Flyers

Why Niskanen closed the door but helped open the next

Flyers

Matt Niskanen celebrated his 34th birthday last Sunday.

Philippe Myers will turn 24 years old in January.

As Niskanen, a Minnesotan through and through, begins to enjoy retirement, Myers is tasked with beginning to help the Flyers replace the all-situation defenseman who had provided the club's young blueliners a championship example in 2019-20.

A restricted free agent this offseason, Myers signed a new three-year, $7.65 million contract on Tuesday. The 6-foot-5, 210-pounder has played only 71 career NHL games, but he's just starting to blossom, has shown impressive growth and is primed for much greater responsibility in 2020-21 after the accomplished Niskanen decided to head off into the sunset.

Niskanen's job duties will be allocated throughout the Flyers' defensive group. Myers is better suited to help replace Niskanen thanks to Niskanen's influence in his one season with the Flyers.

"He's been around, over 900 games, he's won a Stanley Cup," Myers said Thursday in an interview with Scott Laughlin on SiriusXM NHL Network Radio. "He's just so calm back there. Whenever you make a mistake, he's the first guy to pat you on the back and say, 'Hey, stuff's going to happen, you've just to go to respond to it.' He's just that good of a leader, he brought that much to the table for us.

 

"That's aside from his play, he played fantastic for us last year, he was a leader, he brought his work ethic every day in practice and to every game. I've got nothing but good words to say about Matt Niskanen, he's one of the better teammates that I've ever had."

Myers is coming off his first-ever Stanley Cup Playoffs, playing in all 16 of the Flyers' games. Niskanen retired with 140 postseason games on his résumé. Myers is in the early stages of building his career. He's happy he could share in a part of Niskanen's career.

"Hats off to him," Myers said. "If he wanted to retire, that's good for him. He told me that he didn't want to put his family through ... with COVID and everything, he said he didn't want to leave them alone again, so that's good for him."

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