33 GP: 1 G, 6 A, 7 Pts, 45 PIM, +7, 10 Shots
Career best year
Rookie (same as above)
4 GP: 0 G, 0 A, 0 Pts, 0 PIM, -2, 3 Shots
Career best playoffs
Rookie (same as above)
Plays of the game: 0
Game pucks: 0
3 Star selections: 0
Where he started the season
A very impressive playoff run with Hamilton in 2007 gave this forgotten prospect a legitimate chance at making the squad in October. The team, however, already had 8 NHL defencemen and it seemed like his chance (like that of Ron Hainsey) would not be in Montreal. He started the season in Hamilton likely waiting for an injury in Montreal to happen. What we thought might happen, did happen:
"Because defensemen get injured, he will get himself high enough in the line to see some games. From his Calder Cup play, he has the quality to stick if he gets in the door."
When it became obvious to fans and the coaches alike that neither Dandenault nor Brisebois could play NHL level defence (obvious to me since 1992), a call went to the farm for their best. Ryan was called up in early December and made an immediate impact in his first game notching 2 assists. An injury and a nighclub debacle in late 2007 seemed like it could signal the end of his stay in MTL, but the team stood by him and it seemed like they made the right choice. After his first game brilliance, he only managed 5 points over his next 36 games, but it became very obvious that he was not here for his scoring.
Highlights: O'Byrne hits, passes and scores. The highlights from him this season for me don't make a good real: not making rookie mistakes.
O'Byrne by the numbers: Canadiens.com
Lions' links on O'Byrne:
Canadiens rookie camp
Canadiens Changes: Part 1 of 2
O'Byrne Trying to Make Decisions Easy
It is not only nice to see a rookie defenceman do well with the Habs, it is just nice to see a rookie defenceman get a chance with the Habs. Ryan got more comfortable as the season went on giving Habs fans high hopes for years to come. At 6'6" we may just have a Chara in our midst which would be great news as our team really does need high-quality defence. The thing that impressed me more than the hits, the fights or the reach was his dedication to smart, defensive play. In his 33 games, he only had a negative rating in 6 of them and 5 of those came in his first 10 career games.
Where we'd have him next season
Hopefully the Habs will get rid of the Breezer and Dandenault, thus making more room for Ryan. He showed this year that he can play at the NHL level and now all he needs is experience. I don't see him being much more that a 6th or 7th D-man next year, but I still think he has his place on our team. What he needs now is to see consistent playing time and his confidence will surely grow.