Tyler Myers was finally traded today. Nobody can say it was a shock, as he’d been rumored to be moving on from Buffalo for quite some time.
In Winnipeg, the former Calder Trophy winner will join a defense corps that’s significantly deeper, more experienced and — let’s face it — just a whole lot better than the one he left in Buffalo.
Though the Jets had to give up Zach Bogosian in the multi-player deal with the Sabres, they were still left with d-men Jacob Trouba, Tobias Enstrom, Dustin Byfuglien, and others.
Jets GM Kevin Cheveldayoff is confident that Myers will thrive in his new setting and believes the player has “huge upside.”
Time will tell whether Cheveldayoff is proven right. Myers, 25, has had his struggles with the Sabres. But then again, who hasn’t? In Winnipeg, he’ll have better teammates, he won’t have to play as much, and he’ll likely face easier competition.
Heck, right-shooting Myers may actually start on the Jets’ third pairing, with Trouba and Byfuglien playing the right side on the first two pairs.
Which brings us to Byfuglien. The plan for now is to move him back to defense, though that could change depending how the forward group, including new winger Drew Stafford, fares without him.
Long term, the future for Byfuglien in Winnipeg remains cloudy. The 29-year-old is signed through next season, after which he can become an unrestricted free agent. Will the Jets have room to keep him? We ask that both in terms of actual bodies on the blue line as well as cap space.
Remember that the Jets also have highly touted d-man Josh Morrissey in the system, and Trouba, a Norris Trophy candidate in the making, can become a restricted free agent after next season. So, if Myers can realize his “huge upside,” it’s not hard to imagine the club trading Byfuglien before his contract expires, particularly if he’s intent on playing defense, the position he prefers.