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The Sabres Observer

Criticism Over Myers Deal Is Unjustified

After years of being vilified for not dishing out hefty long term contracts to keep some of their superstars from leaving, the Sabres are being blasted by a number of hockey writers for pulling out all the stops to win a championship.

That’s how it goes in the realm of sports journalism.  When you aren’t willing to pay to keep your own players you get criticized by the media.  When you do actually pay the necessary price to keep your own players you get criticized by the media.  This just further makes the case that sportswriters have the easiest job in the world.

The latest scribe to board the Terry Pegula bashwagon is Ken Warren of The Ottawa Citizen.  Check out this gem from his piece yesterday as he tries to justify criticism of the Tyler Myers contract extension:

The way I see it, Myers has performed pretty much the way the Sabres had hoped he would after being taken with the 12th overall selection in the 2008 draft. He went back to junior for a year and followed that up with two generally strong seasons in Buffalo.

That’s right, folks.  The Sabres pretty much expected Myers in 2009-10 to jump in and immediately become an impact top pair defenseman and win the Calder Trophy.  In other news, Tim Thomas is coming off a generally strong season in Boston.

The article also implies that Myers overall is at the same level as Erik Karlsson and P.K. Subban:

In many ways, his career has so far paralleled that of Ottawa Senators defenceman Erik Karlsson and P.K. Subban of the Montreal Canadiens, with impressive peaks of great play and some deep valleys, extended periods when seemingly nothing went right.

The insinuation from this one-dimensional thought process is that these three players should be playing on similar contracts.  The only thing sillier would be to parallel the impressive peaks of great scoring and some deep valleys and extended droughts of Thomas Vanek and Steven Stamkos to argue that they should be paid the same.

Warren brings up comparables but fails to duly note Karlsson’s career -35, or Subban having one year on his resume rather than two.  Hey look, all three of these guys are very good players.  But if even one general manager exists in the NHL who honestly would rather have Karlsson or Subban than Myers, I’d love to know who it is.

It’s been stated before but bears repeating.  The Sabres have been playing nice for the past 40 years.  Look up at the rafters in their building to see where it’s gotten them.

In an NHL where the salary cap has increased 8.7% annually since the lockout, Terry Pegula just signed off on paying his franchise defenseman $5.5 million per season.  That formula puts Myers on pace to account for 6% of the team payroll in the fourth year of his deal.

If the sky over the world of the NHL really is falling, this contract has little or nothing to do with it.

Twitter: @DaveDavisHockey

Filed in: | The Sabres Observer | Permalink


awould's avatar

Nicely done.

Posted by awould on 09/20/11 at 01:19 PM ET


Indeed, well done.

The concern over Buffalo’s offseason is definitely overstated but I still personally think there’s reason for concern over the term lengths, not spending in general or even the cap hit which aren’t too bad imo.

I say this as a Pens fan who was so disappointed to see Sergei Gonchar go.  He wanted 5.5 at 3 years but Shero wouldn’t budge off of only 2 years.  At the time it sucked, Martin and Michalek then helped, and then seeing Gonch’s play this season I can only be grateful that Shero didn’t balk. 

I wish the spin on Buffalo wasn’t so negative, because like you said having an owner who’s letting his GM do his job isn’t something that should be looked down upon.  There’s a lot to be excited about as a Sabres fan right now, and honestly some things to fear as a fan of a different EC team.  Whether Leino or Ehrhoff can still contribute in 5+ or 7+ years at their current level is something I get however.

Posted by JBM on 09/20/11 at 07:08 PM ET

awould's avatar

Yeah, term lengths are really the only thing I’d be worried about with these deals too. However, term length and cap hit go hand in hand these days and with some of these marquee young players, especially defensemen, it is hard to get a good cap hit without resorting to ridiculously long deals.

My only gripe with Meyers was his performance last year on my fantasy team. What a bust, good thing I traded him (right before he got his act together)!

Posted by awould on 09/20/11 at 07:15 PM ET

@DaveDavisHockey's avatar

The longer terms are certainly rolling the dice.  I think it’s high risk/reward.  If the cap keeps shooting up then Buffalo gets these guys at bargain prices.  And of course we know the downside.  Thanks for chiming in guys.

Posted by @DaveDavisHockey from Buffalo, NY on 09/21/11 at 02:22 PM ET

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About The Sabres Observer

Dave Davis has covered the Buffalo Sabres for various NHL accredited websites and newspapers since 2003.  He was the senior writer and Sabres correspondent for The Fourth Period, covered hockey for Western New York Sports and Leisure Magazine, and has had articles featured on NHL.com, FOX Sports, Yahoo Sports and in New York Sportscene.  Sabres news and notes can be found on his Twitter page.

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Email: dd@kuklaskorner.com Twitter: [@DaveDavisHockey]