Jeff Skinner

Jeff Skinner doesn’t report to AHL Charlotte’s camp

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Jeff Skinner was projected to be one of the AHL’s top players for the duration of the lockout, but it remains to be seen if he’ll actually play in the league.

He chose not to report to the Charlotte Checkers’ training camp for fitness testing on Friday and Checkers coach Jeff Daniels doesn’t expected Skinner to be on the ice with them tomorrow, according to the Checkers’ official website.

“He’s still back in the Toronto area training,” said Daniels. “He has the team’s consent, and we’ll see where things go from here.”

The Hurricanes assigned Skinner to the AHL prior to the lockout, which gives him the option to play for Charlotte if he so chooses.

“If this lockout drags on and he decides he wants to play some games, Charlotte will be an option for him,” said Daniels.

Checkers fans can still take comfort in the fact that the team expects the other players on their camp roster to attend, including Justin Faulk, who played in 66 NHL games last season.

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.