Tyler Myers is looking to rebound after a season in which he’ll come right and say wasn’t good enough.
“I think I’ll be the first one to say I wasn’t anywhere near where I should’ve been last year,” the 23-year-old defenseman told Kevin Sylvester and Andrew Peters on Thursday’s edition of the Sabres Hockey Hotline radio show.
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Myers posted three goals and five points in 39 games, and then missed the last seven games of the year with a broken bone in his leg. The injury occurred when he blocked a shot by Montreal Canadiens defenseman P.K. Subban on April 11.
In addition to normal strength training this offseason, Myers said that he’s taken special attention to mental training for the first time in his career.
“Going into seasons in the past, I’ve never trained my mind like this so it’s a different approach and I’ve actually really enjoyed it,” he said. “I’ve really tried to embrace the work behind it – to just be prepared for any type of situation that comes up.”
I’ve never trained my mind like this so it’s a different approach and I’ve actually really enjoyed it - Tyler Myers
He’s also been working out with a group of teammates over the summer. Myers said they met in Buffalo for a three-week stint in June and that they’re working together again now.
“For any guy, you can talk about everything you’re doing in the offseason, all the work that you’re putting in, but when it really gets down to it, it doesn’t matter unless you back it up come October,” Myers said. “So it’s finding that balance and for me, I think it’s tough for any guy to do on his own. You need help. I’ve just tried to take in as much as I can without overdoing it and trying to work as smart as I can.”
Myers may receive some additional help on the blue line this season. The team acquired Henrik Tallinder, who played parts of eight seasons in Buffalo, from the New Jersey Devils in July. Myers and Tallinder were defense partners when Myers won the Calder Memorial Trophy as the NHL’s top rookie in 2009-10.
General manager Darcy Regier has said that the team did not trade for Tallinder with Myers specifically in mind, but that hasn’t quelled Myers’ enthusiasm about the transaction.
“[With] him being my D-partner my first year coming into the league, and what he did for me that year in taking me under his wing, obviously I was very, very excited,” Myers said.
Tallinder, now 34, figures to be a veteran presence on a relatively young defensive corps. Whether head coach Ron Rolston pairs him back up with Myers is yet to be seen.
“I think that’s a normal expectation after what we did together in the past, but if that’s not the case, I think knowing Hank, we’ll both approach the season the same way, whether we’re D partners or not,” Myers said.