The Buffalo Sabres biggest defenseman is ready to take another giant step.
Tyler Myers spent the summer improving not only physically, but mentally as well. Now that training camp is underway, Myers believes that his offseason preparation has served him well.
“This is one of the best [times] I’ve felt coming into camp,” the 6-foot-8 defenseman said after practice at First Niagara Center on Friday. “A lot of that had to do with making sure I came back to Buffalo a couple times this summer and training with the guys. It’s always good to get a group together and train off of each other. You get a nice push off each other, almost trying to beat each other in everything.”
Myers, 23, spent about four weeks in Buffalo over the summer and took one of the team’s strength and conditioning interns with him back to his home in Kelowna, British Columbia for a few weeks to train.
That was a change for Myers, as was the in-depth mental training he began to partake in. Myers, who is entering his fifth NHL season, looked to have a productive offseason after a 2012-13 campaign he admits was disappointing. In 39 games last season, Myers recorded eight points (3+5) and missed the final seven games of the year due to a broken bone in his leg.
“You have a year like you did last year, you want to change some things,” he said. “I’ll be the first to say that’s on me as a player last year. I have to be much better and it’s just a matter of taking it day by day and focusing on improving each and every day right until that first game and continuing that throughout the season.”
Coach Ron Rolston currently has Myers paired with Christian Ehrhoff in training camp. In 2009-10, Myers’ Calder Trophy-winning rookie season, he skated alongside Henrik Tallinder, who is back with the team after spending three seasons with the Devils.
Tallinder preached patience when it comes to Myers.
“I think Tyler is an exceptional young man and player. When he came in his first year, I’ve never seen a guy that talented or that good at that age, or very few that I’ve played with at least,” Tallinder said. “…He’s going to be an exceptionally good player still. Just give him some time and let him play. He’ll be good.”
Myers understands that while he may be done growing physically, he can still mature mentally and emotionally. He also said that he’s found a comfort level in the locker room where he’s no longer hesitant to speak up when something needs to be said.
“I’m sure I’ll be growing for the next, you know, 15 years of my career. I‘m sure Sidney Crosby has growing to do each year,” he said.
“It’s just a matter of making sure you get better at picking up what situation it is and what opportunity you have in that situation to figure out how to handle it. It’s every day any every day thing. It’s not ‘take a day off and hope you get it the next day.’ It’s improving every day.”