Ryan O’Byrne is the first two of those things, by that he is a defenceman, and he played alongside Andrei Markov. He did not play particularly well alongside Andrei Markov and the Montreal Canadiens traded Ryan O’Byrne before he even got to free agency.
The Toronto Maple Leafs acquired that defenceman Wednesday afternoon.
The acquisition cost is not bad. O’Byrne cost a fourth round pick, per Darren Dreger. O’Byrne is a right-handed defenceman who can play 19-20 minutes a night. He’s been a prototypical 2nd pairing defenceman for a poor defensive team in Colorado the last two-and-a-half seasons, is offensively limited and is a rental this season.
O’Byrne is a warm body to slide into the lineup. He can potentially play some minutes with left-handed Dion Phaneuf or Carl Gunnarsson, but has some notoriously poor possession stats. Him and Jan Hejda last season saw the tough minutes for the Avalanche, and both players played significantly better when apart from each other, facing “non toughs”.
In the 2011 season, O’Byrne actually played alongside John-Michael Liles. The two were negative possession players, but again, those Colorado teams were not adept on defence and Liles-O’Byrne did see some of the tougher competition. Given how limited he is on offence, playing him in hard defensive situations is all that’s available. That’s a good second-pairing player and probably an upgrade over Mike Kostka from that standpoint as far as right shots go.
To summarize: Ryan O’Byrne is unspectacular, but useful. He can play on the 2nd or 3rd pairing. He makes the defence better if he replaces Kostka or Fraser. He will probably leave after this season.
Update: The Internet’s @wayne_chow reminds me of this. Honestly, though, it could have happened to anybody: