O'Byrne, Picard on the bubble

The imminent return of defenceman Andrei Markov means Canadiens general manager Pierre Gauthier will be faced with his first major personnel decision since the start of the season.

If the Canadiens decide to maintain a 22-man roster, they will have an extra defenceman and that means Alexandre Picard or Ryan O’Byrne will probably have a new address next week.

The easiest decision would be to send Picard to Hamilton even though he has been playing and O’Byrne has been a healthy scratch for the past six games. Picard is on a two-way contract and his salary will drop from $600,000 U.S. to $105,000 Canadian if he is demoted.

But there’s also a benefit in sending O’Byrne to the minors. While he has a one-way deal and the team would be on the hook for his $1.4-million salary, they would gain nearly $350,000 in salary-cap space, which could come in handy.

The Canadiens might also consider trying to trade O’Byrne. Despite head coach Jacques Martin’s claims to the contrary, the team doesn’t appear to have a lot of confidence in O’Byrne. The defenceman has been saying and doing the right things while waiting for another chance to play, but Markov’s return will drop him another rung on the depth chart.

Markov’s return will provide the Canadiens with three solid pairs. He’ll join P.K. Subban while the other pairs will remain the same – Roman Hamrlik with fellow Czech Jaroslav Spacek and Josh Gorges with Hal Gill.

Hamrlik played a season-high 24:55 in Monday’s overtime win against Phoenix and is averaging 20:13 in six games since his return from a knee injury.

AK46 turns fan favourite:

Andrei Kostitsyn received one of the loudest ovations before last night’s game against the Islanders, and why not? The Belarusian has been the team’s most productive player in the early going.

Kostitsyn made some fans happy after the team’s win over Phoenix. After being named the game’s first star, he took a turn on the ice and tossed three autographed pucks into the stands.


3 Responses to O'Byrne, Picard on the bubble

  1. DandoEagle says:

    Simple answer – send O'Byrne packing he's run out of chances in MTL but is still worth a return

    To the Ducks – O'Byrne
    To Montreal – 2nd round pick
    The Ducks need D – O'byrnre could make it in Anaheim.
  2. dumbassdoorman says:

    Would your team be better off trying to include him in a package type deal for another dman. you have a lot of guys coming ufa soon, no?

  3. TimTheBone says:

    Well let's face it, Edmonton needs help at D for their future…. The forward position is set…. So salary dumps and depth at defense is what they're going to be looking for…….Let's explore that…

    Ryan O'byrne is a "hot" topic in Montreal as far as him being needed in MTL anymore…

    Ryan O'byrne, Roman Hamrlik, Jaro Spacek, Benoit Pouliot, 2nd rounder……..for…… Dustin Penner, Sheldon Souray, 1st round

    Cap even out pretty nicely I believe…. Souray is replaced with more reliable guys for less time and money….. O'Byrne can try and find himself in Edmonton and perhaps be a good addition for them…. Pouliot is there to more or less even out cap space for MTL and fills a forward spot lost by penner…..Edmonton moves down in the draft based on MTL taking two High money contracts off their hands for 2 years….. Next season if they feel like Pouliot isn't working out Omark can take his spot….

    MTL on the other hand gets Penner the big body scoring winger their looking for to place on gomez and giontas line…. Souray may help fix the PP and can take a minor role as a 6th d-man for MTL….Also i don't think there will be signing problems the next season…. Gill can be let go as well as Darche and Halpern, perhaps Boyd if money is needed..Pyatt and Lapierre won't command huge raises, Neither will Gorges despite his strong defensive play….Markov perhaps would sign a lesser contract for more job security….Kostitsyn may be the only problem if this kid has a career year….
    Line-up prejects well:

    Kostitsyn Plekanec Cammalleri
    Penner Gomez Gionta
    Lapierre Eller Boyd
    Moen Halpern Pyatt

    Markov Subban
    Gill Gorges
    Picard Souray


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