Is Phil Myers ready to go from UDFA to top-line defender?


Last season, Phil Myers was the subject of one of my first pieces covering the Flyers from the practice facility in Voorhees. At that time, Myers had recently been called up from Lehigh Valley and was on a tear. He shared his disappointment in starting the season in the AHL.

“Yeah, I was really disappointed and sort of a little bit of a wake-up call,” Myers told me after practice.. “I needed to get back on track. Not try to do too much and keep it simple. I think I went down there with the right attitude and played pretty well in those couple of games I played in and kept it going up here. Since I went down there at the beginning of the year, it feels that much better to get back up here.”

During the season, his’ game continued to grow. His partnership with Travis Sanheim continued to develop. What was interesting is that at times we saw the combination of Myers and Ivan Provorov as a pairing – a potential sign of things to come?

With the retirement of Matt Niskanen, the top D-line spot is waiting for Phil Myers and for his efforts, he was rewarded with a well-earned contract extension.

Undrafted to Top Line Defender?

A lot has been written about Myers’ being an undrafted free-agent signing. One of Ron Hextall’s great finds, and Calgary’s mistake. It’s not a big deal when you think that at age of 17/18, some players just don’t develop in time. Neither of the other major sports limits your draft to one year like the NHL. During his draft-eligible year in the QMJHL, Myers’ scored eight points, two goals, and six assists in 40 games with Rouyn-Noranda.

Myers’ was invited to Calgary’s 2015 development camp, but left without a contract. Hextall invited him to the Flyer’s camp and did not let him get away.

Next season, everything seemed to click. Myers racked up 45 points (17G, 28A). He also burst up to a +52 and helped lead the Huskies to the Memorial Cup. Myers followed that up with another successful season in 2016-2017. He represented Team Canada at the 2017 IIHF World Junior Championships, although his tournament was cut short due to injury.

Myers would his NHL debut in the 2018-19 season, splitting time between the Phantoms and Flyers, notching 24 assists and 33 points for Lehigh Valley in 53 games.

One year later, in his first full NHL season, Myers recorded 16 points (4 goals and 12 assists across 50 games, tying second among rookies with a +17 rating and leading the team.

What makes Phil Myers different

Watch Myers’ play and you won’t see anything fancy. He is not a flashy player and although he skates extremely well, he’s the type of player that makes it look easy, almost effortless. The type of player that lets us over the hill men’s leaguers say, “I can do that!”

Phil Myers takes pride in his simplified game. He moves the puck with great vision and has a wicked shot from the point. On multiple occasions last year, he took over the game by simplifying the play. Here is my favorite example:

After a win vs Toronto last season, Myers told the following regarding his play:

“Yeah. You know, my game is nothing too fancy. You know, that being said, You know, I can still make plays, right? But I felt like we weren’t getting enough pucks on net and, you know. I was just trying to create chaos and you know, when you shoot on net, good things happen, right. A lot of rebounds and stuff, so it’s worked out. Glad I could chip in, you know, offensively.”

The Flyers’ got this one right, as Myers will be a big part of the Flyers’ blue line in the future. Look for Myers and his teammates to take the ice around mid-January, and stick with Philly Sports Network for reports on the start of the 2021 season.

Photo Credit: Alex Mcintyre