Making Sense of Tyler Myers to Maple Leafs Trade Talk

If the Vancouver Canucks elect to make defenseman Tyler Myers available via trade, apparently, the Toronto Maple Leafs are going to be in on those trade discussions. In fact, according to a report by Bruce Garrioch of the Ottawa Sun, Toronto is already kicking tires on this trade possibility, an idea that has a number of fans in Toronto feeling a little bit nervous.

According to Garrioch :

There’s also been talk the Vancouver Canucks are willing to move defenceman Tyler Myers and the Leafs have been among the teams kicking tires there.

source – ‘GARRIOCH: Erik Karlsson will return to his home in Ottawa, but not the Senators’ lineup’ – Bruce Garrioch – Ottawa Sun – 11/17/2022

Why the Canucks Would Trade Myers

The Canucks are struggling. There’s talk that head coach Bruce Boudreau will be fired, there is chatter that Bo Horvat could be on the move if the return is right and the team just hasn’t been very good this season. President Jim Rutherford doesn’t like the way the team is playing, knocking their structure and hinting that no one is safe. As a result, it makes sense that the Canucks would consider moving Myers.

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Myers is a big body that was brought in to answer a lot of questions on the Canucks’ blue line. He plays top-four minutes, but there are certainly questions about whether or not he’s in the right role and his underlying numbers suggest he’s not someone the Canucks should have given $30 million to when they signed him as a free agent in 2019. It’s hard to blame him for taking the money, but if the Canucks want to get out from under that contract, it’s hard to blame them either.

Why the Maple Leafs Might Be Interested in Myers

Some fans in Toronto will immediately shoot this report down and say that Toronto isn’t interested. They’ll argue this is just another rumor and the Leafs are reportedly in on everyone these days. That may be true, but with all that’s gone on with the Leafs’ blue line this season, it’s not the wackiest notion to suggest GM Kyle Dubas is at least exploring his options here. Mike Halford and Jason Brough phrased it well when they said, “I would imagine at this point the Leafs are doing their due diligence on across the National Hockey League to try and find blueliners, not unlike what Ottawa will probably be doing.” The response was, “Have you seen the right side of this Leafs’ defense?”

Tyler Myers Vancouver Canucks
Tyler Myers, Vancouver Canucks (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)

Myers has a modified 10-team, no-trade clause that kicked in on July 1 and he’s making $6 million per season on the cap over the next two seasons. He’s actually paid a lot less than that in actual salary — $5 million this season and $1 million next season — so there is the potential that he could be treated more like a rental than a player the Leafs have to hang onto for two years. If Dubas can bring Myers in while Jake Muzzin‘s future is unclear, then ship Myers out over the summer to a team that would be willing to eat the salary cap for a player making only $1 million in real dollars, the Maple Leafs could work some salary cap magic. The question becomes, do they want to on this player?

Related: Blackhawks Have the Answer to Maple Leafs’ Defense Dilemma

During his four seasons with the Canucks, Myers has posted 13 goals and 51 assists. The problem is that the ice is often tilted in the wrong direction when he’s on it and the Leafs might be asking for trouble if they believe he can come in a play key role when trying to limit shots against or shut down another team. He’s big, but he doesn’t often play big and his tendency is to underwhelm despite the physical tools he has.

What Would Toronto Have to Give Up?

This isn’t the first time the Leafs have been linked to Myers. Back in 2019 when he was a free agent, there was speculation the Leafs had shown interest. My best guess is that he took the money in Vancouver. This doesn’t mean the Leafs are willing to move heaven and earth to acquire him. But, they might be willing to give up something if they’re feeling stuck.

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The reality is, there are few other options out there. Supply and demand could dictate what the market for Myers might look like. Brough said, “Beggers can’t be choosers.” Will the Leafs get to a point where they feel they “have” to make a move? And, if they get to that point, will the Canucks take advantage of the leverage that offers?

If the Canucks are willing to retain salary, that’s a bonus for the Leafs.