Paul Byron’s daughter Elianna celebrated her first birthday on March 1 and is just beginning to understand what her dad does for a living.

“We’ve got some good pictures of her jumping up to the TV,” said the Calgary Flames forward, entertaining a crowd of reporters in his stall following Tuesday’s 3-1 win over the visiting Buffalo Sabres. “They (his daughter and fiancée Sarah) weren’t here earlier (in the year).

“But she loves coming to hockey games and loves the energy of the crowd. She’s going to be in the arena for a long time.”

And her dad, for the rest of the season, is here to stay.

Job security has been a big factor in Byron’s emergence in the last month of National Hockey League action, as would be the case for anyone with a young family but also for a guy who is just beginning to display his abilities as an everyday NHL player.

“I think it’s just come with maturity,” said the 24-year-old from Ottawa. “Every day in practice, I try to be the best player on the ice. Maybe in the past with some of the guys like (Jarome) Iginla and those older guys, I was just trying to get by in practice. Maybe kind of hide. Now, I want to be first in every drill. I want to improve. I want to get better.

“I want to show I belong in this league.”

It’s now or never for Byron, an undersized (five-foot-seven, 153-pounder) fifth-year professional who was part of the return for the Robyn Regehr trade to the Buffalo Sabres, and he knows it.