The Vancouver Canucks received plenty of criticism after signing Tyler Myers, but the veteran blueliner is starting to elevate his game.
Even before Tyler Myers signed a contract with the Vancouver Canucks, herds of fans were ready to peg the 6-foot-8 blueliner as one of the worst signings in franchise history, but a recent hot stretch may be providing a sense of optimism for both fans and critics of the move alike.
The Canucks lack of offence from their blue line was a major talking point prior to this season, largely due to the fact the team ranked near the bottom in the category among the league. While the arrival of Quinn Hughes provided a great deal of confidence there would be said improvement, there needed to be assurance.
In comes Myers.
Don’t kid yourself, the single biggest reason Myers was brought in was for his ability to create offence, both off the rush and on the power play. Yet after leading the Winnipeg Jets’ blue line in goals (nine) and ranking second in points (31) last season, things didn’t exactly start great for Myers in blue and green.
Through his first 29 games with the Canucks, Myers had a measly four points — all assists.
In the 13 games since, highlighted by the Canucks 6-5 win over Myers’ former Buffalo Sabres team on Dec. 7 – of which he scored a shorthanded goal in, the 29-year-old leads Canucks defenceman in goals (four) and points (10).
While it’s worth noting this hot stretch may simply be an outlier — particularly given that it’s a particularly small sample size to extrapolate any sort of concrete fact with — it does provide fans with an ounce of optimism that Myers may continue building momentum.
The other side
There are two sides to every coin, and just as Myers is known for his offensive prowess, his defensive liabilities have also been subject to some justifiable criticism.
Over the course of the noted 13 game stretch, Myers has held a slightly below-average 48.3% Corsi For percentage, via Natural Stat Trick (CF%) – an advanced statistic measuring the sum of shot attempts both for and against.
Even over Myers’ hot stretch, the Canucks have surrendered slightly more scoring chances against than they have had. This is additionally shown true in the Canucks average expected goals-for (0.7) compared to their expected goals-against (0.82) with Myers on the ice over that time.
This is something that general manager Jim Benning essentially forewarned during Myers July 1st presser, outlining he was worth “more than the analytics”. Regardless, there is still more to be desired in Myers’ play moving forward.
The Nuts and bolts
If Myers continues to produce offensively — and to a point which supersedes his deficiencies in his own end — the Canucks will have found themselves a valuable contributor for the near and possibly foreseeable future.
Sustaining some sort of consistency will do wonders for Myers’ game, along with the rest of the team.