TylerMyers

The Tyler Myers Turning Point

Tyler Myers got off to another slow start this season.  He currently sits tied for 688th in the NHL in plus/minus at -8, but the majority of that damage was done in the first 5 games when he was -7.  Easy math will tell you that he has played better since that point, going only -1 in the last 14 games. 

We’re used to seeing this out of the big defenseman.  Every year, except his Calder Trophy winning rookie season, it seems that he gets off to a slow start, especially in the plus/minus category.  He then seems to be able to right the ship at some point.  Let’s take a look at some splits of prior years to the see the similarities.

2013-14 Season:

Games

Goals

Assists

Points

Plus/Minus

First 5

0

0

0

-7

Last 14

1

3

4

-1

 

2012-13 Season:

Games

Goals

Assists

Points

Plus/Minus

First 11

1

0

1

-9

Last 28

2

5

7

+1

 

2011-12 Season:

Games

Goals

Assists

Points

Plus/Minus

First 25

3

4

7

-8

Last 30

5

11

16

+13

 

2010-11 Season:

Games

Goals

Assists

Points

Plus/Minus

First 42

5

12

17

-15

Last 38

5

15

20

+15

 

As you can see, there tends to be a point in the season where Myers settles down and starts to play smarter hockey.  Unfortunately, that turning point doesn’t occur at the same interval every year so it makes it difficult to predict when he will turn it around.  Another thing that happens from his slow starts is that he draws the ire of the Buffalo fan base and quickly becomes a goat in many eyes.  If he started the season on a higher note, I wonder if the public opinion of Myers would be better. 

Three questions come to my head when analyzing this data…

Why does he start so slow every year in the first place?

Here’s the bad news… I don’t have the answers.  And it doesn’t seem that anyone in the Sabres organization does either.  If they did, he wouldn’t start this way each and every year, right?  Two years ago, the slow start was blamed on his conditioning.  Last year, we blamed it on the lockout.  Surely the delayed start to the season through off his preparation.  But this offseason he was supposedly working on coming into camp in the best shape of his life, and you can’t use the lockout excuse this time… so what is it now? 

Which of the players are the REAL Tyler Myers? 

The one who looks lost in his own end and digs a plus/minus hole to start the season, or the more confident and competent defenseman that emerges at some point in the season?

The Sabres must feel that the REAL Tyler Myers is the one who emerges after the turning point.  After all, they did give him a 7 year, $38,500,000 contract.  Let’s hope that they are right and he figures out how to come out of the gates better in future years. 

Has he already found that turning point this season or is it yet to come?

It seems that he is already playing better.  The season started for Myers with a very rough 5 game stretch that saw him record a minus rating in each contest, culminating with a -3 result against Columbus.  Having said that, only time will give us the complete answer to this question.

I know it seems like Myers has been around forever and that he is a constant disappointment but let’s remember two things:

  • He’s already 23rd in franchise history in games played for defensemen (275), but he’s still only 23 years old
  • He won the Calder Trophy.  That’s both a good thing and a bad thing.  The good is that it shows he has the talent.  The bad is that it set expectations for a very young man at a very high level.  A level that he hasn’t been able to reach.  Does that mean that we should throw him on the scrap heap because he isn’t going to be the best defenseman in the league like we thought he could be?  I don’t think so.

I’m not interested in giving up on Myers in the form of a compliance buyout, and no team is going to trade for his contract… so we’re stuck with him.  In the end, that may not be such a bad thing.  The potential is there, the problems are just between his ears.  He’s not preventing a contending team from winning the cup this year, we’ve got time to let him grow just like all of the other young Sabres.

For more Sabres stats nuggets in 140 characters or less, follow me on Twitter (@SabresStats).

LET’S GO BUFFALO!!

 

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