might happen.

And it has.

Tonight, Nugent-Hopkins got his first NHL assist on Hall’s first goal of the year — a PP marker early in the third period of a 3-1 win over Nashville — and with it, the pair got in on a bit of history as well. See, earlier this season T-Hall and RNH became the first back-to-back No. 1 overall picks to play on the same team in over 20 years. Quebec’s Mats Sundin and Owen Nolan were the last.

But with nine combined points in their first four games, the Edmonton youngsters have surpassed the former Nordiques — it took Sundin and Nolan double the amount of games played together (eight) to reach the same total in 1990-91. Yes, the tried and true “nine combined point” plateau. The benchmark by which all greats are measured.

Joking aside, hopefully you get the gist — Nugent-Hopkins and Hall are off to an unprecedented start. Their next big statistical benchmark? Trying to match the overall point totals put up by Sundin and Nolan in 90-91. (NB: The key difference is that Sundin/Nolan broke in at the same time — Sundin spent a year in Sweden before coming to the NHL — whereas Hall and Nugent-Hopkins jumped right to the league after being drafted.)

That season, Sundin had 23G-36A-59PTS while Nolan struggled to 3G-10A-13PTS in just 59 games. Considering Nugent-Hopkins (who is Nolan in this projection) already has five points and Hall (the Sundin) had 42 a year ago, those totals definitely seem within reach.

* — liberal use of the word “history”

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.