For those of you who were not able to watch the Buffalo Sabres play the Detroit Red Wings on TSN last night, I wanted to make a brief observation on the play of Sabres defenseman Tyler Myers. Myers, who was selected 12th overall by the Sabres in the 2008 NHL Entry Draft, played a prominent role in last night's game. He was used on the power play, in penalty killing situations, and at even strength. Based on his play in this game I cannot see Buffalo sending Myers back to junior -- in fact, it would surprise me if he was made available for the World Junior Tournament. A lot can change for young defensemen, and his development could stall or regress briefly. It has to be said, however, there was no sign of it in last night's game.
For me, it was at last year's World Junior Tournament, where Myers made a big step forward in his development. At the beginning of the tournament he was a number six or seven defenseman on Team Canada and used mainly in penalty killing situations. By the end of the tournament, however, Myers was used in many crucial situations and you could see that his confidence and composure had increased significantly. Although I did not see him play in the second half of last season, from what I saw of him in the Memorial Cup, it certainly looks as though he continued his strong play for the remainder of the season.
At the time of the 2008 Entry Draft, my feeling was that Myers was a prospect of considerable upside but with a high risk/reward ratio. My concern was that he would have trouble with containing opposing forwards who were small and fast. After watching last night's game, it appears that Myers's skating and footwork will allow him to be an effective defender to complement his puck handling skills and allow him to reach his potential.