At one point, it seemed as though Philippe Myers’ NHL dreams would be put on hold and he’d be left to float around minor leagues for the early years of his career. That was until Sept. 21, 2015, when he earned his very first professional contract.
After years of grinding in the minors, Myers has finally ascended to the big leagues and has begun honing in the best parts of his game. Even though he’s finally cracked the NHL, his journey to the Flyers’ lineup was anything but easy. From a standout in juniors to an undrafted free agent and finally, to an NHL regular, he is just getting started and his rise is something worth praising.
A Bright Juniors Career
At the start of the 2013-14 season, Myers joined the Rouyn-Noranda Huskies of the QMJHL. After struggling through his first two years, the Moncton, Canada native finally found his stride during the 2015-16 season.
In 2015, Myers earned a rookie tryout at the annual rookie camp hosted by the Philadelphia Flyers. Although he wasn’t a standout star set to join the team right away, he was rewarded with an entry-level deal with the Flyers.
After rejoining the Huskies, Myers’ skill took off. He put up 45 points in the 2015-16 season with an impeccable plus-52 rating and helped his team earn their first President’s Cup victory in franchise history.
Just a year later, Myers backed it up with a 35-point year and a well-earned spot on Team Canada’s World Junior roster alongside future teammate Carter Hart. With his skill just starting to take shape, he was ready to take his game to the next level and truly begin his journey to the NHL.
Life In Lehigh Valley
When Myers joined the Lehigh Valley Phantoms, his talent was raw and his skills were just peeking through the surface. His size and speed alone made him a highly discussed prospect. However, he was competing with the likes of Travis Sanheim, Sam Morin, and Robert Hagg: all massive defensemen looking to earn a roster spot in Philadelphia.
His rookie season in the AHL was undoubtedly a bit of a struggle. He battled a groin injury that sidelined him throughout the early stages of the season. Once he returned, Myers’ 50 games with the Phantoms that season helped him earn some looks from the top club.
He quickly earned recognition from his head coach Scott Gordon and was finally starting to look like he might be NHL-ready. His injury was behind him and the 2018-19 season posed an opportunity for Myers to finally make the jump to the Flyers.
A Jump to the Majors
Then-22 years old, Myers started the 2018-19 season in Lehigh Valley, where he would go on to play the majority of the season after an unimpressive camp and preseason with the Flyers. Time in the AHL, however, didn’t slow his progress.
He continued to be one of the highlights of the Phantoms’ blue line, impressing not just his coaches in Lehigh Valley, but also front-office executives in Philadelphia. He was thriving at both ends of the ice, with a significant increase in ice time that carried throughout the Calder Cup Playoffs.
Myers’ time finally came on Feb. 9, 2019. He joined Scott Gordon, who was named the Flyers’ interim head coach just months before, for the remainder of the regular season. His role progressively grew over time, and he was finally finding some consistency in both his personal game and his role in the Flyers’ defensive core.
Now, Myers is a staple of the Flyers’ lineup and his game has dramatically improved. He’s cut down on the penalties, has gotten much better at reading plays to create offensive chances through the neutral zone, and plays a structured defensive game by frequently blocking shots and dictating breakouts.
Myers has gone from just 21 NHL appearances during the 2018-19 season to an even 50 this season through the Flyers’ 69 games. Much like his time in Lehigh Valley, he has been at his best when playing alongside Travis Sanheim. The two have been a spectacular second defensive pairing who’ve both earned time on the power play as well.
Throughout his first legitimate NHL season, Myers has improved on his speed and strength, bringing a physical style of play back to the Flyers’ defensive end, while still jumping up for the occasional offensive opportunity.
He’s also managed to find some composure in his game, whereas last season he seemed to be a bit jumpy and sporadic with the puck. He now looks like a true pro and is only continuing to sharpen his skills.
With the season suspended, Myers will earn some extra time to heal from a fractured patella in his right knee that was slated to keep him out four weeks. Considering the way the Flyers were playing before the postponement, Myers may finally get his first action in the Stanley Cup playoffs when, and if, the 2019-20 season resumes.
An Unexpected Success Story
Myers’ rise from an undrafted free agent to a solid NHL regular has been an unexpected gift for the Flyers. It’s shocking, now, to think so many teams passed on him in the 2015 draft and even the Flames gave up on him after he completed their Development Camp that same year.
However, all that has built up the wild success story that Myers has become. At just 23 years old, he certainly has elite-level potential and could be a fixture in the Flyers’ lineup for years to come.
Hopefully, we get a chance to see Myers make a full recovery from his injury before this season comes to an end. His rise has been something to behold and it’s about time for him to earn the recognition he deserves.