WINNIPEG - For the first time in years, Winnipeg Jets defenceman Tyler Myers is coming into camp 100 percent healthy.
The 26-year-old had been dealing with a hip injury for "a couple of years," but despite maintaining his near 25-minute per-game average in ice time late last season, he was unable to ignore it anymore. The defenceman had a pair of procedures done shortly after playing his last game on Mar. 22, and was then a spectator for the next 18 weeks as his knee, then his hip, fully recovered.
"Based on how it feels now, I wish I would have gotten it done a couple years ago," Myers said. "Where I noticed it the most was after practices and after games. I can walk to my car, finally (laughs).
"It feels good to come to camp healthy."
Myers finished the 2015-16 season with nine goals and 27 points, despite missing the final nine games.
Last year, the defenceman missed almost all of training camp with various ailments, which admittedly put him a step behind with the regular season kicked off in early October. That isn't the case this time and as a result, Myers feels more prepared than he ever has in a Jets uniform, and that excites him.
Video: CAMP | Tyler Myers on being healthy for next season
"This is really my first camp with the Jets," he said with a smile. "It's good to get it going again and to feel the way I do. I'm glad I got (the surgery) done when I did. It gave me just that much more time to get back to 100 percent and start feeling the way I do now."
The 6-foot-8, 229-pound blueliner is likely to start the season on the second pairing, with Toby Enstrom, Dustin Byfuglien and restricted free agent Jacob Trouba rounding out the Top 4. Beyond that, it's anyone's guess with Paul Postma, Ben Chiarot, Mark Stuart, Josh Morrissey, Julian Melchiori and newcomer Brian Strait all competing for ice time.
"This whole summer it became really evident, especially with the pick we got in the draft, that there's going to be a lot of internal competition here at camp," Myers said. "It pushes guys to bring their best and to work that much harder on the ice. Not only that, but (veteran) guys who have been around will be pushing for a bigger role, or to show they've improved from last year.
"Whenever you have that internal competition it brings out the best in guys and that's a good thing."
- Ryan Dittrick, WinnipegJets.com