Like the vast majority of NHL players, the Buffalo Sabres look up to Tyler Myers, not only because the 21-year-old stands 6-foot-8, but also because he's clearly their best defenseman.

Flyers followers wringing their hands over the injury status of Chris Pronger as Thursday's Game 1 of a first-round Stanley Cup playoff series against the Sabres approaches can take comfort: Even without Pronger, the Flyers' corps of defensemen is significantly stronger than Buffalo's.

Yet, Myers figures to pose problems - at both ends of the ice. In his second season with the Sabres, the Texas-born, Calgary-raised 2008 first-round draft choice (No. 12 overall) has the wingspan of a condor and plays the angles like a veteran. He doesn't have Pronger's mean streak or ability to control the tempo of a game, and he doesn't hit like Boston's 6-9 Zdeno Chara, but Myers is considered a rising star.

"He has good offensive instincts, and he should be a premier defenseman for a long time," said Keith Jones, game analyst for Flyers telecasts and a studio analyst for Versus.

Nicknamed "The Big Easy," Myers emerged as the Sabres' top blue-liner when he won the Calder Trophy as the league's top rookie. His first season he had 11 goals, plus a game-winner during a shootout, and 37 assists. In a regulation game against Ottawa that season, he was on the ice for 28 minutes, 32 seconds, and he averaged 22:27 this season, when he had 10 goals and 27 assists.

"He was a little inconsistent this year, but that's not unusual for a sophomore," Jones said.