How Phil Myers went from UDFA to key cog in Flyers’ top defensive pairing

Following his 2019-2020 performance, Phil Myers went being out of the lineup to top-pair with the Philadelphia Flyers in 2020-2021.

Throughout the 2020 offseason, the Philadelphia Flyers kept mostly the same personnel from last season. The core has not changed. A few veteran players have settled on a new franchise while another retired altogether. The Flyers have promoted their players internally to take on new roles and increase their workload. Philadelphia showed how confident they are in Philippe Myers heading into 2020-2021.

Phil Myers fights to make the Flyers

It’s easy to forget that the man many are excited to watch next season wasn’t even drafted back in 2015.

Following a playoff appearance with the Lehigh Valley Phantoms in 2017-2018, Myers was recalled by Ron Hextall to NHL. It took five games before he appeared on special teams with Travis Sanheim. Dave Hakstol paired Myers up with Sanheim in a tandem that stuck in 2019-2020 under Chuck Fletcher’s regime. He finished 2018-2019 with a stat line of one goal, one assist, and a minus-five rating through 21 games. His first impression was enough for Fletcher to consider him in 2019-2020 after the departure Andrew McDonald.

Last season started in Prague for the Flyers, but not for Myers. That soon changed as he spent only six games with the Phantoms. Myers made his 2019-2020 debut against the New Jersey Devils and never looked back. He reunited with Travis Sanheim on the second pairing. The decision to recall Myers was correct as he went from not being on the roster to begin 2019-2020 to landing the top pair role with Ivan Provorov in 2020-2021.

“When I got called up after I got cut, I didn’t take anything for granted. I just worked as hard as I could to make sure I didn’t go down.”

Philippe Myers; 12/30/2020

Flyers invest in Myers

Heading into a contract season, Myers boosted his value through his quality of play. Of any skating position, he was one of the best defenders on the ice. When he became a restricted free agent, it was a matter of when and how much he would be signed. Consider that his plus-seventeen rating was second to Sean Couturier, the reigning Frank J. Selke Trophy recipient. A three-year contract worth $7.65mil properly secured Myers to Philadelphia without overpaying.

“I’m really excited for the next three years.”

Philippe Myers; 12/30/2020

Fletcher has monitored Myers’ growth on the Flyers roster since 2018-2019. Philadelphia can credit Hextall for discovering the undrafted defenseman. Two seasons removed from his first stint on the Flyers roster, Myers successfully had two smart general managers invest in him. It’s not just the general manager. Alain Vigneault’s confidence in Myers is buzzing.

Ivan Provorov x Phil Myers

“The coaches came up to me and said that I was going to play with Travis in the top four. That just gave me a bit more of a boost of confidence.”

Philippe Myers; 12/30/2020

As soon as Philadelphia revealed they wanted Myers with Sanheim on the second pair, his career was off to the races. The trust and confidence placed in Myers allowed him to play his own game without fear. His skill set will complement Ivan Provorov in 2020-2021. He isn’t a powerplay blue-liner like Matt Niskanen, but that is okay. If Myers can improve from his 2019-2020 campaign, the Flyers’ top defensive pair combines everything well.

Erik Gustafsson fills in Myers’ former role on the second pair. Philadelphia doesn’t lose a powerplay threat. Their identity is a bit different because instead of two powerplay defensemen on the top pair, Myers comes equipped as a penalty killer. Deciding to introduce Myers on the top pair in the first season of his extension may revolutionize the Flyers blue-line. He’s one of the most tireless working young players on the entire team, evident by his opening night projection in 2020-2021 compared to Prague in 2019-2020.

Photo Credit: Alex Mcintyre

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