Weeks after leaving his post with the Washington Capitals, Dale Hunter is returning to the head coaching ranks.
Just not in the NHL.
The London Free Press reports Hunter will resume bench boss duties with the OHL’s London Knights next season. He’ll replace his brother, Mark, who led the Knights to the Memorial Cup final last season while Dale was off taking the Caps to within a game of the Eastern Conference finals.
While it was somewhat surprising when Hunter abruptly left the Caps on May 14, there was little surprise when he bolted straight back to London. He’s both the co-owner and president of the team and has been named OHL coach of the year three times in his 11 years behind the Knights bench.
Over that time, London’s become a factory for first round NHL draft picks. Rick Nash, Corey Perry, Patrick Kane, Sam Gagner, John Carlson and John Tavares are all products of the Hunter-led Knights.
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.
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.