By Mike Harrington
Defenseman Tyler Myers certainly finished the season as one of the most frustrated Sabres. He sat out five games with an elbow problem in the middle of March -- missing a trip to his childhood home of Calgary for the second time in his career -- and then returned March 25 against Montreal. In the third period of that game, Myers slid hard into a goalpost and revealed today he suffered two broken ribs.
So Myers missed the final 10 games of the season and thus 15 of the last 16. That gave him a lot of free time to sit around and watch.
"Obviously it was a season that we have to make sure we reflect on and realize changes need to be made," Myers said today after cleaning out his locker. "We also want to take the positives out of it too and bring those into September and make sure everybody is on the same page.
"Whenever you finish in last place in the league, it can only go up from there. It's a matter of coming in, trying to improve every day, coming together as a group and working as a team that can get into contention."
Myers is actually getting close to middle age of his NHL career. He's played five seasons and is through two years of his seven-year, $38.5 million contract. By the end of next year, the former Calder Trophy winner will be 25.
"Guys around my age in the room definitely have to step up and be the core of this team," Myers acknowledged. "It's a young team and we can definitely take steps this summer and become leaders."
Like everyone in the organization, Myers is encouraged by the team's depth on defense. That's particularly true when talking about first-rounders Rasmus Ristolainen and Nikita Zadorov.
"With Risto and Big Z coming, those are two guys that have a lot of potential," Myers said. "It's all going to come down to, not only the D-corps coming together, but the whole team. We have to start creating a belief system that we didn't start with this year."
Click below to hear the audio of Myers' wide-ranging interview today: