Tyler Myers game isn't where it was four years ago when he skated away with the Calder Trophy as the NHL's best rookie but the big defenseman is seemingly headed in the right direction.
Myers spent the off season taking a more serious approach to his physical conditioning, an area that had been a problem in the past. But he also set about improving the mental side of his game. Myers' confidence took a major hit last season when one mistake seemed to shake him and lead to another. His average ice time sunk to the lowest total of his four year career.
Here in season number five, Myers looks more comfortable out there, especially since Ted Nolan took over. One of Nolan's strengths is instilling confidence in his players and Myers likely needed the pat on the back approach after struggling under Ron Rolston.
Over the first 20 games of the season with Rolston in charge, Myers had one goal and four points and was a minus nine. In 26 games with Nolan, Myers' offensive game has noticeably improved with five goals and 11 points. His plus minus is still pretty bad. In fact, he's minus nine under Nolan which makes for a minus 18 on the season.
Myers has been much more aggressive, joining the rush and going down low. During a recent game, just seconds after the opening faceoff, there was Myers standing in front of the opposition net.
Myers has made better decisions when it comes to pinching, and has been very effective with his stick handling and side step move at the point to get himself free for a shot or a pass to a teammate. Nolan has given Myers the green light to be more aggressive and it seems to have helped him play more relaxed and kept him from over thinking on the ice.
Myers has been more consistent with the all important play in his own end. He's been better at breaking up plays and not getting caught out of position. His breakout passes have improved too as opposed to last season when he was a turnover machine.
The improvements in his game have earned the trust of Nolan, which has led to an increase in ice time. Under Rolston, Myers topped 23 minutes of ice time in just three of 20 games. Under Nolan, he's gotten more than 23 minutes in 10 of the 26 games.
Nolan has said the sky is the limit for the big blue liner and one day it will just pop out and Myers will be good, consistently.