Breaking Down the Fit Between Tyler Myers and the Toronto Maple Leafs

Vancouver Canucks Defenseman Tyler Myers Celebrates Goal
Vancouver Canucks Defenseman Tyler Myers Celebrates Goal Getty Images

Earlier this weekend, Tyler Myers rumors began to kick around Leaf land. The veteran Vancouver Canucks defenseman is certainly a name I didn’t expect, but one that does intrigue me. Now financials would need to be worked out, and the analytics aren’t great, but believe it or not, I’m interested. Let’s dive into the fit between the Toronto Maple Leafs and the 33-year-old defenseman. 

The Toronto Maple Leafs trade deadline target remains unclear. Could it be a forward? Yes, but it could also be a defenseman. With the loss of veteran defenseman Jake Muzzin, the Maple Leafs blueline lacks that certain rugged profile. Vancouver Canucks defenseman Tyler Myers brings that, using his size and physicality. The 33-year-old right-handed defenseman isn’t afraid to use his large frame and mainly throws hands when needed too. 

Now I’m not one for adding players based on pure physical tangibles, but my interest in Myers stems from more. Although Myers only has a twelve percent even strength defense percentage per JFresh, I’m optimistic Sheldon Keefe’s system could fix that. The days of Tyler Myers being a top pairing option are likely over. But in a reduced role, with a better roster, Myers could potentially soar. Myers’ offensive skill set is quite high, and he has a good shot from the point, which could greatly benefit this team. According to JFresh, he has a seventy-four percent even strength offense percentage. 

Now, this is, without a doubt, an extremely risky gamble for the Leafs to consider. However, this could be a useful addition if acquired with retention. Per The Athletic, Tyler Myers is playing at a negative one-hundred thousand value. That’s not a mistake; that’s how bad Myers has been for the Canucks this season. The 33-year-old has a $6,000,000 cap hit for this season and next season. If the Leafs acquire Myers, it’ll definitely come with retention. You could also add a third team to the mix and get Tyler for even cheaper. With Vancouver looking to move on from Tyler’s cap hit, I’m sure the trade wouldn’t cost much.

The biggest reason this rumor appeals to me is actually beyond this season, with Justin Holl playing better recently on an expiring contract. It wouldn’t surprise if the 31-year-old prices himself out of Toronto. Now before you laugh, I’m serious; per the Athletic, Justin Holl has been playing at almost a $4,000,000 value. Perhaps this move would provide insurance on the right side while also impacting this season. The Maple Leafs lack a defenseman who can separate the body from the puck while being good in front of the net. My favorite aspect former Leaf Ilya Lyubushkin brought was that hard-nosed style in front of the Leafs goal; Muzzin and Lyubushkin did well moving out screens from the opposition.

Myers would be a risky acquisition, and many arrows point in the wrong direction. However, given the size of Tyler Myers and his 6’8″ frame, he’s pretty mobile. He does not bring speed to the back end, but in terms of skating ability, he’s much better than he is given credit for. It’s been a while since we’ve seen some excellent hockey from the 33-year-old, but he does have some tangibles that could work. His skill set can translate well to the Maple Leafs, especially going into a playoff series against Tampa Bay. It’s obvious the Lightning have size upfront in their offense. It may not be a coincidence that Muzzin was the team’s best defenseman last playoffs. The rugged style of Tyler Myers could be useful beyond this season, strengthening this Maple Leafs blueline. 

Would this be my dream addition at the deadline? Not a chance, but I could see the upside of adding Myers. I think it’s obvious now that the Toronto Maple Leafs don’t want to move out much when it comes to a trade. The group here seems pretty comfortable with each other, so targeting a big name might be off the list. Myers definitely brings that physical presence a portion of the fanbase has been calling for but is it the right move? It’s quite an intriguing gamble that I highly recommend monitoring as we approach Friday, March 3rd. 

Thanks for reading! For more Leafs content, follow me on Twitter at ITR_Anselmo.

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Joshua Anselmo

A hockey mind that's always looking at new and insightful ways to bring different perspectives of the game we all love.

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