"He's certainly shown that he'll play in the NHL and be a good player in the NHL. The real questions that revolve around young players, by the very nature of their youth, you have to accept a level of inconsistency in their play. Part of the process here is we have to evaluate what that range is, and whether or not we can support the range and have him grow and have the team grow, have the team win."
-- Darcy Regier on Tyler Myers
NEWARK, N.J. -- The clock has struck midnight for Buffalo Sabres
' defenseman Tyler Myers
And after an extremely impressive nine-game tryout for coach Lindy Ruff
, the towering rookie can breathe a sigh of relief -- he's made it.
Sabres General Manager Darcy Regier
made the announcement on Thursday morning -- following his team's 4-1 triumph over the New Jersey Devils
Wednesday -- that Myers would remain with the team for the foreseeable future. As a 19-year-old with junior eligibility left, Myers is not able to be assigned to the team's AHL affiliate in Portland.
As a result, Myers' three-year entry level contract he signed last May will kick in with the start of Buffalo's 10th game of the season on Friday against the Toronto Maple Leafs
"It's been very exciting and all the guys have made it very comfortable for me," Myers told NHL.com. "I'm very fortunate for that."
It was pretty obvious that Myers' teammates in Buffalo preferred that he remain with the club.
"He's been amazing," Sabres forward Jason Pominville
told NHL.com. "For a guy his size (6-foot-8) and his age, the composure, skating ability and shot he possesses are tremendous. He's really good with the puck too. I think he's been even more than what everyone expected and he definitely has a bright career ahead of him.
"He's done his part to make (management's) decision difficult as to whether or not they should send him down or keep him."
Myers' biggest fan might just be his defensive partner, Henrik Tallinder
"Just the poise he has with the puck and the way he plays in the corners is amazing for a player his age," said the eight-season veteran. "He's not afraid to hold onto the puck and there are some veteran players who still don't have that confidence. He can skate so well for a guy his size. I mean, I'm kind of tall (6-foot-3) too, but he's even taller and I know how much you have to work on your skating just to be able to maintain the coordination he has -- it's remarkable."
When asked if he would have been disappointed if Myers were returned to his Canadian junior team in Kelowna, Tallinder responded with a resounding yes.
"(Tallinder) has helped me more than he thinks," Myers laughed. "He's always communicating with me on and off the ice so anytime he thinks he can help me out, he won't hesitate to talk to me and I'm very thankful he does because coming from junior to the NHL is a big step and a lot to take in, but he's made it a lot easier for me."
Myers, drafted 12th overall by the Sabres in 2008, was also given a vote of confidence by All-Star goalie Ryan Miller
"He plays like he's a veteran," Miller said. "He's a great skater for being 19 years old, let alone being that size. He's got good hands, poise and takes direction really well -- he's a good listener, is confident in his abilities and has been a model rookie."
Myers, who was born in Houston, Texas, but moved to Calgary at the age of 10, has posted 2 goals, 5 points and a plus-8 rating through nine games this season. He also scored a nifty stop-and-start wraparound for the only goal in a shootout on Saturday in a 3-2 victory against the Tampa Bay Lightning
"For a big man, he's got small-man skills," Ruff told NHL.com. "He's got quick feet and is a smooth stick-handler, something you don't often see from a real big man. He's got those fast quick skills that make him an effective puck handler coming up ice and an incredible reach where if you try to play the puck, he can easily go around you. On top of all that, he's mature beyond his years."
The Sabres are 7-1-1 with a League-low 17 goals allowed and Myers, who possesses the longest stick in the League at 65 inches, ranks third on the team in average ice time per game (20:20). He's also seen plenty of minutes on the power-play and penalty-killing units.
"It's been very exciting and all the guys have made it very comfortable for me. I'm very fortunate for that and now we'll see what happens. Hopefully, I'm here for the whole year." - Tyler Myers
"He's certainly shown that he'll play in the NHL and be a good player in the NHL," Regier said. "The real questions that revolve around young players, by the very nature of their youth, you have to accept a level of inconsistency in their play. Part of the process here is we have to evaluate what that range is, and whether or not we can support the range and have him grow and have the team grow, have the team win."
Myers credits his father and coaches in Kelowna for turning him into the skater he is today.
"I owe a lot to my dad with my skating and my coaches in Kelowna (including head coach Ryan Huska
) really helped me out with my development," Myers said. "They were always telling me to make the simple play first and then jump into play. It took them a while but they really pounded that into my head and I think that focus has made it easier for me to make this jump."
Contact Mike Morreale at: firstname.lastname@example.org