Sabres make play for Slava?

Written By Kris Baker on Sunday, May 31, 2009 | 5/31/2009 is reporting that the Sabres have extended a contract offer to 22-year old defenseman Vjacheslav Buravchikov (2005, 191st overall). The 6'1, 190-pound lefty collected four goals and 10 points this past season in the final year of his KHL deal. Russian Prospects feed:
Buffalo Sabres have once again extended an offer to the 22 year old Russian defenseman Vyacheslav Buravchikov (Buffalo Sabres). The club also reportedly offered the young defenseman an offer last summer, but at the time he was still under contract with HC Ak Bars. That contract is now over and Buravchikov is a free agent who is able to come to North America. Buravchikov has recently enjoyed several strong seasons in Russia with HC Ak Bars, this year earning the Gagarin Cup with his club.
The club's gesture likely marks the end of the road for free agent defensemen Mike Card, a 2004 pick who saw his past two seasons end due to concussions, and oft-injured Michael Funk.
5/31/2009 | 10 comments | Read More

Adam to join Myers at U20 camp

Written By Kris Baker on Saturday, May 30, 2009 | 5/30/2009

Luke Adam of the Montreal Juniors and returning defenseman Tyler Myers of the Kelowna Rockets have been named to the roster for Hockey Canada's 2010 National Junior Team Development Camp. The preliminary evaluation of Canada's 2010 World Junior entry will take place August 5th through 10th in the host city of Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. Back to skating after rupturing his spleen in a game on February 8th, the camp will follow Adam's expected participation in the Sabres prospects camp shortly after the draft. The 6'1, 201-pound forward scored 22 goals and 27 assists for the Juniors before missing the final month and a half of the season.
5/30/2009 | 0 comments | Read More

Byron in the fold

C/W Paul Byron has signed an entry level contract with the Sabres. Still awaiting official word from the organization, but it appears to be the typical three-year deal. Expect the 5'10, 170-pound Byron to start the 2009-10 season in the AHL with the Portland Pirates.
5/30/2009 | 8 comments | Read More

Clock ticks for Byron, Allard

Written By Kris Baker on Friday, May 29, 2009 | 5/29/2009

With the 5PM June 1st signing deadline looming, SabresProspects has been fielding many questions surrounding the future of 2007 QMJHL draftees Paul Byron and J.S. Allard. If both players do not come to terms with the Sabres, they will re-enter the June draft as 20-year olds. While direct attempts to reach the forwards have not been returned, the information we have received suggests that both parties are talking with the Sabres. As of now, the club doesn't appear to be walking away from either player like they did last May when informing Benjamin Breault that he wasn't part of their future plans. A point producer in his own regard, there were rumored to be other mitigating factors guiding the Sabres decision. In 2008-09, the speedy Byron finished 4th in Q scoring (99 points) on the heels of a 21-goal playoff run that helped Gatineau earn a 2008 Memorial Cup appearance. Byron will no doubt use his performance as a negotiating ploy despite concerns that his 5'10, 170-pound frame may limit his effectiveness, and push him to the outside against bigger, stronger professional players. This posturing could theoretically go on until Monday. After a draft-day trade from Montreal to Quebec, Allard had a flat year statistically with 16 goals and 56 points after a 60-point campaign the season before. Allard isn't very physical, but he plays smart and possesses plenty of two-way upside in his 6'2, 193-pound body to make him a quality depth player for Portland to work with. Stay tuned to this space for updates as they become available.
5/29/2009 | 9 comments | Read More

Zagrapan off to Russia

After three seasons in the AHL, 6'1 center Marek Zagrapan has signed a two-year deal with Severstal of the KHL. The Slovakian had just completed the final season of his three-year entry level contract with the Sabres. Zagrapan, chosen 13th overall by the Sabres in 2005, scored 66 goals and 127 points over his three years in Rochester/Portland after a two-year stint with Chicoutimi of the QMJHL. After not getting a sniff of the NHL during that time, agent Petr Svoboda thought it best for the 22-year old to leave for Russia with hopes of one day getting another shot at the NHL.
5/29/2009 | 6 comments | Read More

Rockets fall to Windsor; Myers named All-Tourney

Written By Kris Baker on Monday, May 25, 2009 | 5/25/2009

Congratulations to the Windsor Spitfires for winning the 2009 Mastercard Memorial Cup thanks to their 4-1 victory over the Kelowna Rockets on Sunday. The Spits found net on their first three shots before the first TV timeout, and held on over the final 53:00 to bring the Cup to Windsor for the first time in team history. With junior hockey's final game of the season in the books, so too is the busiest 14 months in the career of Rockets dman Tyler Myers. The 6'8 defenseman scored the first goal of the tournament and added three assists in three round robin games before finishing -1 in the final. Steady with the puck and tough to get around throughout, Myers, who was also named WHL Playoff MVP, was named to the tournament all-star team in a nice ramp-up for NHL duty in 2009-10. But first the dust must settle on what was a long 2008-09 for Myers. First round exit from the 2008 WHL playoffs last March... Off to Russia two weeks later to skate for Canada at the U18s... To Toronto for NHL Combine in late May... Drafted by Buffalo in June... Prospect camp at Niagara U in July... Team Canada Development Camp a couple weeks after... Off to Kelowna's camp in August... Then to his first Sabres training camp and preseason appearance... Back to Kelowna for the season grind... Off to Ottawa to tryout for Team Canada... Wins U20 World Junior Gold... January comes, and Myers the prospect becomes Myers the more confident beast as a result of his one goal, +5 outing at the WJC's. Still 18 years old, he had played 27 WHL games leading up to IIHF tourney, racking up a respectable four goals, 16 assists, and a +9 rating. In his next 53 games including the WHL playoffs, the right-side anchor kept pace with 10 goals and 32 assists, all the while improving his even strength effectiveness with a remarkable +35 rating. In all, the exhausted Myers played a total of 90 games that counted in the standings in 2008-09. There may never be another calendar year as grueling as this one. May Myers enjoy his accomplishments and get some well-deserved rest.
5/25/2009 | 11 comments | Read More

1st Period update: Windsor 3, Kelowna 0

Written By Kris Baker on Sunday, May 24, 2009 | 5/24/2009

It appears that the five-day layoff effected Tyler Myers and his teammates as the Rockets trail the Spits 3-0 after 20-minutes. Windsor came up buzzing, scoring three goals on their first three shots over a span of 3:49 while holding the Rockets without a shot for the first 6:00 of play. The game's one-on-one match-up features Myers against star 2010 eligible Taylor Hall. In the game's opening minute, Myers swallowed Hall's oncoming attack with ease. Later in the period, Hall gained the zone with speed but Myers used his long reach to break up a quick shot attempt. Myers attempted a couple rushes up ice, and once used both his wingspan to create space for himself while spinning away from a forechecker. Still, it took the Rockets a goaltending change and a good 10:00 of action before their offense could sustain any kind of pressure. The 6'8 rock was on the ice for the first goal against, as he challenged Greg Nemisz out at the dot after the Spit forward coralled a Mikael Backlund turnover. Nemisz got the puck to Adam Henrique in the slot, who quickly buried a shot past Mark Guggenburger before Myers could retreat. Late in the period, Myers left the ice after blocking a Nemisz shot off a soft area in his right leg padding. With Jamie Benn already getting a ding in the period, Myers allowed his team to breathe by not missing a shift. Updates coming live through the Twitter feed...
5/24/2009 | 0 comments | Read More

Memorial Cup showdown on tap

It's a gorgeous, peaceful Sunday in Buffalo, but the mood on the ice for the Memorial Cup title in Rimouski could get nasty as Tyler Myers and WHL champion Kelowna Rockets do battle with OHL powerhouse Windsor Spitfires today at 4:30 EST. Here's a quick drive-by on what should be a fantastic championship showdown. Myers has been an absolute man-amongst-boys for the Rockets this postseason. With a high-level of confidence gained from his World Junior experience under veteran NHL man Pat Quinn, the months of January through May have seen the 6'8 rearguard's assessment morph from 'solid developing prospect' into 'surefire, shutdown blueliner by the time he's 23'. While the quick Windsor attack may keep Myers' focus on his end, look for the fleet-footed right-hander to gallop up ice when the space permits. After losing their first two games of the tournament, the Spits stayed alive with a 2-1 regulation win over the Rockets on Tuesday (not reported here. Myers was -2 with an assist. looked fatigued). With his team rested, Myers and main offensive weapon Jamie Benn (DAL) should be ready to enact revenge in the game that matters most. Players To Watch Windsor's line of LW Taylor Hall ('10), C Adam Henrique (NJ), and RW Greg Nemisz (CAL) have dictated a lightning pace since the Spits opening losses. With the speedy Hall leading the charge, the trio is quick to penetrate the zone where Nemisz's big body and Henrique's craftiness keep it there. Windsor LW Lane MacDermid is an undrafted 19-year old who could be a prime target for any club looking to address team toughness. The hard-skating 6'3, 200+ disturber exhibited his authoritative ability to finish checks in the semifinal when he absolutely leveled Drummondville's Ryan McKiernan into the boards. There's a lot to like about his game. Prized secondary option Andrei Loktionov (LA) has kept up with the top line, using slick stickhandling and sniping to score two goals and four assists through the tournament thus far. Highly touted puck mover Ryan Ellis is a name that many will see going to Buffalo on NHL mock draft sights. A generous 5'11, Ellis is cool and smart with the puck, but is not what the Sabres need in the first round of the draft. Along with WHL playoff MVP Myers and Mem Cup leading scorer Benn (3 GP 5-3-8), the Rockets offense is fueled by Mikael Backlund (CAL), Cody Almond (MIN), and Colin Long (PHX). Backlund remained in North America after skating for Sweden in the World Juniors, and gave Kelowna a much-needed playmaker to keep the opponent off balance. A potential 2nd-3rd round pick next month, undersized defenseman Tyson Barrie moves the puck very well and brings excellent vision to the power play, but is still prone to the occasional 5-5 mistake. He essentially is Kelowna's version of Windsor QB Ellis. Shunning a commitment to Denver of the WCHA, RW Stepan Novotny had a strong regular season in his draft year for Kelowna with 19 goals and 41 points, but has tapered off with just seven points in 25 post-season games. Collin Bowman is another 2009 eligible who is more of a stay-at-home type. At 6'2, 200 pounds, his decision making has improved enough to earn a look from teams in the 4th-5th round neighborhood come draft time.
5/24/2009 | 0 comments | Read More

Myers continues cruise as Dubbers dump Drummondville

Written By Kris Baker on Monday, May 18, 2009 | 5/18/2009

Tyler Myers feathered an assist and sparkled defensively as Kelowna closed well in a 6-4 win over QMJHL champion Drummondville. Winning their first two round robin games with one left to play against 0-2 Windsor, the Rockets are guaranteed a spot in the Memorial Cup final on Sunday. Dallas prospect Jamie Benn paced the victors with four goals and an assist, while Cody Almond (OTT) scored the other pair including a beautiful insurance marker that went through a defenseman's wickets before beating Marco Cousineau five-hole. The steady Myers finished +3 for the second straight game while seeing nearly 28:00 of work. A mobile 6'8 workhorse whose beautiful pass started the Rockets third scoring play, Myers' physical dominance remains a major storyline for the WHL champs. He consistently sealed forecheckers from the puck, and leaned into a couple of strong finishes on the evening. In the middle third period, the 6'8 defender dished a crunching hit in the corner that resulted in a short shift for the shaken recipient. It's easy to see that big game experience has made him more of a confident initiator. Myers later embraced the role of crease protector (albeit via non-traditional means) when he dragged Yannick Riendeau out of the Rockets net by the scruff of his jersey as the forward took his time removing himself after a collision with goaltender Mark Guggenberger. Staying behind the play to do so, the defenseman illustrated a keen understanding that his role as a primary shutdown player doesn't always involve a play on the puck. Another point of physical dominance arrived horizontally, as the length that is usually employed vertically in the form of a pokecheck proved handy on a few occasions to block shots and passes to the front. Quick to react, Myers' 6'8 frame becomes an impermeable 10-foot glacier real fast when he drops to the ice. It's also worth mentioning that while Myers has a great stride, he hasn't had to chase much due to sound positioning. He's engaged in the play, giving his goalie room to see around him.. Myers and his mates will close their round robin on Tuesday against a Windsor club needing a win to stay alive. Puck drops at 7:00.
5/18/2009 | 2 comments | Read More

Myers sharp in opener

Written By Kris Baker on Friday, May 15, 2009 | 5/15/2009

At the Memorial Cup in Rimouski, recently-inked Tyler Myers had a goal, two assists, and a game-high +3 as Kelowna defeated the host Oceanic, 4-1. His #2 star effort from the back end anchored a dominant Rockets attack as the two clubs opened the 91st gathering of Canadian junior's best. The towering defenseman started things off with his even strength goal at 6:33 of the first period. Myers skated around a forward before snapping a 30-foot wrister against the grain through traffic to beat Maxime Gougeon just inside the short-side pipe. The Rockets brought the heat early, firing 14 of the game's first 16 shots. At 4:33 of period two, Myers set-up the eventual game winner when his power play one-timer pinballed off Marc-Andre Bourdon's skate to a waiting Jamie Benn. The game's #1 star, Benn matched Myers with a goal and two assists. Just 1:19 later, Myers would draw an assist as Ian Duval settled a beautiful saucer pass from Mikael Backlund on the fly and roofed the puck over Gougeon's left shoulder. The Oceanic goalkeeper was busy all night, stopping 38 shots in defeat to earn the #3 star. The Nics were rusty after not playing since April 22, and facing a shutdown player like Myers didn't help their cause. The blueliner was playing the body, disrupting shots and flow with his supreme reach, and finding teammates and shooting lanes seemingly on every shift. Strong and cool, it was pleasant to see a Sabres property dump an oncoming checker with a forearm shiver after making a play like he did in the first period. In the third, he enjoyed a post-whistle Greco-Roman session with 6'5 Keven Veilleux to earn offsetting roughing minors, after which he politely declined the invitation to "go" with the frustrated Nics forward. A steady controlling presence, it's Myers' mobility that makes him a special player to watch. Midway through the second period, he retrieved a puck behind his net and galloped past everyone down the left side into the Nics end. You just don't see 6'8 skaters as fleeting as the WHL playoff MVP is. Those catching the 19-year old this evening for the first time on national television should probably get used to it.
5/15/2009 | 6 comments | Read More

Sabres sign Myers

Written By Kris Baker on Monday, May 11, 2009 | 5/11/2009

2008 first-round draft pick Tyler Myers has come to terms on a three-year entry level deal with the Sabres. Press release from the Sabres: “Tyler is having an outstanding year with the Kelowna Rockets,” said General Manager Darcy Regier. “This past weekend he led the Rockets to the Western Hockey League Championship where he was named playoff MVP. He is a big, strong player who has excellent hockey skills for a 19-year old player. We’re glad to have him signed and look forward to his continued development both on and off the ice.” Myers (6’8”, 215 lbs., 2/1/1990) is about to put the finishing touches on an incredible season, as his Kelowna Rockets of the Western Hockey League have advanced to the Memorial Cup Championship that begins this week in Quebec. Myers played a huge role in the team’s postseason success, being named the WHL Playoff MVP by finishing with 20 points (5+15) and +13 in 22 games. This follows up a regular season where Myers scored a career-high 42 points (9+33) in 58 games for the Rockets, along with a +31 and 105 PIMs. The towering defenseman was also a key element of the Canadian team that won gold at the 2009 World Junior Championships in Ottawa. Myers had one goal in seven games for Team Canada, and drew rave reviews for his smooth skating and puck-moving abilities. Myers also won gold with Team Canada at the 2008 Under-18 World Championship in Russia, and he captained Team Alberta to a bronze medal at the 2007 Canada Winter Games. Myers had 77 points (17+60) in 191 games for Kelowna from 2005-09, after being drafted 19th overall as a 15-year-old in the 2005 WHL Draft. Myers was born in Katy, TX, but his family moved to Alberta when he was 10 years old. He now makes his home in Calgary, AB.
5/11/2009 | 4 comments | Read More

Rockets rally for Rimouski; Myers nabs MVP

Written By Kris Baker on Sunday, May 10, 2009 | 5/10/2009

Tyler Myers and the Kelowna Rockets are heading to the Memorial Cup thanks to a 3-2 OT victory over Calgary in Game Six of the WHL Final. Myers, even for the game despite two miscues that led to both Hitmen goals, was named the MVP of the championship series. Calgary got on the board in the first period when Myers coughed the puck up in the offensive zone to allow a breakout pass to Bostjan Golicic. Golicic, who had just stepped out of the box, streaked down for short-handed tally to put the visitors up 1-0. Just :41 later, a Myers shot appeared to tie the game, but was ruled no goal after video review revealed that the net became dislodged before the puck crossed the plane. The paced picked up in the second twenty minutes, and Kelowna capitalized. Colin Long buried a power play goal at 11:43 to get the Rockets in the game. Nearly two minutes later, Lucas Bloodoff had a puck go off his skate to give the Rockets a 2-1 lead after 40:00. Calgary would battle back with 7:00 to play in regulation when a Myers fumble of what-looked-to-be an intercept of a Brett Sonne pass created an opportunity for 53-goal man Joel Broda to force overtime with his 11th of the playoffs. Kelowna controlled the extra session, outshooting the Hitmen 5-1 before a Tyson Barrie ('09) power play marker sealed victory, set Prospera Place into a frenzy, and punched the Rockets ticket to Rimouski. Leading playoff point man Jamie Benn (DAL) ignited the Rockets with a pair of assists, including one on the game winning goal, after missing the previous three games due to injury. Myers was active at both ends throughout, especially in the offensive zone where he was apt to attack from his point position. If the past two series have revealed anything negative about his game, it's that he needs stronger hands on the puck, both controlling it tight and also when clearing the zone. His handling has improved, but too many weak clears have come off his stick. The puck needs more umph behind it, and we're confident he'll be slinging it around in no time. But before Sabres strength and conditioning coach Doug McKenney can get his hands on the 6'7-3/4 project, Myers and his mates will play for junior hockey's top prize. The Rockets will open the 2009 Mastercard Memorial Cup on Friday at 7:00 against the host Oceanic. The Windsor Spirfires will represent the OHL, while the winner of the QMJHL President's Cup series between Drummondville and Shawinigan will round out the field. High octane Drummondville currently holds a 3-2 series lead. The 2009 gathering will mark the ninth straight year that a Sabres property has skated for the Cup. Last season, Paul Byron and his 21-goal playoff tear helped carry the Gatineau Olympiques to Kitchener. The year before his draft eligible season, 17-year old Tyler Ennis was a member of 2006-07 WHL playoff champion Medicine Hat. In the 2006, Patrick Kaleta scored eight goals and 10 assists in 19 playoff games as Peterborough earned a spot in Moncton. Ottawa 67's forward Mark Mancari was a bull down the stretch in 2004-05, scoring 14 goals in the OHL playoffs before skating against Sidney Crosby of Rimouski, Shea Weber of Kelowna, and Corey Perry of the host London Knights. Defenseman Mike Card also participated in the tournament for a third time as a member of the Rockets blueline. In 2004, Card's Rockets won the Memorial Cup over a field that included Daniel Paille of the Guelph Storm and Clarke MacArthur of the Medicine Hat Tigers. Speedy forward Derek Roy cemented his place in CHL history when the tourney MVP captained the Kitchener Rangers to a 2003 Cup title in Quebec City. In 2002, Paille was a center for the host Guelph Storm, while 2000 2nd round draft pick Gerard Dicaire was a member of the cup winning Kootenay Ice. Dicaire went unsigned and was re-drafted by Tampa later that summer. The 2001 series saw Sabres scouts watching Regina forward Karel Mosovsky, a 4th round pick in 1999 who scored three goals and three assists for the host Pats before crapping out after three seasons in Rochester.
5/10/2009 | 6 comments | Read More

Hitmen making it a series

Written By Kris Baker on Friday, May 8, 2009 | 5/08/2009

In the WHL Finals, Tyler Myers was -1 as Kelowna got rocked by Calgary for a second straight night, 6-1. After winning the first three games of the series, the Rockets were outshot 50-19 in having their lead trimmed to 3-2. Myers picked up 12 PIM on the night, including a misconduct after stepping in on a scrum with 2:30 to play. The teams are back in Kelowna for game six on Saturday.
5/08/2009 | 3 comments | Read More

Myers, Rockets on the cusp

Written By Kris Baker on Thursday, May 7, 2009 | 5/07/2009

After two games this week, Tyler Myers and the Kelowna Rockets find themselves on the verge of heading to Rimouski for the 2009 Memorial Cup. On Wednesday, Myers had an assist as Kelowna lost to Calgary, 6-2. The win puts the Hitmen on the board in the WHL Finals, as they now trail Myers' Rockets 3-1. In Monday's game three, Myers was +1 as the Rockets shutout the Hitmen, 2-0. Playing both games without injured forward Jamie Benn, Myers gave and absorbed hits, and helped picked up the slack adding more offensive rushes to his sound shutdown foundation. Myers has five goals, 15 assists, and is +14 in 20 playoff games.
5/07/2009 | 1 comments | Read More

Myers a rock as Rockets roll late

Written By Kris Baker on Saturday, May 2, 2009 | 5/02/2009

Tyler Myers was credited with a pair of assists while finishing a game-high +4 as Kelowna rode a three-goal third period to a 5-2 win over Calgary. The Friday-Saturday sweep at the Saddledome gives the Rockets a comfortable 2-0 series cushion heading back to British Columbia for Monday's game three. Meanwhile, the Hitmen suffered back-to-back home losses for the first time since March of 2008. The character building victory saw role players like Evan Bloodoff and Ian Duval step up after leading scorer Jamie Benn took a pop and left the game just 10-minutes in. A 2009 eligible, Bloodoff was elevated from an energy line to score a goal and two assists, while a Duval tally sparked the team's late flurry. The Rockets, who outshot the Hitmen 15-7 in the final frame, got two goals from Flames prospect Mikael Backlund to pull away. The multi-point performance (one assist may be re-assigned to Tyson Barrie) gives Myers 19 points (5+14) in 18 playoff contests, but his emergence as a dominating league presence actually began back in January. In 49 total games since winning World Junior gold with Team Canada, Myers has scored 41 points and racked up an impressive +35.
5/02/2009 | 0 comments | Read More

5/1 Recap: Uno de Myers

Tyler Myers buried the game winning goal on the power play and added two assists as Kelowna took game #1 of the WHL Finals from Calgary, 3-1. With the game tied 1-1 midway through the third period, Myers took a Jamie Benn pass and pumped a shot through heavy traffic to give the Rockets a 2-1 lead. The goal was Myers fifth of the playoffs. Producing offense while sturdy on the blueline, the native Calgarian was named the game's #1 star. Mark Guggenburger (free agent) was excellent in the Rockets net, while faceoff ace Cody Almond (MIN) and Benn (DAL) paced the forwards. The puck drops for game #2 on Saturday. In the QMJHL Final, Drummondville set a record by winning their 20th straight game (7 in regular season, 13 in playoffs) with a 2-1 win over Shawinigan. The victory gives the Voltigeurs a 1-0 series edge. In the OHL Final, Windsor took a 2-0 series lead by defeating Brampton, 5-3.
5/02/2009 | 11 comments | Read More