Buffalo's Tyler Myers (Photo by Bill Wippert/NHLI via Getty Images)
Whether the 2010 Calder Trophy winner is still with the Sabres by the end of the season is an unanswered question, but there's a reason he's been in the trade winds and that's the unique set of tools he possesses.
That the Buffalo Sabres are struggling this season is no surprise. Are they a bit worse than anticipated? For now, yes. But it's not like the team is devoid of talent. We know the organization has a lot of potential wrapped up in its youth and even though he's a little older, towering defenseman Tyler Myers still has a lot of upside.
“He’s just a great talent," said Josh Gorges. "You think of guys who are 6-foot-7, you think of guys who are not mobile; they’re big, kinda clunky. But his ability to skate, handle the puck, make plays – he’s a great talent and I’ve been lucky to play with him.”
For the record, Myers is actually listed at 6-foot-8, but his new defense partner can be forgiven for the slight – the dude's tall, that's the bottom line. And there's a lot of love between the two, even if their partnership has been forged in the fires of rebuild hell.
“He’s been the ultimate veteran to learn from," Myers said. "As soon as he came in he had a leadership presence and he’s continued that ever since. He’s a guy I look up to and any chance I get to learn from him, I’ll take advantage.”
The two actually have a deeper background together. Both are alumni of the Western League's Kelowna Rockets and the two are part of a big cohort of NHLers who train in the picturesque British Columbia locale in the summer.
Gorges was a big acquisition for the Sabres over the summer and even if the Sabres have been getting blown up left and right this season, a look at the fancy stats will tell you that he and Myers are doing their best to keep the ship afloat. They are in a class by themselves on the team in terms of hard minutes and even though nobody really uses plus-minus anymore, Myers is "only" minus-7, which is the best for any Sabres D-man who has played 10 games or more. He's also logging nearly 25 minutes a game, which is three full minutes more than Gorges in second place. That includes top-pairing penalty-kill time (Gorges edges him out by three seconds per game there) and power play time (only forward Tyler Ennis has played more).
So it's probably no surprise that Myers has been named in trade rumors. Detroit has been offered as a destination and on a team where he wouldn't have to do so much heavy lifting, it does seem like a fit. But Myers, like most players, prefers to live in the here and now.
“That stuff doesn’t bother me," he said. "I know there are teams interested but as of right now I’m a Buffalo Sabre and that’s where my focus is.”