|2012 - Tyler Myers||39||3||5||8||-8||32||1||0||2||48||6.3|
Contract: $12 million salary, cap Hit of $5.5 million, signed through 2018-19
Report Card for 2012: 6 out of 10
Introduction: Since his rookie year, it's often been said that as Tyler Myers goes, so go the Buffalo Sabres, and that proved true yet again this year. After receiving a big offseason payday, Myers showed up to camp out of shape and struggled mightily during the first two months of the season, as the Sabres dropped in to a fight for last place. Once Myers started to turn his game around, the Sabres started to make their run. Coincidence? Perhaps, but I think there's some truth in that old theory.
Still, much was expected of Myers this season, especially after getting a massive new contract, and for the most part, he failed to deliver. Let's dig a little deeper into his 2013 season and see if we can't find out why.
Key Stat: 227. That's the weight Myers is listed at on his NHL.com and SBNation profile. Whether that's the weight he came in to the season with or the weight he finished at I'm not sure, but as sad as it is to say, I think that number is incredibly important to Myers' success. The big defenseman is at his best when he's flying from coast to coast, jersey flapping in the wind, leading the rush and crashing the opponent's net. He can't do that when he's overweight and out of shape. If Myers doesn't have to spend the first two months of next year playing himself in to game shape, and can positively contribute right from the get-go, that could be a powerful catalyst for a surprise turnaround next season in Buffalo.
Thumbs Up: Myers finished with the second highest average TOI for the Sabres at 21:12 per game, and that was boosted by an April rush that saw him on the ice for 24:31 per game, highlighting his late season turnaround. He also generally played against some of the best competition of anyone on the Sabres defense, which makes his pedestrian numbers look a bit better.
He plays better at home, scoring more in the friendly confines of the FNC and only posting a -1 in 18 games vs. a -7 in 21 roadies. He also led the blueliners (aside from the injured Sulzer) in shot percentage. Finished sixth on the team in hits, with 56, and first on the team in dollars earned.
Thumbs Down: Myers was tied for the most giveaways on the team, with 30, and only 11 takeaways; that stat will need to swing in the other direction if the Sabres are going to see success anytime soon. Myers doesn't block that many shots for his TOI, finishing with 56, but trailing Weber, Ehrhoff, and Sekera in that department. He still often looks hesitant with the puck, and still lets mistakes get to his head too often. However, he's still only 23 years old, so we'll see if he shows a bit more maturity next year.
Voting: Using the good old grade system of A, B, C, D, F, with A representing a great season, C an average season, and F a very poor season, grade Tyler Myers on his performance this season compared to the expectations you had for him.