Saturday, February 9, 2013

Myers benched, what's up with him?

Tyler Myers will sit out tonight's game on Long Island as a healthy scratch.

According to WGR's Paul Hamilton, he was skating at practice with Robyn Regehr who's been sidelined with an upper-ankle strain. At one point, it was expected that those two would be logging tons of minutes as a pairing, for tonight, though, they'll be up in the press box.

In another quick note, Mike Harrington of the Buffalo News reported that defenseman Adam Pardy was sent to Rochester after a playing a solid game in Ottawa and being a healthy scratch vs. Montreal.

The return of Andrej Sekera from injury made those two moves possible. The six defensemen for the game tonight at the NY Islanders are Sekera, Christian Ehrhoff, Jordan Leopold, Alexander Sulzer, Mike Weber and rookie TJ Brennan.

As for Myers, he's been a train wreck for the better part of the season scoring only one goal and is tied for a league worst minus-9 rating.


It's a far cry from his Calder-winning 2009/10 season when he scored 11 goals and was a plus-13.

So, what's the deal?

Is he a bust? Is it coaching? Does he need a change of scenery? Will this benching lead to a stronger return like the last time he was a healthy scratch?


No panic here, though. Growing pains or maybe the pangs of growing up.

Simple truth, this year he's been real bad at worst and wildly inconsistent at best. Which, if you look at what was said of him before the 2008 draft, it's not surprising.

Some of the pre-draft profiles and scouting reports:

ESPN 2008 mock draft:  Scouts think Myers, listed at 6-foot-7, is ahead of Zdeno Chara at the same stage. That said, Chara, though raw, possessed strength as a teenager that Myers lacks right now.

The Hockey News 2008 Mock:  It’s a bit of a tumble for Myers, who stands 6-foot-7 and enters the draft as something of a high-risk, potentially high-reward player. He skates well for a man that big.

Central Scouting/Allan Muir via
Tyler is the tallest player among the top-rated players. As a defenseman, that height translates into a great poke-check and great stick work. At 6-foot-7, he still has a little bit of growing into his body to do. Obviously, comparisons are made to Zdeno Chara."

His up-and-down play with the Rockets suggests he's a bit of a risk at this spot, but there's undeniably a high-reward element that makes him irresistible. He's already a smooth skater and is reliable at both ends, but it's going to take some time, like it did for Chara, for him to grow into that body. He could become an elite shutdown defender.

The 6-foot-7 defenceman's performance has yet to come close to his potential, but he skates so well and shows flashes of being something special both offensively and defensively that teams are wondering if he might not be a late bloomer who is going to be every bit as good as Doughty, Bogosian, Pietranagelo and Schenn. But his play is erratic enough to likely ensure he won't be taken as highly as those blue chippers. And while, at No. 11, he's a candidate who could easily jump up into the top 10, there's as much reason to believe he could go for a bit of a skid beyond 11, too.

His height differentiates him from the rest of the draft-eligible defencemen - he towers above all the other players. He is not often burned by the small, quick players and because of the emphasis in today's NHL on a lack of restraining type of play, Tyler has adjusted well to that and is more ready to play in the new NHL than a lot of the other smaller players. He's got a rocket shot from the point on the power-play .

Nearly five years ago when Myers was drafted, he was listed at 6'7", 204 lbs. This year he's 6'8", 227 lbs. The kid has grown into his body and this past off-season he's still trying to put on more weight.

But, how much is enough?

Hamilton did a nice little story on Myers before the season began.

Myers mentioned working out with Nashville Predators defenseman Shea Weber wanting to add an edge to his game. A couple of areas that he also focused upon as well were strength and conditioning.

Lindy Ruff, as quoted by Hamilton had this to say about Myers, "He still needs to get stronger. We're trying to get him to add strength and he's trying hard, but he's one of those guys who don't put on weight real easy."

Myers concurred, "It's been one of my biggest frustrations," he said, "putting on weight and getting stronger has been a slow process with my body frame."

Ruff said in the piece that he has no delusions about Myers going to 260 lbs. Both want to add strength, for obvious reasons, but how much is enough before it starts affecting what made him so "irresistible" in the first place.

He'll never have the pure size of Chara, nor should he be perceived as having the meanness of a Chris Pronger.

So are his coaches pushing him too far in the "strength" aspect of his development? Is he pushing himself to hard to become a badass on the back-end?


Hey shouldn't be rushed into those things until his body matures. You can't turn a gazelle into a gorilla. Adding bulk to that stretched out frame on those thin blades playing such a fast game can really only have adverse affects. And those adverse affects were seen after his Calder winning season when it was said that he tried to put on some weight in the off-season--it's taken away from his skating ability and his ability to stride effortlessly to join the rush.

Maybe what we saw when he was paired with another lengthy defenseman, Hank Tallinder, is an emphasis on using that length and reach to cover a huge patch of ice.

You don't come around a 6'8" defenseman with the reach and skating skills he has all that often. There's way too much upside, even after 3+ years in the NHL,  for him to be traded at this point, unless it's for a d-man like Shea Weber.

Pretty sure everyone needs to chill and let nature take it's course with him.

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