The Sabres Observer
by @DaveDavisHockey on 02/28/14 at 11:19 AM ET
I know this isn't the most popular opinion in town, but I'm a bit uncomfortable with shipping Tyler Myers out of Buffalo without seeing further development with the new Sabres regime.
Disclaimer: If an offer involving Evander Kane or Ryan Nugent-Hopkins lands on Tim Murray's desk, all bets are off and you do that deal in a heartbeat. But no way on God's green earth is Myers as the featured asset bringing back that kind of return right now. And I'm not dealing him for Sam Gagner, who is on the wrong side of 50 points every season.
Now, you know any Myers apologist piece must include the obligatory Zdeno Chara reference, and this one won't disappoint. But please keep in mind that believing, which I don't, that Myers will someday undergo a mystical and dramatic transformation into Chara is not a requirement for making said reference.
When the Bruins' franchise defenseman was the same age as the enigmatic Sabres' former Calder winner, he had accumulated 6 NHL goals and his career plus/minus was a slightly underwhelming minus 61. And he was part of an organization run by Mike Milbury.
Want more? Chris Pronger had 17 goals and was a minus 33 over his first three NHL seasons, and there were concerns about his lack of consistency. He was criticized for being impatient and immature. Mike Keenan was brought in as St. Louis' head coach and worked with him on his conditioning and cutting down on his errors, and the results were extraordinary.
What would Myers look like a year from now after spending more time working with Ted Nolan, the man who has given him the green light to be himself and already in the process has boosted his confidence? Probably not as good as Pronger, but that isn't necessary.
Myers had much better offensive numbers his first three seasons than Chara and Pronger, and that's expected because he has not been, and never will be, as good defensively as those two.
What the Sabres need is offense, and Myers has more than enough ability to be a 15 goal, 45 point blueliner on a really good team. Brian Campbell netted 12 and had 44 points during Buffalo's 2005-06 conference final season, and not too many folks were complaining about his defensive adventures.
And for the advanced stats crowd, Myers does have a positive Relative Corsi this season, and his Fenwick and Corsi numbers aren't much different than those of Mark Pysyk.
As high as I am on Rasmus Ristolainen, Nikita Zadorov and Pysyk, I think it's a bit premature to start unloading guys under the assumption that these youngsters will all pan out and be stars on your top four back end for ten years. Have our premature expectations of Dmitri Kalinin, Marc-Andre Gragnani and T.J. Brennan not taught us anything?
Players with the combination of physical traits and skills that Myers has just don't come along very often. I still think there is some upside here. I can see him being a second-pair guy and first-unit power play point man on a contending team someday. The last time the Sabres were good, that's pretty much what he was.
I'd rather pay Myers to help reach the cap floor next season than a stopgap mediocre veteran. Absent a surprising trade offer, I'd give Tyler One at least one more year.
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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.
Email: email@example.com Twitter: [@DaveDavisHockey]