Ryan O'Byrne
Ryan O'Byrne
Position Defence
Shoots Right
6 ft 5 in (1.96 m)
234 lb (106 kg)
NHL Team
F. Teams
Colorado Avalanche
Montreal Canadiens
Nationality Flag of Canada Canadian
Born July 19 1984 (1984-07-19) (age 35),
Victoria, BC, CAN
NHL Draft 79th overall, 2003
Montreal Canadiens
Pro Career 2006 – present

Ryan David O'Byrne (born July 19, 1984) is a Canadian professional ice hockey player currently playing for the Colorado Avalanche of the National Hockey League (NHL).

Playing careerEdit


O'Byrne attended the private St. Michaels University School in British Columbia and played two season's of junior in the BCHL with the Victoria Salsa and Nanaimo Clippers. Instead of continuing a CHL career, O'Byrne opted to play U.S. collegiate hockey and committed to Cornell University of New York. Prior to playing his freshman year with Cornell, Ryan was drafted in the third round, 79th overall, by the Montreal Canadiens in the 2003 NHL Entry Draft.[1] Selected due to his large physical frame and potential as a shut-down defenseman, he played in 31 games with the Big Red contributing only 2 assists.[2] Improving offensively with 3 goals and 10 points in his sophomore season of 2004–05, O'byrne helped Cornell regain the ECAC Championship with a 3-1 win over Harvard before losing in the West Regional Final to the University of Minnesota.[3]

In his junior year, O'byrne entrenched himself as a top defender within Cornell's ECAC leading defense corps to be selected as a First Team All-Ivy player.[4] Despite missing nearly a month to injury, O'Byrne led all Big Red defenseman with 7 goals and 13 points in 28 games and was named in the ECAC Third-Team before losing in a rematch to Harvard in the ECAC Championship.[5] O'Byrne was selected by Cornell Coach Mike Schäfer as an alternate captain, but decided to forgo his senior year to begin his professional career signing a two-year entry level contract with the Montreal Canadiens on August 9, 2006.[6]


After attending his first Montreal training camp, he was assigned to American Hockey League affiliate, the Hamilton Bulldogs, for the 2006–07 season. As a stay-at-home defensive-defenseman, Ryan produced just 12 assists in 80 games with the Bulldogs, waiting until the playoffs to score his first professional goals. In scoring his first goal, an opening series clinching goal over the Rochester Americans, he helped the Bulldogs advance to the Conference Semi-finals. In the Championship finals he then produced his second game winning goal a game three win over the Hershey Bears en route to claiming the Calder Cup.[7]

In the following 2007–08 season, O'Byrne resumed playing with Hamilton before he was later recalled to the Canadiens and made his NHL debut, recording two assists, in a 4-2 victory over the Boston Bruins on December 6, 2007.[8] Ryan missed a month of the season after suffering a broken thumb, before returning to health and scoring his first NHL goal in a 6-4 defeat to the San Jose Sharks on March 4, 2008.[9] He finished the season, while splitting time between Hamilton and Montreal, to finish with 33 games.

O'Byrne was then re-signed to a three-year contract with the Canadiens on July 16, 2008.[10] He made the Canadiens opening night roster for the 2008–09 season, and was used as a reserve defenseman. With two stints in the AHL, O'Byrne appeared in 37 games for five assists, however his season was highlighted and gained the most attention on November 24, 2008, when he unintentionally tied the score with an own goal in the last minutes of a game against the New York Islanders, in which the Canadiens would go on to lose 4-3 in overtime.[11] In his second game of the 2009–10 campaign with the Canadiens, Ryan suffered a knee injury causing him to miss the next 20 games. Upon his return, O'byrne established himself as a regular within the defense corps. On December 4, 2009, he changed his jersey number to 20 due to retiring of the number 3 in honour of Emile Bouchard for the Canadiens Centennial celebrations. Similar to Ray Bourque's homage to Phil Esposito in Boston, Ryan wore the number 20 jersey underneath his number 3 jersey and as a surprise, unveiled his new number during the banner hanging and presented Bouchard his jersey as a token of being the last to wear the number 3 for the Canadiens. O'byrne finished his first full NHL season, appearing in a career high 55 games and 13 post-season games as the Canadiens reached the Eastern Conference finals.

To begin the 2010–11 season, O'Byrne was relegated as a depth defenceman on the Habs blueline. In the final year of his contract and unable to establish a position he was traded by the Canadiens to the Colorado Avalanche for forward prospect Michael Bournival on November 11, 2010.[12] In his first game with the Avalanche, Ryan recorded a career high in ice time in a 5-1 win over the Columbus Blue Jackets on November 12, 2010.[13]

February 2008 arrestEdit

On February 11, 2008, O'Byrne and teammate Tom Kostopoulos were arrested with force outside a Tampa Bay, Florida nightclub following the team's rookie dinner for a purse-snatching incident.[14] He was charged that night with grand theft after police found him with a woman's purse in one hand making a call with her cellphone in the other. Kostopoulos was charged with resisting the officers after he was told to back off while they were dealing with O'Byrne. Both were eventually released on bail—O'Byrne's was $2,000, Kostopoulos' was $500.[15] The charges against Kostopoulos were dropped a few weeks later, while those against O'Byrne were dropped in July 2008, after he apologized to the victim and conceded to do community service in Canada.

Career statistics Edit

Regular season Playoffs
Season Team League GP G A Pts PIM GP G A Pts PIM
2001–02 Victoria Salsa BCHL 52 2 9 11 91
2002–03 Victoria Salsa BCHL 32 3 6 9 94
2002–03 Nanaimo Clippers BCHL 9 2 4 6 24
2003–04Cornell UniversityECAC3102271
2004–05Cornell UniversityECAC33371068
2005–06Cornell UniversityECAC28761369
2006–07Hamilton BulldogsAHL80012121292225732
2007–08Hamilton BulldogsAHL2026849
2007–08Montreal CanadiensNHL331674540000
2008–09Montreal CanadiensNHL370553820002
2008–09Hamilton BulldogsAHL1815635
2009–10Montreal CanadiensNHL55134741300010
2010–11Montreal CanadiensNHL30004
2010–11Colorado AvalancheNHL640101071
NHL totals 192 2 24 26 252 19 0 0 0 12


  1. "Five Cornell players selected in NHL draft". (2003-06-22). Retrieved on 2010-12-01.
  2. "Ryan O'Byrne player card". (2008-05-06). Retrieved on 2008-09-09.
  3. "Cornell wins 11th ECACHL Championship with 3-1 win over Harvard". (2005-03-19). Retrieved on 2010-12-01.
  4. "Moulson, O'Byrne named in First-Team All-Ivy". (2006-03-01). Retrieved on 2010-12-01.
  5. "Moulson, O'Byrne capture All-ECACHL honours". (2006-03-16). Retrieved on 2010-12-01.
  6. "Canadiens sign O'Byrne to two-year deal". Montreal Canadiens (2006-08-09). Retrieved on 2010-12-01.
  7. "Super-size Me". Montreal Canadiens (2007-05-06). Retrieved on 2010-12-01.
  8. "Canadiens beat Bruins seventh consecutive time, stops three-game slide". CBS Sports (2007-12-06). Retrieved on 2010-12-01.
  9. "Thornton, Campbell score big goals in Sharks' 6-4 win over Montreal". Yahoo! Sports (2008-03-04). Retrieved on 2010-12-01.
  10. "O'Byrne inks three year deal". Montreal Canadiens (2008-07-16). Retrieved on 2010-12-01.
  11. "O'Byrne's own goal costs Habs as they lose 4-3 in shootout to streaking Isles". National Hockey League (2008-11-24). Retrieved on 2010-12-01.
  12. Dater, Adrian (2010-11-12). "Avs defenseman O'Byrne brings size, hunger to improve". Denver Post. Retrieved on 2010-12-01.
  13. "Jones leads Avalanche past Blue Jackets 5-1". Yahoo! Sports (2010-11-12). Retrieved on 2010-12-01.
  14. Poltilove, Josh (2008-02-11). "Two hockey pros, One Former NBA player arrested at Tampa Bar". Retrieved on 2010-12-01.
  15. "O'Byrne arrested". (2008-02-11). Retrieved on 2008-02-13.

External linksEdit

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