Going into last season, the odds-on favorite for the Calder Trophy seemed to be John Tavares. Though he had a solid year, he didn’t even earn one of the top three nominations for the award as Jimmy Howard, Matt Duchene and Calder winner Tyler Myers earned that honor.
Many didn’t see Myers coming … figuratively, at least. It’s hard to miss him in a literal way, considering his substantial talent and near-Zdeno Chara height (he’s listed at 6’8″ in his player profile).
The sizable rookie had a big year, with 11 goals and 37 assists for 48 points and a +13 rating in 82 games in 09-10. Some might wonder if Myers will follow in the footsteps of the previous Calder Trophy winner Steve Mason and suffer from a “sophomore slump.” The tree-sized defenseman is not one of them, though, as he told John Kreiser from NHL.com.
Don’t try to tell Tyler Myers there’s a sophomore jinx. He’s not buying it.
Myers had the kind of rookie season every player dreams of. The Buffalo Sabres’ No. 1 pick (No. 12) in 2008 stepped into the NHL last season and immediately became an impact player. He led all first-year defensemen — and all Buffalo blueliners — with 11 goals and 48 points, then capped his season by taking home the Calder Trophy as the NHL’s top rookie.
That’s quite a performance for a player who started the season as a 19-year-old (he turned 20 on Feb. 1), and seemingly could set him up for a fall. But Myers isn’t concerned about any dropoff in performance in his second year.
“I know there are things I have to improve, and the coaches, especially James Patrick, are working with me,” he told NHL.com. “But as far as a ‘sophomore jinx — I’m not worried about that.”
The Buffalo Sabres will need Myers to at least match his rookie output this season. The team essentially traded big minute blueliners Toni Lydman and Henrik Tallinder for Shaone Morrissonn and Jordan Leopold in free agency (by my standards, a downgrade). That puts a lot of pressure on Myers and goalie Ryan Miller – two players who seemed to max out their potential – to do just as well in 2010-11.
I’m not so sure that the Sabres will win the Northeast Division again next season, but it’s not ridiculous to think that Myers might be even better in 10-11. Just ask him.