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O'Byrne inks three-year deal

by Staff Writer / Montréal Canadiens

MONTREAL -- Canadiens GM Bob Gainey announced Wednesday the signing of defenseman Ryan O’Byrne to a three-year contract (2008-09 to 2010-11). As per club policy, financial terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

“Ryan acquired a great deal of NHL experience last season. He is part of our young core of defensemen and certainly has the potential of becoming a very good NHL player. He is big, intense and his physical play are important assets for our team,’’ said Bob Gainey.

O’Byrne, who will turn 24 on July 19, will begin his second season in the NHL this fall. In 2007-08, he scored seven points (one goal, six assists) and served 45 penalty minutes in 33 games with the Canadiens, averaging 13:23 minutes of ice time per game. The 6-foot-5, 228-pound defenseman also played 20 games with the Hamilton Bulldogs, posting eight points (2-6-8), a plus-4 differential and 49 penalty minutes. He was named to the Canadian AHL All-Star Team.

A native of Victoria, British Columbia, O’Byrne was selected by the Canadiens in the third round, 79th overall, in the 2003 NHL Entry Draft. He played three seasons with the ECAC Cornell University Big Red from 2003 to 2006.

Shawn Belle under contract
The Canadiens also announced Wednesday the signing of defenseman Shawn Belle to a one-year contract (2008-09). Belle, 23, was acquired from the Minnesota Wild on July 11 in return for forward Corey Locke.

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