Montreal Canadiens Sign Paul Byron, Nathan Beaulieu Injured

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Feb 25, 2016 02:49 PM EST
Paul Byron #41 of the Montreal Canadiens
Justin Williams of the Washington Capitals battles Paul Byron of the Montreal Canadiens for the puck at Verizon Center on February 24."

The Montreal Canadiens have signed forward Paul Byron to a three-year contract extension, according to CBC.

Byron was set to be an unrestricted free agent this summer and might have been a target for teams at the trading deadline if he did not sign a new deal. The deal for Byron is worth $3.5 million, according to ESPN. Montreal general manager Marc Bergevin called Byron a "versatile forward" and said that he is a key part of the future for the Canadiens.  

Byron was originally claimed off waivers last October from the Calgary Flames, and this season, he has 12 points in 41 games for Montreal. Byron was previously a sixth round pick for the Buffalo Sabres back in 2007, and he has 25 career goals since entering the league. Byron has been a solid contributor for Montreal this season, averaging just over 13 minutes per game for the team. He is one of the league leaders in short-handed points, ranking second with five this season, including three goals.

Montreal has also been dealing with some injury issues, as players like Nathan Beaulieu, Tom Gilbert and Jeff Petry have all been banged up. The team announced earlier in the week that Gilbert would be out for the season after having knee surgery, while Petry has missed seven straight games with a lower-body injury, according to The Canadian Press.

Beaulieu sat out against the Capitals on Wednesday with a lower-body injury, and he could miss more time going forward. Beaulieu was originally injured against the Nashville Predators after taking a hard hit that knocked him into the goal post in the offensive zone. The team called up Victor Bartley from the AHL to help with depth issues while the players recover.

The Canadiens are currently battling to stay in the playoff mix in the Eastern Conference. The team has struggled over the second half of the season, and they are currently five points back of the second wild card spot. The Canadiens are 29-27-5 this season with 63 points, and they have four teams ahead of them in the standings. The Detroit Red Wings and Pittsburgh Penguins are currently the two wild card teams in the Eastern Conference.

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