Since Tyler Myers signed in Vancouver, he has faced criticism about his game. Before the season started, I even put out a piece saying the Vancouver Canucks should look to trade him. Ever since head coach Bruce Boudreau arrived in town, however, that narrative has changed. There is still the odd turnover, but the man known around Vancouver as the “chaos giraffe” has stepped up his game and become indispensable for this organization. Here is a breakdown of his recent form.
Myers’ Improved 5-on-5 Play
Myers has been key to the recent success of the Vancouver Canucks. Over the past nine games, he has led the team in blocked shots and leads all defensemen in five-on-five shots on goal. As for his advanced analytics, no player has been on the ice for more Canucks goals scored and shots on goal.
One major difference is the generation of high danger chances for and against. Under former coach Travis Green, Myers had a high danger chance for percentage of 45.27. Under Boudreau, that number has increased to 59.15%. Despite giving up a similar amount of high danger chances against under both coaches, the former Calder Trophy winner is getting the puck out of the Canucks zone quickly, leading to more high danger chances.
It is not just high danger chances as his advanced analytics have seen improvements across the board. He may not be putting up points like he did when he first broke into the league, but he is becoming the defenceman Vancouver needs, especially with all their problems on the right side.
More Ice Time Has Equaled More Success for Myers
Due to injuries and COVID-19 protocols, Myers has been leaned upon more by Boudreau. His overall ice time is up from 21:50 per game to 24:58, with the main reason being an influx of even-strength time on ice. Although his overall time on ice has increased, his shorthanded time per game has drastically decreased from 2:55 per game to 2:10 per game. This is one of the factors behind his recent positive trend in play.
Although Myers is a significant piece of the Canucks penalty kill, he no longer is the only right-shot option. This alleviates some pressure and allows him to focus on his five-on-five play. Playing the penalty kill is also exhausting for defenders. Now that the burden has been lessened, he can spend that extra energy creating offense rather than being hemmed in his own zone. As previously stated, this strategy seems to be working; his game has seen a major positive swing since the coaching change.
Myers Impressive When Canucks are Leading
When the Canucks take the lead, Myers plays better. During the past nine games, the Canucks have outscored opponents 6-3 when he is on the ice and have outshot the opposition 44 to 31. In the previous 25 games, the Canucks were outshot 45 to 52 with him on the ice and outscored four to three.
This means that over the past nine games, instead of allowing the opposition easy access to the defensive zone, he is helping to push the offense. This has increased his advanced analytics and the Canucks as a team building on leads rather than giving them up, which was a problem early on in the season. Boudreau’s new strategy of applying pressure regardless of the score is working, and Myers is benefiting greatly from the change in philosophy.
Finally Living Up to His Contract
Whenever Myer’s name is brought up, it is usually associated with saying his $6 million AAV is way too high, and he isn’t playing up to his contract. Over the past nine games, however, it could be said that he is finally playing at the level expected when he signed the contract based on his production and importance to the team. There is still a long season left with more than 50% of the games still to be played, but if the last nine games are any indication, the Canucks may finally be getting the return on their investment they had hoped for when he signed in the summer of 2019.
Adam is excited to be joining The Hockey Writers as part of the Seattle Kraken and Vancouver Canucks team. His work can also be found at area51sportsnet.com where he covers the Vancouver Giants of the Western Hockey League.