Scott Nichol

Nichol named Nashville’s director of player development

Scott Nichol is moving on to the next phase of his hockey career. The 38-year-old checking center has retired as a player and accepted a job as Nashville’s director of player development.

“As an organization that prides itself on developing homegrown talent, Scott Nichol will play a vital role in helping our prospects reach their full potential,” Predators general manager David Poile said in a release. “Scott was a player who had to work hard for everything in his career, and he will bring energy, enthusiasm and work ethic to this job. As a newly retired player he also has the ability to relate to players at all levels and help in their development.”

Drafted 272nd overall in 1993, Nichol appeared in 662 regular-season games in the NHL — 209 with the Preds — and finished his playing career with the St. Louis Blues.

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.