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Sabres approach decision time on rookie D Myers

NHL.com @NHL

BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) -Sabres defenseman Henrik Tallinder doesn't understand what the big mystery is regarding rookie teammate Tyler Myers' NHL future.

If Sabres management insists it will take one more game to evaluate whether to keep Myers on the roster for the rest of the season, Tallinder doesn't need another minute of convincing.

"He should play here," Tallinder said after practice Tuesday. "I'm really amazed with his poise with the puck. It's unbelievable for his age, 19. You don't see veteran guys have that."

Tallinder then compared the 6-foot-8 Myers to another tall and established defenseman, 6-foot-9 Bruins captain Zdeno Chara.

"Not even close. I still don't think Chara has the same movements as this kid has," Tallinder said. "It's scary how good he's going to be."

Tell that to the Sabres braintrust.

Though coach Lindy Ruff is quick to praise Myers for how well he's played eight games into the season, he won't commit to whether Myers will be on the team by the end of the week or returned to his Canadian junior team in Kelowna, British Columbia.

The hiccup is Myers' age. Under NHL rules, the 2008 first-round pick's three-year rookie contract kicks in after appearing in his 10th game, and Myers also would be eligible to test free agency a year earlier than most players in his draft class.

The deadline comes after Buffalo plays at New Jersey on Wednesday, when Myers is expected to play his ninth game.

And that's the timetable the Sabres are sticking with.

"It isn't anything more than that," Ruff said. "We have this time span to evaluate him and work with him. When that time frame is up, the decision will be there."

Ruff would allow that he's happy with what he's seen so far.

"I think he's played very well for us," Ruff said. "He's handled a lot of different situations and he's played some big minutes in some big situations."

Myers has scored two goals and has three assists, not including a highlight-reel, stop-and-start wraparound in scoring the decisive goal in a 3-2 shootout win at Tampa Bay last weekend.

Myers ranks third on the team in averaging 20:08 in ice time per game. And he's among the NHL's most responsible defensive players, having been on the ice for eight-more even-strength goals scored than his team has allowed.

Myers is pleased with his performance and trying to not think about the immediate future.

"I haven't been told anything," he said. "Playing the first eight games here, I feel like I'm a part of the team. I don't really look at it as a tryout. So I'm just going to take it day by day and whatever they decide, I'll accept."

And yet, Myers will agree that he hasn't looked out of place in the NHL.

"I feel I belong," he said. "But it's obviously going to come down to what the coaches and scouts think."

Tallinder, who stands 6-foot-3, is most impressed with how fluid Myers is despite his frame.

"You really have to work for it when you're that tall, and he has it already," Tallinder said. "I don't know. It's pretty scary. You think you're pretty good, but no."

Myers has been living out of a Buffalo hotel room since he arrived in town for the start of training camp in early September.

As comfortable as the room has been, Myers realizes checkout time is approaching. He's hoping to trade it for a place in town.

"If I get the word, yeah, I'll look around and see what's out there," he said. "But until then, I'll keep quiet."

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