Tonight in Nashville, Tyler Myers is expected to begin his Winnipeg Jets career on a defensive pairing with veteran puck-mover Tobias Enstrom.
Myers, traded yesterday from Buffalo, is unlikely to log the 25 or so minutes he typically did with the Sabres. That won’t be necessary with two other capable pairings in Winnipeg, Dustin Byfuglien with Ben Chiarot and Mark Stuart with Jacob Trouba.
In Buffalo, Myers skated mostly with Josh Gorges. Not only did those two play big minutes and face the toughest competition on a nightly basis, over 40 percent of the faceoffs they were on the ice for took place in the defensive zone.
That’s no formula for good offensive numbers, and Myers was proof, with just four goals and nine assists in 47 games.
Not that he hasn’t struggled in recent seasons; Myers is no pure victim of circumstance. But Jets GM Kevin Cheveldayoff believes the 25-year-old’s career can be rejuvenated if provided a better chance to succeed, in a role that’s not beyond his capabilities.
“Tyler’s got a tremendous foundation,” said Cheveldayoff. “He’s big. He can shoot. He’s going to have an opportunity to play with a deeper defense corps. He can log a lot of minutes.
“Sometimes, in this game, fresh starts are really welcome for players that have lots of expectations heaped on them, and lots of hype as young players. Because it is a hard game to play as a young player and even harder as a young defenseman.”
As for winger Drew Stafford, the other roster player the Jets picked up in the Evander Kane trade, he’ll start on a line with Mark Scheifele and Mathieu Perreault, two talented forwards enjoying fine seasons.