Congratulations to Gatineau forward Paul Byron on being named QMJHL Offensive Player of the Week.
Byron collected five goals, including two game-winners, and added five assists in four Olympiques wins. Furthermore, he posted a +7 rating. The winger enjoyed his best game of the week on Friday, registering five points, including the game-winning goal in the third period, in a 6-4 victory over the Rouyn-Noranda Huskies. Gatineau sits in first place in the TELUS Western division standings with 58 points.Byron oozes with puck skills, but the truth is that he's become proficient at both ends of the rink, making up for any perceived shortcomings (size/strength) with hard work and preparedness. At 5'9, 170 pounds, the Ottawa native uses speed to hit seams, and likes to initiate contact to make his case. He's currently 4th in Q scoring with 27-47-74 in 49 games, and tops among those that matter with an astounding 23.1 snipe %. How effective he'll be at the next level remains up for debate, but with Byron on his way to 100 points in a season that has seen a guy of a similar ilk and pedigree, David Desharnais, earn a deal with Montreal, it's a fair assumption that he will be able to produce in the AHL. Granted, Desharnais had to tear up the "coast league" for a year before earning his look. Byron, who at the time stood 5'8, 135 pounds, was drafted in 2007 (6th round) for his hands. Unless Buffalo brass projected six inches and 60 pounds of growth by now, one could argue that his production has exceeded expectations. There's a difference between good junior players and those who project to be professionals, and Byron is an interesting subject. He's historically risen to the occasion, making us confident that the Sabres will not let his first three years of development come on another team's dime.