“Under Pressure” is a preseason series we’ll be running on PHT. For each team in the NHL, we’ll pick one player, coach, GM, mascot or whatever that everyone will be watching closely this season. Feel free to play the song as you read along. Also feel free to go to the comment section and tell us we picked poorly.
For the Buffalo Sabres, we pick…defenseman Tyler Myers.
It’s only been three years, but it’s seems like ages since Myers was coming off a rookie-of-the-year season with the Buffalo Sabres. Heading into 2013-14, his goals are remarkably different compared to back then. Instead of trying to avoid a sophomore slump, he’s trying to avoid falling even further into the abyss.
That may sound overly dire, but mentally, Myers was a mess last season when he registered just eight points in 39 games.
“A lot of things went on last year that got in my head,” he admitted, per The Buffalo News. “It just goes back to the mental training side of it, of how you prevent yourself from heading downhill mentally instead of stopping that and making sure you stay at your peak. It’s confidence level and how you build that confidence.”
Not only does the big 23-year-old have a Calder Trophy to live up to, he also has six years left on a $38.5 million contract.
Myers has the size and talent to be a franchise defenseman, even a Hall of Fame one. However, his mental makeup, as well as his commitment to fitness, have been rightly questioned.
Prior to the summer, Sabres head coach Ron Rolston challenged Myers “to get himself prepared for being an elite defenseman.” And based on what Rolston said at camp, Myers accepted that challenge with enthusiasm.
“Mysie has had an unbelievable summer,” Rolston said. “Where he’s at and where he needs to go, I think his summer was dedicated to that and working in those areas. He’s gotten a lot stronger. He’s in really good shape, both physically and I think mentally. I think he’s going to play well.”
For all of our Under Pressure series, click here.