Meyers was one of the more sought after college free agents in the country, and he chose to go to a contending team as opposed to somewhere he might play more right away. After trading away top prospects and high draft picks at the deadline just weeks earlier, Meyers was essentially a free prospect for Colorado, and one who could step into the NHL immediately.
He did exactly that…but it didn’t go quite as smoothly as many thought it would.
Meyers managed to break camp with the Avalanche, even after a slightly disappointing preseason, but it didn’t last long. After three games, which included him scoring a goal off his chest, he was sent to the AHL, simply because he wasn’t getting enough ice time. Unfortunately, he was injured playing for the Eagles, and missed about a month. When he did return, he didn’t exactly light the world on fire offensively.
When injuries hit the Avalanche hard, he got another shot, but nothing went his way offensively. He got chances, but couldn’t bury them. Still, the coaching staff was less concerned about points, and more worried about his process, which wasn’t bad.
“They just tell me to keep working on my game,” Meyers told me back in April. “When things come up, they tell me specifically what to work on, and I just do it. It’s not so final (with) the results. It’s just keep focusing on these things and keep getting better.”
Eventually, he found his scoring touch in the AHL, and scored three NHL goals in a late season call-up. The team even threw him into some playoff games, but with limited ice time.
And yet, we sit here near the end of July, and Meyers is the only free agent the Avalanche have left to sign. His qualifying offer was less than his salary last year, but that offer has now expired.
What could be the hold up? Could it be something as simple as his AHL salary if he’s sent down? It’s hardly a concern with so much summer left, but it’s just interesting. Meyers is keeping busy, playing in Da Beauty Hockey League up in Minnesota.
Even with a disappointing rookie year, all hope is not lost, but you are left wondering…what kind of role can he fill?
Looking at his metrics, the numbers in the defensive zone do stand out. His lack of finishing ability drags down his overall numbers, but you like what you see in his own end, for the most part. And the Avalanche controlled most of the shot attempts when he was on the ice.
One area Meyers excelled at is the face-off circle, which is rare for a rookie. He won over 51% of his face-offs, which was better than any other center on the roster. Kind of sad, but that’s one way to stand out as a young player. And his speed is certainly something that fits with how Colorado likes to play.
Still, you can’t help but feel like there’s a little something missing. He’s not a big guy and I wouldn’t call him soft, but seeing as how the Avalanche want to get “a little grittier,” could they prefer a little more size in their bottom six? As we’ve mentioned before, the team could use a penalty killer or two to step up, and Meyers wasn’t really used there at the NHL or AHL level. He did it for Minnesota, but wasn’t given that opportunity at the pro level yet.
Meyers rookie season was a disappointment overall at the NHL level, but there were some flashes that give you hope. If/when he signs a new contract, he’ll likely be in a battle with the likes of Fredrik Olofsson, Ondrej Pavel, Chris Wagner, and others for a role on the fourth line.
As a bottom six player, you usually have to fill a specific role to stick at the NHL level. What is that for Meyers? Can he continue to excel defensively? Does he have enough offense to be more than a fourth line player? Can he kill penalties? Is he a pest? What is it that he can does that can help him stand out from the crowd? I don’t think we have a clear answer for that yet, and that’s what he’s going to have to show when training camp rolls around.
What are your thoughts on Ben Meyers? Comment down below with your thoughts on the young forward.