Buffalo Sabres: What Should the Return Be for a Tyler Myers Trade?


Last week the Buffalo Sabres already had a major outlet reporting that one of their more prominent players is on the trading block.

Looks like not much has changed from last season, after all. 

Darren Dreger and Pierre LeBrun of TSN both acknowledged the availability of Sabres defenseman Tyler Myers last week (h/t George Malik of Kukla’s Korner), starting the first Buffalo trade frenzy of the young season. 

Myers has not lived up to his billing as the Calder Trophy winner in the past few seasons, but his play has certainly gotten stronger since last season’s departure of Ron Rolston. In an albeit small sample size, Myers’ play this season has been one of the few bright spots on this Sabres team. 

So far this year, Myers is (somehow) an even plus-minus and is eighth in the league in ice time per game, including his 29-plus minute game Tuesday against the Carolina Hurricanes. His advanced metrics are even more impressive, as his plus-12.1 percent relative Corsi despite only 28.57 percent of his shifts starting in the offensive zone, via War-On-Ice, is excellent. 

These stats are likely just one reason of why the Sabres have been receiving calls for Myers, with his size and talent also being a huge motivator for the rest of the NHL

According to LeBrun and Dreger, the Anaheim Ducks, who just walloped the Sabres 5-1 Monday afternoon, seem to be the team most interested in the 6’8″ blueliner, but others, like the Detroit Red Wings have apparently also inquired.

But a passing interest is obviously different than coming up with an offer that Sabres general manager Tim Murray will find acceptable. 

TSN‘s Bob McKenzie acknowledged that the price will be high, as one would expect, but how high is “high?”

McKenzie’s tweet acknowledged that “many teams” were interested in Myers, so one can expect that in order for a team to secure his services, they will have to outbid the others. 

Myers, much like Zdeno Chara early in his career, is a unique commodity in this NHL. If he were to regain his Calder form, which he may─stress on may─be on his way to doing, his value would be near that of the top-tier defensemen in the league.

So what would the Sabres expect in return for Myers?

“High price” lends itself to some relatively easy assumptions, namely a top prospect and a first-round pick, preferably in the 2015 draft. That could also equal a top-six forward that can play in the NHL right away, plus some lesser draft picks. 

The plus for Murray in these discussions is that both Anaheim and Detroit have deep prospect pools from which to create a deal. 

For Detroit, one can imagine Murray’s eye is on Anthony Mantha, the leading goal scorer and point getter in the QMJHL last season. A 6’5″, 205-pound beast, Mantha would go a long way to solidifying the Sabres’ depth at right wing. 

Now, the thought of the Red Wings trading their top-rated prospect (according to Hockey’s Future) is likely more than a bit far-fetched, especially for someone as inconsistent as Myers the past few seasons. That would likely mean some of Detroit’s other great prospects would come up in conversation.

Andreas Athanasiou, currently with the Grand Rapids Griffins of the AHL, is another high-scoring winger with size. Athanasiou finished tied for second in the OHL in goals last season with 49 before moving on to the AHL. Tomas Jurco has also been impressive in his brief time in the NHL, scoring 15 points in 38 games with the Wings. 

The underlying aspect to any deal with the Red Wings will be their first-round pick, and the ever-present discussion of whether or not this is the year they finally miss the playoffs. Every year they seem to find a way, and even opened a 3-1 series lead over the Chicago Blackhawks in the 2012 Western Conference Semifinals.

But, this year, as with the last few years, the Wings are not a lock for the postseason. Murray might have his sights on what could be a third lottery pick, despite the New York Islanders‘ torrid start to the season potentially a flaw in that plan. 

A deal with Anaheim, despite their deep prospect pool, may be a bit trickier because of an assumed reluctance to give away pieces of their active roster. 

As it stands, the best Anaheim forward prospects currently not on the NHL team are Nick Ritchie, their 2014 first-round selection, Nick Sorensen, who is currently in Sweden, Stefan Noesen, who is coming off a significant injury, and Nicolas Kerdiles, the University of Wisconsin product currently with the AHL‘s Norfolk Admirals. 

Ritchie certainly has top-end potential as a goal scorer, but one can imagine that he is about as close to off limits as it can get for a Ducks team looking to keep its depth. Sorensen and Kerdiles have shown top-six potential, but both are a ways off from that, if they reach it at all. Noesen has come back from a season-ending knee injury last season to start the year with Norfolk, so his pro game is yet to be truly evaluated. 

If Murray is not content with one of those four guys being the centerpiece, the Ducks would have to part with someone like Emerson Etem, Rickard Rakell, William Karlsson or Jakob Silfverberg. That’s a move that would be harder to make simply because it affects the locker room this season, and the Ducks have already done some of that by trading for Ryan Kesler

Basically, this is not an easy trade to make for either side. Murray would be giving up what is likely an excellent NHL player who is still only 24 years old. Anaheim or Detroit would be giving up something of pretty substantial value, and both teams have reasons to hold on to whatever Murray would ask for in exchange for Myers. 

So while it’s easy to hear Detroit and assume Mantha and a first-rounder—and other teams will undoubtedly join the fold and similar packages will be pined for by Sabres fans—this is inherently more complex than that. 

But if Myers continues to impress the eye-test people and the stats people as the Sabres continue to play so poorly, one can only imagine Tim Murray is going to have a lot of people that want to try and make it work.


Follow me on Twitter for NHL and Sabres news all season: @SwordPlay18 

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