Back in January, Avalanche defenseman Bowen Byram contemplated not returning this season or even hanging up his skates altogether, relays Mike Chambers of The Denver Post. He had recently returned to Colorado’s lineup before his concussion symptoms returned and had to shut things down at that time. The progress that the 20-year-old made in his recovery nudged him towards trying to come back this season which he did last week and he has gotten into six games since then. Byram’s playing time since then has been a bit limited relative to his early-season usage which is certainly understandable both in terms of allowing him to ease back into things plus Colorado’s top seed in the Western Conference. He could be an interesting wild card for the Avs heading into the postseason as he certainly has given their third pairing a lift.
More from the Central:
- Still with Colorado, defenseman Devon Toews won’t suit up tonight and won’t accompany the team on their upcoming three-game road trip, notes Peter Baugh of The Athletic (Twitter link). The good news for the Avalanche is that head coach Jared Bednar indicated that the injury isn’t cause for concern which means he should be good to go for the playoffs, if not a game or two before then. The 28-year-old is logging more than 25 minutes a game on the back end this season, second to only Cale Makar for Colorado.
- Michael Russo of The Athletic outlines (subscription link) the tough decision the Wild are facing this summer. Their cap situation gets a lot worse with the increased dead cap charges on the Zach Parise and Ryan Suter buyouts and it appears they’ll be facing a situation where either winger Kevin Fiala or defenseman Mathew Dumba get traded. Minnesota wasn’t able to agree to a long-term deal with Fiala last summer and wound up taking him to salary arbitration. He has one year of RFA eligibility remaining and with 73 points in 75 games, he’ll be eyeing a big raise on his $5.1MM price tag while making it very difficult to justify moving him. Dumba is signed through next season at $6MM and would certainly have a strong trade market if they opted to move him to keep Fiala in the fold.