Five years ago, Tyler Myers became a part of the Buffalo Sabres organization when he was taken by them with the 12th overall selection in the 2008 entry draft. He played one more season in juniors with the Kelowna Rockets before joining the Sabres as a rookie in the 09-10 season. To say he was impressive would be something of an understatement. Myers ended the campaign with 11 goals and 48 points, tying him for eighth among defenseman scoring with all 82 games played. 48 points is a good statistical year for some forwards and it is certainly impressive for a defenseman. The fact that Myers was able to accomplish this as a rookie had all eyes on him, and he didn’t disappoint the fans of defensive hockey either, as he was incredibly confident for a rookie and even posted a +13 rating (Scott Niedermayer was a -9 that year). Myers also helped the Sabres reach the playoffs for the first time in two years, and only the third time in the past seven seasons, where he put up one goal in the six games he played before falling to the Boston Bruins in the first round. Myers was recognized for his terrific season and was awarded the Calder Memorial Trophy given to the rookie of the year.
The next season (10-11) Myers managed to avoid the ‘sophomore slump’ that seems to haunt so many Calder Trophy recipients as he played in 80 games and netted 10 goals coupled with 37 points, which was good to tie him for 17th in scoring among defensemen, but what impressed us the most was his improved defensive play which made him look like a veteran on the ice, and even drew comparisons to all-star defenseman Zdeno Chara and at 6’8 227lbs he is one of the few players in the league who isn’t looking up at Chara during a fight. The Sabres made the playoffs for a second straight year, where Myers netted 5 goals 6 points in their first round loss that went to 7 games against the Philadelphia Flyers.
The 11-12 season marked the beginning of the end for Myers. His season was shortened to 55 games as he was out with a broken wrist from November to January. In those 55 games Myers still put in 8 goals and 23 points, and was on pace to get around 40 points if he’d played the entire 82 game season. Those are some solid numbers, but after he returned from his injury, Myers just wasn’t the same player as he struggled in his own end and couldn’t seem to find his legs to jump into the play on the rush. Myers’ poor play contributed to the Sabres poor season, as they missed the playoffs. Still, former GM Darcy Regier saw enough in Myers to sign him to a 7-year deal worth $38.5 million, not including the $10 million signing bonus.
In last year’s lockout-shortened season, Myers played 39 out of 48 games as he missed the last 9 contests due to a broken leg. Before the injury, Myers couldn’t do a whole lot of anything, only putting up 8 points and struggling severely in his own end, registering a -8 rating and just looking lost in front of his goal tender Ryan Miller. Getting injured was probably the best thing that happened to Myers as it left him the benefit of the doubt.
Unfortunately, if anyone gave Myers the benefit of the doubt, their faith was misplaced. Thus far this season, Myers has been garbage, offensively and defensively. In 22 games this year, he has 1 goal and 4 points, while posting a -10 rating in front of one of the better goalies in the game Ryan Miller. Myers isn’t worth his contract and the fact that only Ryan Miller’s cap hit is worth more is unsettling. At the time of his rookie season, Myers looked like a steal at 12th overall, but when you see that Jake Gardiner, Michael Del Zotto, John Carlson, and Norris Trophy winning Erik Karlsson were all taken after Myers,