After 8 games of NHL play, the question surrounding Tyler Myers' future with the Sabres this season needs to be decided after the next contest with New Jersey. I will admit that, in the beginning of the season, I believed that the best thing for Myers' growth would be to have a test run with the Sabres until his time limit expired and then to rejoin his junior team in Kelowna. I could not have been more wrong.
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In my eyes, and I believe many others, there is no place for Myers but the NHL, and he has made the decision for management. His calmness with the puck and ability, rather his determination, to be apart of the play in both zones is staggering for a 19 year old NHL freshman.
What scares me is how I fear Darcy Regeir looks at this decision. If Myers were to stay with the team, his 3-year entry level deal will begin, and he will start on the road to restricted free agency. This is a long term "problem" that should hold no bearing over the decision, but with Regeir, it is never clear if he will look at it this way.
Myers' stats, 5 points (2+3), +8, and around 20 minutes of ice-time, speak for themselves. What we need to look at are more specific plays; plays showing why Myers is more than ready to be a full time NHLer.
Let's start with the game against Phoenix. Down 1-0, Myers made the play at the blue line, and took a monster hit, to get the puck to Clarke MacArthur for the game tying goal. He used his reach to his advantage, and laid his body on the line, to make the play that turned the tide of the game.
Then, against Detroit, he took the puck end-to-end, dissecting the Detroit defenders and effectively driving the puck to the net, leaving Pat Kaleta with a juicy rebound that was easily put away.
The very next game, against the Islanders, he saw the opportunity to jump on a loose puck below the circles and put away his first NHL goal.
All these are great examples of the kid's talent and potential, but are shadowed by Saturday night's game winning shootout goal. With all the pressure on him, he stormed down on Mike Smith and made him look foolish; moving him side to side and cashing in the empty net Smith left while looking for his jock.
Yes, Myers has made mistakes; most notably when Afinogenov turned him inside out to put away the insurance goal in the contest against Atlanta. To me, this is nothing major and should be overlooked when you stack up the evidence of how well he's played and specifically the great plays he's made.
To send Myers down would be a mistake, only hindering his development by having him compete against players he clearly overshadows. Darcy needs to look at this decision in favor of a player who has done nothing but improve himself and the team around him, rather than in a fiscal point of view.
I guess we can only sit and watch until after Wednesday's game against New Jersey to whether or not he sticks around.
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