Rumblings: Canadiens find potential in Paul Byron, but not Alexander Semin

Paul Byron is averaging 12:25 of ice time in three games for Montreal. Sergei Belski/USA TODAY Sports

Paul Byron has impressed since finally getting into the Montreal Canadiens' lineup. He has three points (two goals, one assist) in three games, although his true usefulness isn’t offense as much as being an effective and versatile checker.

On a team that’s built on speed, the Habs were immediately interested when they saw Byron’s name on waivers in early October. But they didn’t think they would get him given that they were 28th of 29 teams on the waiver pick order that day.

But surprise, surprise, as the Habs indeed landed him after 27 teams before them passed on the 5-foot-8 spark plug.

Let’s not over-dramatize this. Byron is a checker and depth player. But even if his role ends up being more of a 13th forward this season for the Habs, his blazing speed is a perfect fit for a team that’s all about speed.

The Flames waived him because they carried three goalies out of camp but also because Byron had broken down with injuries last season. Calgary didn’t want to lose him but, with excess forwards, chose him to be exposed.

In a more limited role for the Habs, the 26-year-old forward should prove to be a nice complementary piece.

Again, it’s the little moves that go under the radar that can often make the difference. This looks like a shrewd pickup by Habs general manager Marc Bergevin.

Alexander Semin not fitting

Alexander Semin was slated to sit for a fourth-straight game Tuesday night and so far that gamble has not been profitable.

The Canadiens picked up Semin with a cheap, one-year deal. If it worked, great; if it didn’t, no harm, no foul.

Semin was taken out of the lineup last week because he wasn’t playing with enough pace while also turning the puck over too much.

The Canadiens are about speed, speed, speed and until Semin adjusts his game to fit into that scheme, he won’t be a fit there.

But he will get another chance at some point as the Canadiens haven’t given up on him.