Buffalo Sabres fans, it’s easy being me.
Seriously: I get to sit here, behind my computer, and act like I’m the GM or the head coach of the Sabres organization, criticizing this, wishing someone had done that differently, etc., etc.
Believe me, though: I know the jobs I act like I know so much about are far more difficult than we make them seem. For instance: head coach Ron Rolston (or GM Darcy Regier, if we’re being honest) has a couple of sledgehammers at his disposal on the blueline between Rasmus Ristolainen and Nikita Zadorov. I’m sure he would like to use them to help the Sabres create one of the more intimidating defenses in the NHL . . . but Rolston/Regier also have at their disposal Tyler Myers, the sort of D-man who is not going to give the team a physically intimidating presence, but who can give the team a nice boost on offense, IF he can begin to resemble the player everyone thought he would be back in 2009-2010.
Today, I’m here to argue that Tyler Myers is going to have a season that solidifies his claim as the Buffalo Sabres #1 defenseman.
Let’s start with the obvious: the Buffalo Sabres made a wise choice during the offseason to re-acquire defenseman Henrik Tallinder. Tallinder wasn’t happy to be sitting so much, the New Jersey Devils wanted to clear some cap space, and the Sabres wanted to bring back a veteran blueliner who has already displayed good chemistry with Myers. That’s a win-win-win situation no matter how you look at it, and from what I have seen the pairing is already paying off.
Going back to the game against the Carolina Hurricanes last week, Myers has looked much more comfortable and confident on the ice during this preseason than he did pretty much at any given moment in time last season last season. He’s been blocking some shots, a fearlessness that I love to see given the fact that he broke a bone in his leg last season, and he’s been smart with the puck: only one giveaway in four games. There’s not much more I can say; Myers has had a great preseason.
The reason I am so optimistic about Myers heading into the season goes beyond what I have seen from him on the ice, though, and extends to what I have seen and heard from him off the ice. Last night in particular, I got the chance to watch his interview with Brian Duff on MSG, and I was truly impressed by the level of thoughtfulness and maturity that Myers displayed. Hearing him talk about how he has been working to improve his mental approach to the game was very eye-opening, and restored my faith in him in a way that I really cannot explain. Take a listen:
Suffice it to say, I buy into the fact that he is benefiting from the mental training regimen he is undergoing, and I predict that Tyler Myers is on the cusp of having the sort of season that makes people around the NHL take notice of him again.
What are your thoughts on Tyler Myers, based on what he has done during the preseason? I’d love to know, here or @theamazingMrS!