One of the only bright spots in the Montreal Canadiens season was speedster Paul Byron, who scored 20 goals for the second consecutive year. Unfortunately, the team announced today that he underwent shoulder surgery and will be out six months. That puts the start of the 2018-19 season in doubt, as six months from now is the middle of October.
That’s a bad start to an important offseason for the Canadiens as they try to crawl back to competitiveness for next year. Byron is an extremely valuable part of their forward group, even if he doesn’t create a ton of offensive opportunities for his linemates. Instead, he’s used as an elite counter-puncher and penalty killer for Montreal, able to stretch defenses out and provide a solid two-way presence for their middle-six.
It seems as though the first month of the season is in doubt, and he’ll almost certainly miss all of training camp. That’s a big loss for the Canadiens, but could also really hurt Byron down the road. He’s headed into the last season of his current contract and scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent in the summer of 2019. A third straight 20-goal season would look mighty fine as he hits the open market at 30 years old, something that may be out of reach if he misses a full month.