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Tylers Myers and His Solid Start with the Canucks

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Edmonton Oilers v Vancouver Canucks

Tyler Myers has many of the qualities of a standard Jim Benning signing. He’s big, a supposed character guy, and high-profile. As such, it was fair to have some questions about the value of the addition; at $6 million a year for five years, it’s a hefty pricetag for a player many considered to be, at the very best, a second-pair defender. All this being said, Myers — despite stil probably being overpaid — has been a legitimately valuable piece for the Canucks this season and has proven himself to be a key part of their blueline.

In terms of reliance, Myers has played more than any other Canucks skater in total icetime at 679:30, and sits second to only Alex Edler in icetime per game at 21:40 (to Edler’s 23:30). Indeed, in speaking to his workload, Myers has been tasked with being arguably their most relied upon blueliner throughout the campaign. Adding to this responsibility is his role in the development of Quinn Hughes, seen by many as the team’s most valuable defenceman and arguably the league’s top rookie. He is the 20-years-old’s second most common partner, with Hughes playing with Myers 29.07% of the time (behind just Chris Tanev, who plays alongside Hughes 43.92% of the time). Given Hughes’ short- and long-term importance to the club, his play with him is of great importance.

Myers has also been a fairly reliable player in terms of possession. While unspectacular, he is third in both CorsiFor% and Relative CorsiFor% of 49.3% and 0.00 respectively, third among Canucks defenders behind just Edler and Hughes. His Fenwick numbers (Corsi without blocked shots) are similar, with a FenwickFor% pf 49.4% and and a Relative FenwickFor% of -0.9. These numbers are from dominant, but they aren’t a disaster either, and represent a player that has, at the very least, been a steady presence on the blue line. His offensive numbers have been arguably dissapointing, but relative to his peers, they too have been at least ‘fine’. With 13 points in 40 games, he’s on a 27-point pace, which ties for the third highest total in his career. He also ranks third on team’s defence in points, again behind Hughes and Edler, and second in primary assists with eight (trailing Hughes). While hardly juggernaut, Myers has been a reliable posession driver and offensive contributor.

Making all this more impressive is the fact that Myers has been unlucky to a degree, as can be outlined by his Individual Points Percentage (IPP). IPP demonstrates how many goals scored a player contributes to when he is on the ice, and is generally considered a good proxy for luck or identifying outlier seasons; typically, forwards fall into the 80% range, while defenders come in at around 30%. By this metric, Myers is at 23.08%, a fair amount below what might be expected of him. In this sense, if Myers is playing as well as he is without the benefit of luck, it paints his performance in an even better light.

It is fair to say that the Myers contract wasn’t good on the day it was signed, and is still not worth it to this day. However, should the money doled out be put on the backburner, it is clear that Myers has been a solid top four presence on the Canucks and a valuable part of the defence core. In that sense, Myers has been a pleasant surprise for the Canucks and their success thus far this season.