Lightning Believe in Myers After Defensive Losses

From the moment of his acquisition, it seemed clear that the Tampa Bay Lightning had a plan for Philippe Myers. While many believed that the 6-foot-5 defenseman was destined to be bought out since his contract allowed for some creative accounting that would actually give the Lightning a cap credit instead of a negative when bought out, Tampa Bay instead believed that the 25-year-old still had room to grow into his game.

Sign up for our free ‘Lightning Substack Newsletter‘ for all the latest.

After the 2022-23 buyout period passed, Myers remained on the Lightning’s roster. This continued through training camp, as he played well enough to secure a place on their opening night roster (despite being placed on waivers for cap reasons.) In fact, before he even played his first regular season game in Tampa Bay, they signed him to a one-year, $1.4 million extension, showing that they believe in him enough to commit to two seasons of his play.

Related: Ian Cole’s Suspension Leaves Big Gap on Lightning Blue Line

With the season underway, Myers has seemingly locked down a starting role on the Lightning’s third pairing. While it appears that he won’t be heavily relied upon at first, the opportunity will be there for him to grow into the player that many believed he could be. So that begs the question… what is the best-case scenario for a player like Myers while playing with Tampa Bay?

Myers Has a Low Ceiling But a High Floor

When it comes to a depth defenseman, there’s only so much that the Lightning can expect. Myers isn’t going to be a powerplay quarterback or a minute-munching defender who you throw out against the opponent’s best lines. Even when he finds a consistent role with the franchise, expectations should remain limited as he will play sheltered minutes that will minimize his impact on the ice, both positively and negatively.

That doesn’t mean that Myers won’t be an important player for the Lightning, however. Every team needs those depth defensemen to fill out their lineup, and he could be a perfect, low-cost fit.

Philippe Myers Philadelphia Flyers
Philippe Myers has played a limited role in the NHL, but he will receive a major opportunity with the Tampa Bay Lightning after he was acquired by the franchise during the 2022 offseason. (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

Playing on the third pairing, he should start the season taking on roughly 10 to 12 minutes of ice time each night, along with half a minute or so on the penalty kill. As the season progresses this playing time should increase, and if all goes well, he could be taking on 13-14 minutes of regular ice time each night, along with a minute on the penalty kill. With this ice time, if Myers can lay down a few hits, block a few shots, and chip in a handful of points while minimizing his mistakes then it will be considered a successful season.

Sure, these aren’t exciting totals, but they are meaningful contributions that the Lightning need from their depth defensemen, especially as their expected starters are out of the lineup.

Myers Could Lose Place Once Zach Bogosian Returns

There is one potential change that could derail this plan, however. When veteran defenseman Zach Bogosian returns from injury, he will likely be ready to take over a spot in the Lightning’s top-six immediately. As a right-shot defender, this could force Myers out of the lineup, and potentially cause him to be sent to the AHL.

This isn’t the end of the world, however, as having defensive depth is never a bad thing. The Lightning need players like Myers in their system, as injuries will inevitably strike throughout the season. If he can step in and play solid hockey for 20-plus games to start the season, it will help the team rest easy as the postseason approaches.

Related: Top 10 All-Time European-Born NHL Forwards

This makes Myers one of the most interesting players starting for the Lightning right now, as the team still isn’t quite sure what to expect from him. So, he could see an incredible amount of growth throughout the 2022-23 season, which makes him a player worth watching on a team that features a lot of names that you already know what to expect when they take the ice.

Latest News & Highlight