When General Manager Tim Murray was hired, he made it clear that changes would be made, and that there was. As we sit just a month away from training camp, the Sabres blue line will look substantially different from last year’s. With players among the likes of Josh Gorges, Andrej Meszaros, and Andre Benoit brought in to bolster the group, the Sabres have steady talent on the back end. One player who remains in the line-up from last year however, is Tyler Myers, who’s name was being thrown out as trade bait this offseason. While Myers is still with the team, one must wonder if Myers is in the long-term plans for the Sabres.
It didn’t take Myers long to prove he belonged in the NHL. Drafted 12th overall in the 2008 NHL Entry Draft, Myers made his career debut in the 2009-10 season, where he played in all 82 games, recording 48 points. Myers also took home the Calder Trophy, as the league’s best rookie. After his second season with the Sabres, Myers signed a whopping 7 year 38.5 million dollar deal, and has since failed to live up to this contract. Myers has been plagued by injuries and below par play the past three seasons, although he did show glimpses of his rookie campaign this past season. The 6’8 defenseman must prove to new management and coaches that he can play NHL hockey on a consistent level, in order to be a part of the team’s future.
It’s no secret that Myers possesses great size at 6’8. It took him some years, but Myers is starting to utilize his size, adding much needed physical play to his game. Another asset of Myers is his skating. Most of the time, Myers excels at rushing the puck. He has solid vision and can be a weapon on the power play. Myers has a booming shot from the point, and is able to get the puck through traffic, which is vital. Offensively, Myers has proven that he can produce points on both the power play and even strength.
More often than not, Myers is a defensive liability. When he is rushed with the puck, he often makes the wrong play and turns the puck over. His defensive positioning must also improve. Sabres fans are all too familiar when Myers appears lost in his own end. In fact, Myers has accumulated a -34 plus/minus in his last two seasons combined. This number must improve if Myers wants to remain with the blue and gold. Finally, Myers must stay healthy and avoid injuries at all costs, as they have contributed to his below average play.
It will be very interesting to see how Tyler Myers performs during the 2014-15 season. Maybe the acquisition of Josh Gorges can really help Myers. Gorges can have a calming presence on Myers, and help guide him in his own end, which is just what Myers needs. Myers has all the physical tools to excel at the NHL level; he just needs to re-gain his confidence. If Myers can ignite his game and play at the level he first did when he came into the league, than by all means will he be with the Sabres for the long run. However, there will be pressure on Myers to perform; due to the fact the Sabres have an abundance of young defensive prospects that will soon be ready to make the jump to the NHL.