Throughout August, we will shine the spotlight on some of the best and worst free-agent contracts. Now, this will rankle some while others will wholeheartedly agree. These deals focus not just on unrestricted but restricted free-agents as well. First up, is the Pacific Division.
When combing through the signings, this division despite its good also featured the signing of Tyler Myers.
Worst Pacific Division Signing
Tyler Myers — D — UFA signed in Vancouver (5 years, $30 million)
That is not a misprint! After a 31 point season and laying an egg in the playoffs, Myers signed in Vancouver. The new deal pays him a little more than his projection ($5.53 million AAV for one year). Originally, most pundits feared a six or seven-year contract at an AAV of around $7 million.
The numbers from PuckPedia paint a broad stroke on Myers. Honestly, this angers quite a few pundits considering what Kevin Shattenkirk just signed for in Tampa Bay (buyout casualty in New York). Shattenkirk making $1.75 million for a season is far more palatable than the Myers’ salary.
Again, it boggles the mind that Vancouver was the only suitor willing to go five years and this high of an AAV with the former Winnipeg Jets defenseman. Is there a possibility Vancouver could have signed him for less? Likely. Will we ever know? No. Were other teams in the Pacific Division interested? Not at that price.
Myers’ numbers dropped once he started playing more minutes. When Winnipeg was besieged by injuries, the defenseman had to play more and as a result, he was exposed. Teams attacked the Myers side of the ice frequently. Therefore, it was not shocking when he only played 18 minutes a night during the playoffs.
First, Myers is not always the most fleet of foot. Then, there are the puck movement and decision making issues. His utilization had to be modified because he could not stay spaced properly throughout the defensive and neutral zones. This created a lot of problems from mostly unforced errors.
Finally, Myers averaged 0.82 points per 60 which were not great by any means. His two best offensive years were nearly a decade ago. At 29, the likelihood of Myers turning back the clock is almost zero. He will see more time in Vancouver but teams will exploit him out wide with speed rushes repeatedly.
Simply, Myers will be an exercise of patience, some good, some bad, and some downright ugly.
What this means for the Vancouver Canucks
While this is the worst signing free agent wise in the Pacific, Vancouver minimized damage considerably by letting Derrick Pouillot walk. Also, they signed Jordie Benn and Alexander Edler to reasonable deals. Edler is 33-years old and that is a concern if they pair him with Myers at times. How much can the elder defenseman protect Tyler Myers? It’s an excellent question.
Quinn Hughes is another defensive partner possibility. The problem there is would you trust your second-year defenseman with Myers? At least the role would not be against the toughest minutes but still would be at least 21-22 minutes a night. Ideally, Myers and his effectiveness tails off at 21 minutes or above.
Now, Michael Ferland was a bit of a roll of the dice for Vancouver also but not on the level Myers was. Vancouver can absorb some of the shortcomings of this UFA signing but can they mask all of them? That will be a question to stay tuned on.