Tankers should consider Sabers Pysyk as a low cost defense upgrade


The Edmonton Oilers are seeing a resurgence and renewed confidence under new head coach Jay Woodcroft. With the trade deadline approaching, they will still need to retool to make a solid push for the playoffs. It seems general manager Ken Holland is on the constant search for a new goalie, but they will benefit from the addition of a veteran defender. TSN Hockey Insider Darren Dreger reported that the Oilers were looking to add another right-handed defenseman.

Earlier in the season, rumors swirled that the Oilers would kick Arizona Coyotes defenseman Jacob Chychrun. He would certainly be a big addition that can change the landscape of the blue line, but no doubt there will be a bidding war for his services. If the Oilers are saving assets for a goaltender but want to add stability at fullback, they should consider trading for former Edmonton Oil King and local Sabers product Mark Pysyk. Buffalo.

Pysyk has ties to Edmonton

At age 15, Pysyk became the current Oil Kings’ first-ever draft pick, playing out his junior days in his hometown for five seasons. He recorded 125 points in 243 games and was the first major star the club produced since their incarnation. In 2012, he helped guide Edmonton to its first Western Hockey League (WHL) championship. His outstanding junior career led him to be selected 23rd globally in the 2010 NHL Draft by the Buffalo Sabres.

Mark Pysyk, Buffalo Sabers (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

Although he was scouted for his two-way play, during his career the defender established himself as a home defender, often patrolling the third pair. He most recently played in his 500and NHL game, and during that span he had 27 goals and 76 assists.

What can Pysyk bring to the Oilers?

There were reports that representatives of the Oilers were present during the game between the Sabers and the Toronto Maple Leafs last Wednesday. While there were no reports on which player(s) they were looking for, let’s take a look at what the Sabers defender can offer. Pysyk is a right-handed shooter, who always seems to miss. He is a smooth skater and has good defensive awareness and hockey IQ. He has a solid, but not great, first pass and can skate the puck out of harm’s way. At the same time, he is versatile, playing both defense and offense when playing for the Florida Panthers. Since Woodcroft took over as coach with the Oilers, he has coached 11 forwards and seven defensemen. Pysyk would be able to replace the striker on the fly if the team needed a fresh mid-game look.

#Sabers had 16 blocked shots in this game, 6 by Pysyk. #Leafs had 63 shot attempts but only 30 on goal (17 misses, 16 blocked). BUF kept things a secret. Marner and Nylander only had one shot on goal each.

He signed a one year contract with the Sabers this offseason worth $900,000 AAV. He has two goals and nine assists in 54 games and averages 18:36 of ice time. His stats don’t scream “game changer,” but he’s only 3-under on the season; which is good, considering the Sabers have a -48 goal differential. He’s not overly physical and has no problem staying out of the penalty area, registering just 14 penalty minutes. Plus, he’s not afraid to sacrifice his body with 81 blocks this season, including six in the last game against the Maple Leafs. He would rank second on the Oilers in blocked shots.

Pysyk would be a low cost solution for defense

If the Oilers can’t chase the big game on defense, Pysyk would be an inexpensive solution. Compared to bigger rumored names like Chychrun and Ben Chiarot, Pysyk shouldn’t cost much to acquire. If the Oilers can offload Colton Sceviour’s contract to free up some space, a third- or fourth-round draft pick should do the trick.

Currently on the right side of their blue line, the Oilers have Cody Ceci, who has been a steady defenseman all season. They also have Evan Bouchard and Tyson Barrie, who both play a similar game. They are both offensive-minded defenders, who sometimes have gaps in the defensive side of the game. Heading into a playoff battle with these two can be suspect and Pysyk will add more defensive stability if these two players find it difficult to defend themselves.

Related: Oilers show interest in trade with Canadiens, Jets

Pysyk isn’t a household name, but he’s a cheaper alternative to play third pair and can act as second pair if needed. Could Pysyk be a solution this season on the blue line for the Oilers?

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