BAM! Calder Cup.
The Edmonton Oilers have signed winger Dane Byers to a one-year contract. There's no word yet on terms aside from the fact that this is a two-way deal. In that Byers is twenty-six years old and has played a total of fourteen NHL games (with two suspensions!), it's pretty clear that this is a signing designed to help in Oklahoma City. Based on the depth that the Oilers have on the wings I'd say that 6'3'', 200-pound Byers is a longshot to make it into any NHL games this season. But that won't stop me from telling you a little bit more about him!
Byers was drafted in the second round of the 2004 entry draft (48th overall) after a very Morozesque 17 points and 134 penalty minutes in 51 games with the Moose Jaw Warriors of the WHL. But the Christmas Past version of Moroz had a "development curve that was on the way up". Over the next several seasons, he improved substantially, and when he registered 47 points and 213 penalty minutes in 78 games as a twenty year-old rookie in the AHL, it looked like Byers might have a promising future.
Unfortunately for Byers, his development has stalled there, at least in part because of a knee injury that cost him almost all of the 2008-09 season (his twenty-two year-old season). Still, Byers has been a good AHL player when healthy. In four complete AHL seasons, he has never scored less than 15 goals, less than 45 points or registered less than 100 penalty minutes. Dane Byers is the AHL version of the player that the Oilers are desperately trying to find.