clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Thank You, Tyler Myers

He hasn’t always been a fan favourite in this market, but Myers has earned some more love ahead of the holiday season.

Columbus Blue Jackets v Vancouver Canucks
Tyler Myers #57 of the Vancouver Canucks celebrates after a Vancouver goal during their NHL game against the Columbus Blue Jackets at Rogers Arena December 12, 2021 in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.
Photo by Jeff Vinnick/NHLI via Getty Images

‘Tis the season for showing gratitude, especially in this writer’s case.

After posting an article about the darkest eras in Canucks history — over the holidays, no less — Scrooge’s ghost buddies felt the need to pay me an overnight visit.

So, while Rob (CanucksAbbyFan2) is the NM leader of the positivity charge, I do feel inclined to push some good juju out into the atmosphere.

Right now, the player who’s most deserving of those positive vibes is Tyler Myers.

And no, that isn’t just the dark rum and eggnog talking.

It’s no secret in this market that Myers has been overvalued and overpaid based on what he’s contributed to the team since 2019-20. Last season in particular was a bit of a disaster, with Myers’ 3.05 expected goals-for per-60 ranking 212th among 217 regular NHL defencemen.

Myers has since rebounded from a disastrous ‘20-21 campaign, but his real impact has been felt ever since Bruce Boudreau took over as head coach of the Canucks.

Myers emerges as leader on depleted defence

Boston Bruins v Vancouver Canucks
Tyler Myers, the hero we don’t deserve.
Getty Images

Surely Boudreau didn’t plan on having Myers play more than 25 minutes a night, but that’s what the new bench boss has been forced to do since taking over.

Oliver Ekman-Larsson, Travis Hamonic both have missed time due to injury, while Tucker Poolman and Luke Schenn were both placed in COVID protocol.

So, four of the Canucks’ top six defencemen have all been missing time, forcing both Quinn Hughes and Myers to play a monstrosity of minutes.

Since Boudreau took over, Hughes is sixth among NHLers, averaging 26:25 per contest. Myers isn’t far behind in 11th, averaging 25:21.

That total is actually a bit deceiving as well. Myers played only 18:41 against the Los Angeles Kings in Boudreau’s debut. Since then, he’s averaged 26:41 per game.

Based on what we’ve seen from Myers in Vancouver — including a barrage of chaotic mistakes in his own end — he shouldn’t have been faulted if he cratered under the extra responsibility.

However, instead of faltering, his game has taken off.

The Canucks have scored 12 even-strength goals in their last six games. Myers has been on the ice for 10 of those (and only two against). Hughes and Conor Garland are second on the team in that department, with each player being on the ice for six even-strength goals over the past six games.

There is an element of recklessness to Myers’ game, as highlighted in the play above. However, when it works, it’s a thing of beauty.

It’s a small sample size, but we’ve seen less of the “bad” lately from Myers. Part of this has to be credited to Boudreau, who has the Canucks defencemen getting the puck up the ice quicker as they adopt more of a north, south strategy.

That has benefitted Myers, at least in the short-term.

While his gaudy goals-for totals are obviously inflated, Myers’ 56.7% expected goals for under Boudreau is the best mark among regular Canucks outside of the Miller, Boeser, Pearson line.

Based on Myers’ previously play for the Canucks, coupled with his extra responsibility, what he’s delivered recently for the club has been borderline heroic.

Tyler Myers, new fan favourite?

To be honest, Myers was due for a little more love in this market.

And this season, he couldn’t have started off on a better note.

The only thing that could have made that play better would have been Myers tossing up two fingers on each hand, looking into the camera and mouthing “that was for you, Daniel.”

While the chaos in his game is still evident, Myers has been providing ample value for the Canucks over the past six games. And, his underlying numbers while paired with either Hughes or Ekman-Larsson have been applaudable.

Last season, the Hughes/Myers pairing was a disaster. This year, their Corsi-for total at evens is a shade under 60%.

The timing on their recent succes couldn’t have been better, and Myers deserves ample credit for elevating his game defensively alongside Hughes.

So, here’s wishing the best to Myers. Most importantly for his health, after he was admitted into COVID protocols on December 18th.

He’s quickly gone from a highly criticized player to fan favourite. Although Canucks fans might be masochists, there should always be room for another player on the nice list.