The massive human being known as Tyler Myers can be a confounding player to watch. Despite Myers' tremendous mobility and potent offensive instincts, one is easily left underwhelmed thanks to his questionable decision-making coupled to a general inconsistency. Or at least, that's what this humble blogger's eyes have often shown in the past.
When Die By The Blade asked yours truly about the towering 6'8" defenceman back in January, the result was a relatively scathing, eye test-driven critique. But now that 2015-16 has come to a close, do the underlying numbers reinforce or contradict those earlier opinions?
Before being felled by knee and hip surgery, the 26-year-old had nine goals, 27 points and 22:37 ATOI over 73 games played. This average ice time ranked 2nd among all Jets skaters, behind only Dustin Byfuglien and his 25:12 ATOI. Among blueliners, Myers' 02:16 PP ATOI also came 2nd to Buff, while he additionally served as a penalty killing regular. There's no doubting Myers' status as an all-situations defender.
From a Corsi perspective (shot attempts, including missed and blocked opportunities), Myers was good. Not great, but good:
(Minuses are a good thing in the Rel.CA60 category; they mean the opposition had fewer opportunities while Myers was on the ice, relative to his teammates.)
In terms of raw CF%, Myers' 52.01% came 3rd among Winnipeg's regular defenders, ahead of Toby Enstrom, Jacob Trouba, Ben Chiarot and Mark Stuart. However, when adjusted according to the performance of his teammates, his standing does take a bit of a tumble.
Myers' 0.11 Rel.CF% drops him down from 3rd to 5th among Jets blueliners, now trailing Byfuglien, Paul Postma, Trouba and Enstrom. With that said, it's important to note how he does remain in positive territory (while Chiarot and Stuart languish below him in negative territory).
Among all 240 NHL defencemen with 200+ minutes, Myers ranks 57th in terms of raw CF%. While this falls to 96th when adjusted vis-à-vis Rel.CF%, it seems likely that Tyler Myers is a legitimate top-four blueliner, rather than simply masquerading as one.
Looking at how he performed in pairings, there are a number of interesting notes to make:
It's completely reasonable to assume that both Myers' raw CF% and Rel.CF% would have benefitted from less Ben Chiarot. Of the four pairings above, theirs was the only one where Myers posted a minus Rel.CF%. Contrast them against Myers alongside Byfuglien, which was an impressively positive pairing; an inflated CA60 was made up for by an even greater spike in CF60. High-event hockey, meet Myers-Byfuglien.
On the other hand, Enstrom-Myers was the antithesis of high-event. In terms of shot suppression, this was Winnipeg's best defensive pairing, though it came at a notable shot generation cost. The numbers above show how a dramatic downturn in CF60 and Rel.CF60 was balanced out by their limiting chances on the Corsi Against front, remaining on the positive side of the ledger. Remarkably, Myers still produced at a solid Points per 60 clip, ranking 36th out of those aforementioned 240 defencemen.
Tyler Myers is one of Winnipeg's more interesting future segments to consider, owing to the potential for an expansion draft. The current understanding is that in the event of expansion, teams will be obligated to protect players with no-movement clauses. This is an extremely relevant detail, given how Myers may or may not have a no-movement clause kicking in this offseason.
The seven year extension Myers signed with Buffalo included an NMC beginning in 2016-17 (the first year eligible). The way I read the CBA, upon his being traded to Winnipeg, the Jets would have had the option of honouring said clause or not. To the best of my knowledge, there's no inkling on their decision one way or the other. What I will suggest is that it's the kind of good faith loyalty move one expects from this organization.
If Myers does indeed have a no-movement clause beginning July 1st, this brings Winnipeg's total of d-men who require protection up to three, seeing as how Enstrom and Byfuglien have NMCs as well. An assumption going in was that teams would largely look to use the seven forwards, three blueliners format of protection, rather than the eight skaters alternative. But unless the Jets wish to leave Jacob Trouba unprotected, they may have to utilize the latter option. As discussed on yesterday's AIH Superfans podcast, this could mean losing a forward such as Marko Dano, Joel Armia or Adam Lowry, which while undesirable is far from the end of the world.
While GM Kevin Cheveldayoff could hypothetically trade Myers to alleviate this concern, given his better-than-expected underlying numbers, minute-munching capabilities and rather cost-effective contract, opting to protect eight skaters and keep him around may actually be the wisest course of action.
All stats are unadjusted 5v5 and as per Corsica Hockey, unless otherwise noted or linked.