With the first month of the NHL campaign already in the books, Cam Barker has decided to join Barys Astana of the Kontinental Hockey League, according to the team’s website and Yahoo!’s Dmitry Chesnokov.
Barker was originally taken with the third overall pick in the 2004 NHL Entry Draft by the Chicago Blackhawks, right after Alex Ovechkin and Evgeni Malkin. The 27-year-old defenseman has gone on to record 96 points and 290 penalty minutes in 310 games with the Blackhawks, Minnesota Wild, Edmonton Oilers, and Vancouver Canucks.
At his height, Barker recorded 40 points in 68 games with Chicago in 2008-09. However, his playing time plummeted in the following campaign until Chicago dealt him to the Wild in Feb. 2010. He went on to play for three teams in his following three campaigns and recorded a total of nine points over 91 contests.
Barys is the only KHL team that’s located in Kazakhstan. They currently rank second in the Eastern Conference with 52 points in 23 games.
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.
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.