Roman Hamrlik

Roman Hamrlik to announce retirement


After 20 NHL seasons, Roman Hamrlik is calling it a career.

According to reports from Europe, Hamrlik will retire from hockey.  Roman Jedlicka in the Czech Republic says he’ll make his announcement official in Montreal at a press conference next week.

After so long in the NHL, Hamrlik has had a distinctive career. He was the No. 1 overall pick of the Tampa Bay Lightning back in 1992, the franchise’s first ever draft pick. He played with seven different teams over his career going from Tampa to Edmonton, Calgary, Montreal, the New York Islanders, Washington Capitals, and New York Rangers.

He showed he was worthy of his lofty No. 1 pick status right away. In his fourth season, he posted career-highs in goals (16) and points (65) with the Lightning. In his first 18 seasons, he scored 20 or more points each year. He finished his career with 155 goals and 638 points in 1,395 games.

From Yahoo!’s Sean Leahy, here’s video of the day Hamrlik was drafted by Phil Esposito and the Lightning in ’92.

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.