After the reports came down yesterday about how Tyler Myers was working on a contract extension with the Buffalo Sabres, it shows that sometimes there’s truth to a report.
The Sabres announced today that Myers has agreed to a seven year contract extension with the 6’8″ 21 year-old defenseman. With Myers heading into his third season in the NHL, and the final year on his entry level contract, he was due to become a restricted free agent at the end of the season. Rather than waiting until then, and perhaps after seeing some of the difficulties other teams have had in getting guys re-signed this summer, the Sabres moved quickly this summer to get Myers a new deal.
Myers’ contract will pay him $38.5 million over the seven years, good for a $5.5 million cap hit over that time. The Sabres’ salary cap situation heading into next season will be a juicy one as, according to CapGeek.com, the Sabres will have over $55.5 million in cap commitments for next year with just 16 players under contract. Pegulamania continues to run wild in Buffalo even with a new Collective Bargaining Agreement still to be worked out after this season as owner Terry Pegula continues to show his dedication (and his money) to the players.
The payout, according to TSN’s Bob McKenzie, on Myers’ deal is a fascinating one. Myers gets a $10 million signing bonus when the contract starts on July 1, 2012 and a $2 million salary. Each year after that sees him get paid $6 million in year two, $5 million in years three and four, $4 million in year five, $3.5 million in year six, and $3 million in year seven. Myers will be 28 years-old in the final year of his deal. McKenzie says the huge signing bonus works as potential lockout money in case the league and the players association can’t get a new Collective Bargaining Agreement worked out next summer.
In his first two seasons with the Sabres, Myers has been a revelation on defense. He won the Calder Trophy as rookie of the year in his first season after putting up 11 goals and 37 assists while averaging 23:44 of ice time per night. Last season, his scoring numbers came down a bit with 10 goals and 27 assists and averaged 22:27 of time on the ice. The small bump in the road in his sophomore season wasn’t enough to deter the Sabres from giving him a long-term deal.
Myers now joins Christian Ehrhoff as long-term commitments to the Sabres after Ehrhoff signed a 10-year, $40 million deal with Buffalo this summer. With Myers and Ehrhoff, however, these are two guys that you won’t likely see work on the same pairing as they play similar games. Unless Myers turns into a Zdeno Chara-like defender, it’s doubtful you’ll ever see the two paired up together on anything other than the power play.