January 27, 2010
Susan Slusser of FanHouse has a nice piece on Myers and his impact as a rookie, getting the following from Buffalo Sabres teammate Ryan Miller(notes):
"It's so impressive," Miller said. "When I was 19 years old, I was just starting college (at Michigan State) and I know what I was thinking about. He's a good teammate, he's a good learner, he picks up things quickly and he's eager. It's interesting to watch him every day."
Myers' skating is remarkable for a big man, and his stick-handling is equally good; he is often compared to Norris Trophy winner Zdeno Chara(notes) for his size and his skill. Most surprising, though, for a young defenseman, is that Myers has been able to minimize mistakes.
Well, perhaps in the context of a 19-year-old freshman. He has 59 giveaways this season, which is first on the Sabres and third in the NHL behind Jaroslav Spacek(notes) (69) and Roman Hamrlik(notes) (65) of the Montreal Canadiens. But when it comes to determining whether Myers is the League's top rookie, no one's paying attention to that number: They're paying attention to a stats line that stands at 7 goals and 23 assists through 51 games.
So is the Calder Trophy Myers' to lose?
Mile High Hockey, a Colorado Avalanche blog, has a horse in that race in Matt Duchene(notes), who has surged to the front of the rookie scoring pack with 34 points. Here's how MHH sees the race between Myers, Duchene, John Tavares(notes) of the New York Islanders and Semyon Varlamov(notes) of the Washington Capitals; with Duchene as their leader:
Barring any offensive eruption (keep it clean gentleman) by anybody else, it'll most likely come down to Tavares, Myers, and Duchene for rookie of the year. I have to give a slight edge to Duchene because he took 22 games to get going and has been on a pretty decent tear ever since, so if he continues on that pace he'll be in good shape. But if Varlamov returns with the same kind of WOW that he had at the beginning of the year, then all bets are off. I really think Myers may be the dark horse. I'd rather he win over Tavares at any rate.
Varlamov is 12-1-2 in 15 games with a 2.21 GAA and a .920 save percentage. He's finally practicing again, but will he make a large enough impact in the 29 remaining games after tonight for the Calder voters?
James van Riemsdyk(notes) of the Philadelphia Flyers and Niclas Bergfors(notes) of the New Jersey Devils are both in the hunt, provided Bergfors isn't trade bait. Michael Del Zotto(notes) of the New York Rangers is, without question, second to Myers among rookie defensemen, but that minus-16 is tough to get around.
But this guy? This guy sounds like he's not slowing down anytime soon:
Myers has the respect of his peers, the numbers and the impact. It's going to take a hell of a stretch run from Tavares, Duchene or van Riemsdyk in a dark-horse effort to overtake him.