Trade surprises new Flames prospect
STEVE MACFARLANE, QMI Agency
CALGARY - His voice betrayed his emotions before his actual words.
Paul Byron was caught off guard Saturday morning when he found out he was part of the package sent to the Calgary Flames in exchange for Robyn Regehr.
“I’m a little nervous. A little anxiety setting in,” said the 22-year-old in the hours following the news. “It’s a pretty big surprise — I’ve never been traded before — but I’m definitely looking forward to being in the Calgary organization.
“I found out through friends. I got a lot of texts and calls from people telling me I was a part of the rumour mill. I was very surprised about the trade. I had no idea it was coming.”
Right now, Flames fans have no idea what they’re getting. The 5-foot-9, 170-lb. prospect isn’t well known around these parts. Taken in the sixth round in the 2007 NHL Entry Draft, the speedy but undersized centre went on to post a pair of impressive junior seasons with the QMJHL’s Gatineau Olympiques.
Coached by Benoit Groulx, Byron began to blossom with a 37-goal, 68-point campaign in 2007-08 and trumped that with a 33-goal, 99-point season the following year.
With Kevin Dineen guiding him at the pro level last year, Byron fared pretty well for someone of his stature, scoring 14 times and adding
19 assists in 57 games with the AHL Portland Pirates.
He also got into eight games with the Sabres, earning points in each of his first two NHL games — including his first goal in front of his family at Scotiabank Place in his hometown of Ottawa.
“For me to be able to play my second game in Ottawa and score a goal, it was like fate,” said Byron.