Over the summer, there were a number of rumours
flying around connecting the Vancouver Canucks’ new General Manager Jim Benning
to the Buffalo Sabres’ Tyler Myers. Why
not? The deal makes sense, at least on the surface. You have a gigantic right-handed young defencemen that skates well, who
could step in with Dan Hamhuis injured, and has the pedigree coming from being
a first round pick and a Calder trophy winner only few years ago.
But is this prospective deal really one that the Canucks should explore? Read past the jump as we delve into the career of Tyler Myers.
Myers broke into the NHL back in 2009-2010 with the
Buffalo Sabres, jumping straight from the WHL. He put up 48 points (11 goals and 37
assists) in 82 games in his rookie NHL season. That play allowed
him to earn the Calder Trophy, beating out the likes of fellow rookies Matt Duchene, John Tavares, and Jimmy Howard.
Myers boxcar numbers look great on the surface, but they start to be
worrisome when you look deeper into them.
Myers was able to achieve his rookie output due in large part to a 10.6% Sh%, the
highest of any rookie defencemen.
BehindTheNet shows he had the highest on-ice PDO of any Sabre defencemen
at 101.6% thanks to an on-ice sh% of 9.72% and an on-ice save% of .918. Unsurprisingly, his offensive output since 2009-2010 has continued to
decline having posted 0.46, 0.42, 0.21, 0.35 and 0.24 points per game in each proceeding season.
He posted these numbers with some of the
team’s worst possession numbers of -3.3 Corsi Relative while facing some of the
easiest competition too. We can forgive that as that was his rookie year, as a young
twenty year old, so we should fast forward to look at his current and last full
This season through 21 games Myers has been facing some of
the easiest opponents while being buried in the defensive zone, and as a result
he continues to have negative possession numbers (-4.40% Corsi Rel, 7th
best among Buffalo defencemen). Last year, Myers had
similar deployment numbers but was slightly positive in terms of possession (+1.77%
Corsi Rel, 4th of all Sabres defencemen).
Only once in his career has Myers posted
possession numbers above 50% which was back in 2010-2011.
We can also look at the WOWY’s
of Tyler Myers. The good news there is
that he doesn’t stand out as a player who hurts you on the ice. The bad news is that he doesn’t make a case
that he makes his teammates better with him on the ice.
So what will it cost to acquire such a talent like
this? Myers is currently signed on a 7-year deal
at $5.5 million a year until the 2019-2020 season. It’s likely that the Canucks could fit him under the cap
given the LTIR relief they will get with Hamhuis injured, combined with
the fact the Canucks are not up against the cap themselves.
The question then becomes do the Canucks actually want
Myers? Myers appears to be a player who
had a great rookie year that was highly percentage driven. Because of that he has a reputation as a good
player without having been able to back it up on the ice. I imagine Myers would
be a decent bottom or maybe second pairing defencemen, but $5.5M against the salary cap each season is a steep price tag. For that price, he should be driving play more than he is,
scoring more points, and making others better.
The only way the Canucks should be interested in
acquiring Myers is if the Sabres are going to ask for what amounts to spare parts in return. Tim Murray is committed to a full-on rebuild in Buffalo and may not see Myers as a core piece, but that doesn’t change the fact that the asking price for Myers is pretty damn high. Vancouver doesn’t exactly have a large collection of prospects either, so parting with any number of prominent ones will hurt this team long-term. A 6’7″, right handed defenseman is also a rare commodity on the open market, and one that is likely in huge demand by NHL GMs. There is no reason why the Sabres would drop their asking price.
To put it all together, Myers is likely overrated based on a lucky rookie performance, carries a cap hit above the production he brings, and will likely cost too much to be viable for Vancouver. A true elite defenseman is still something the Canucks need, but Myers isn’t that guy. Tyler Myers is one of the few player whose entire
career is considered “just a sophomore slump”.