Ryan O'Byrne Returns to Montreal Canadiens: Sign of a Trade?

Matt Eichel@@mattyalloutSenior Writer IJanuary 27, 2009

The much-maligned defenseman Ryan O'Byrne is dressed and ready to play Tuesday night against the Tampa Bay Lightning, as the Montreal Canadiens kick off the second half of their season.

Why is O'Byrne back up with the big club?  Montreal is the team he has had an up and down relationship with.

Maybe it's the signal that a trade is imminent.

Am I right Mr. Gainey?

With the Vincent Lecavalier trade rumors reraising their ugly heads during the All-Star festivities in Montreal, why shouldn't we be curious if a trade will take place?

Remember how Montreal fans displayed their enthusiasm for Lecavalier, when he was introduced to the Bell Centre crowd.

A 30-second standing ovation in the Bell Centre isn't just for any odd hockey player from Timbuktu.

How much stock does O'Byrne have?

After getting seasoned with a successful stint—where he netted five points (one goal, four assists), plus-seven, and 27 PIMs in thirteen games—he may be trade bait.

Plus, the return of Chris Higgins is also a large factor. Higgins has been rumored to be expendable if the Canadiens were to pitch a deal to bring Lecavalier to Montreal.

How is it going to go down, Mr. Gainey?

Tomas Plekanec, Chris Higgins, Ryan O'Byrne, four picks, and another player?  PK Subban or Josh Gorges?

With the inconsistency of Higgins—through both injuries and healthy times—and the slump that Plekanec has been suffering through most of the season, both of these players may need a change of scenery.  Plekanec's slump has been mostly due to Alex Kovalev's mediocre season.

For Gorges, he is hard to move, and PK Subban even less so.

As for O'Byrne, he's definitely expendable, especially considering all the big-name prospects coming up through the system.  These include Subban and Yannick Weber.

Such a large deal—but why not deal the players who are more expendable?

How about it, Mr. Gainey?

Whatever the deal is, it has to be better than Gainey's deadline deals last season.

Now we sit, watch, and wait.


Matt Eichel is the Community Leader for the Montreal Canadiens here on Bleacher Report.  Matt also co-hosts Habs All Out Radio, a in-depth talk radio show devoted to all things Montreal Canadiens.  It airs weekly at www.youcastr.com/shows/habs-all-out and is hosted by Matt and Miah D.