Ryan O’Byrne has spent parts of the last six seasons in the NHL, but after a couple months as an unrestricted free agent, the Canadian defenseman has decided to sign a two-year deal with HC Lev Praha of the Kontinental Hockey League, according to TSN.
Lev is the only team in the KHL that’s located in the Czech Republic and its roster includes some other former NHLers like Marc-Andre Gragnani and Erik Christensen.
O’Byrne was originally taken in the third round of the 2003 NHL Entry Draft by the Montreal Canadiens, but was traded to the Colorado Avalanche in 2010.
He had a goal and four points in 34 contests with Colorado last season before he was sent to Toronto on April 3 in exchange for a fourth round draft pick. He recorded another two points and had a plus-four rating in eight matches with the Maple Leafs. Over his NHL career, the 29-year-old has recorded 39 points and 369 penalty minutes in 308 games.
The Edmonton Oilers have assigned center Leon Draisaitl to AHL Bakersfield.
The demotion of Draisaitl, 19, means 21-year-old rookie Anton Slepyshev has made the opening-day roster after scoring twice and adding two assists in exhibition action.
The Oilers experimented during the preseason with Draisaitl, a natural center, on the wing. He didn’t have a particularly poor camp, finishing with one goal and three assists in six games.
But Slepyshev apparently impressed more.
“He’s a young player but he’s played pro hockey before,” coach Todd McLellan told the Edmonton Journal. “You can see it.”
Slepyshev played 58 games in the KHL last season, scoring 15 goals for Salavat Yulaev Ufa.
A preseason push by a number of Vancouver Canucks youngsters has left forward Linden Vey and defenseman Frank Corrado on waivers today.
The more surprising name of the two is Corrado, the 22-year-old who entered the season with an excellent chance of making the opening-day roster. However, it seems that rookie d-man Ben Hutton, 22, has been given the nod after finishing an eye-opening preseason with one goal and four assists in seven games. (This despite Hutton being waiver exempt. So it’s a risk for the Canucks, to be sure.)
It was the play of 19-year-old rookie Jared McCann that led, in part, to the waiving of Vey. (For more on that, click here.) Veteran Adam Cracknell remains with the team as well, to some surprise.
Rookie winger Jake Virtanen is also expected to be on Vancouver’s opening-day roster, though that’s no big shock.
Defenseman Alex Biega is also on waivers, as expected.