Petr Sykora

Sykora thinks he’ll land an NHL job this season


Veteran winger Petr Sykora has at least one NHL gig lined up for the shortened season, according to the Newark Star-Ledger’s Rich Chere.

Sykora told Chere that the New Jersey Devils are his first choice, but it’s unclear if that one NHL gig is code for the Devils or not. The good news – at least according to Sykora – is that he won’t need to go through a training camp tryout like he did before the 2010-11 season.

Chere passes along a rumor that the Washington Capitals are interested, but GM George McPhee denies making contact – possibly because the CBA hasn’t been ratified yet.

The 36-year-old winger should be reasonably marketable after scoring 21 goals and 44 points in 82 regular season games for the Devils last season.

In fact, the Devils have good reason to give him a look. Zach Parise bolted, Adam Henrique is injured and Ilya Kovalchuk’s presence is up in the air, so some scoring zip may very well be needed.

Are there any other teams who would could use Sykora’s scoring touch?

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.