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 Toronto Maple Leafs have claimed one of the more intriguing players placed on waivers — former Vancouver defenseman Frank Corrado.
Corrado, 22, was waived by the Canucks on Monday. The former OHL standout had appeared in 28 career games for Vancouver — including 10 last year — but was squeezed out of an NHL spot following the emergence of Ben Hutton, who surprised many onlookers by making the 23-man roster.
Canucks GM Jim Benning will receive criticism for losing an asset like Corrado for nothing. Several Vancouver pundits warned of exposing a young, promising d-man to waivers and those warnings ultimately proved accurate.
With Toronto, Corrado could push for playing time as the club indicated on Monday veteran d-man Sephane Robidas wouldn’t be with the team to start the year. That would leave the the Leafs with seven healthy blueliners: Dion Phaneuf, Jake Gardiner, Roman Polak, Morgan Rielly, Matt Hunwick, Martin Marincin and Scott Harrington, who can go to the minors without having to clear waivers.
Petter Granberg, another defenseman, is currently on IR.
In a corresponding move to the Corrado claim, the Leafs put forward Richard Panik on waivers. Panik, who Toronto plucked off waivers from Tampa Bay last year, appeared in 76 games for the Leafs, scoring 11 goals and 17 points.
Busy day in Minnesota, as the Wild made a series of moves to get to their 23-man roster.
Perhaps the most prominent move was the demotion of young defenseman Mike Reilly.
Reilly, the prized University of Minnesota product, made headlines this summer after balking on signing with his draft team, Columbus, to join his hometown Wild.
The 22-year-old failed to leapfrog any of the club’s veterans in training camp, however, and Minnesota will now open with a top-six defense comprised of Ryan Suter, Jared Spurgeon, Jonas Brodin, Mathew Dumba, Marco Scandella and Christian Folin.
Journeyman Nate Prosser will serve as the club’s seventh d-man.
Up front, good news for former seventh-round pick Tyler Graovac — he’s won the club’s third-line center job, thanks to a roster spot created after Jordan Schroeder was waived and Justin Fontaine was placed on IR.
Graovac, 22, has spent the majority of his pro career with AHL Iowa and impressed in ’14-15, scoring 21 goals and 46 points in 73 games.
At 6-foot-5 and 200 pounds, he’ll add some size to the Wild lineup.