Aug 2, 2013, 9:30 PM EDT
It was only in 2010 that defenseman Tyler Myers burst onto the scene in the National Hockey League through his sheer size, strength and skill.
That season, Myers won the Calder Trophy as the league’s top rookie.
But he’s been mired in a sophomore slump that has not only extended into his third and fourth seasons but progressively gotten worse. His offensive production – he had 48 points in 82 games during his rookie campaign – has declined since he broke into the league.
His struggles of late were capped off in one of the worst possible ways, when he suffered a broken bone in his leg in April, ending his 2013 season.
With the towering Myers – he stands at 6’8″ and weighs 227 pounds – locked into a seven-year contract worth $38.5 million and an annual cap hit of $5.5 million, the Sabres need the now 23-year-old blue liner to get back to 100 per cent health and, hopefully with that comes the form he showed in 2010.
Is that possible? Or, too much to ask? Sabres fans should find out soon enough.
“It’s only natural to hear things like that the way things have gone, especially this year,” Myers told the Buffalo News when the Sabres’ season concluded without a playoff berth.
“I’ll be the first to admit I definitely need to turn things around, get back on that path to improving and working on the things that have made me successful. It’s just a matter of working that much harder this offseason.”
The Sabres, if we are to believe the words of head coach Ron Rolston, are still holding out hope for Myers.
Perhaps being reunited with an old partner on the blue line can help.
The Sabres re-acquired veteran defenseman Henrik Tallinder from the New Jersey Devils on July 7. Myers and Tallinder were paired together during Myers’ rookie season, and that was the best in his young NHL career.
But, judging by the words of the coach, the onus is on Myers to re-discover his game.
“I think he understands where he needs to go and the growth he needs to have here, especially in the summer to get himself prepared for being an elite defenseman and one of the best defensemen in this league, which he’s been before, we know he can be next year,” said Rolston, according to buffalohockeybeat.com.
“But a lot of that’s going to come in the preparation and his growth over the summer, just to continue to obviously, one, work on his body, and then, two, just make sure he’s just simplifying things and playing within himself.
“And when that happens, he’s going to be a dominant player for us next year.”
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