25-Year-Old Defenseman – Florida Panthers
Mark Pysyk Contract Information:
Signed a three-year contract with the Panthers in July of 2017.
Pysyk (undisclosed) warmed up with the Panthers while Alex Petrovic was a healthy scratch, meaning he'll play Saturday against the Blackhawks, Matthew DeFranks of the South Florida Sun Sentinel reports.
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RotoWire's Preseason Outlooks
Pysyk was part of Florida’s offseason defensive overhaul, coming over in a trade with the Sabres during the draft. The 2010 first-rounder will have to beat out prospect Mike Matheson for a top-four role on the Panthers’ blue line, but Pysyk’s lack of offensive upside (perhaps best reflected by his career high in points at the AHL level, 18) suggests the 24-year-old’s ceiling will be limited even if he is successfully able to do so. Last season's 11 points in 55 games represented a new career best, but he’ll have a good chance to top that mark playing for a much more put-together Florida club.
Pysyk was one of AHL Rochester's best two-way defensemen last season, finishing with 17 points in 54 games and three points in seven games with the Sabres after getting called up. His season was cut short, however, after he collapsed during a pickup basketball game, though he should be ready for the start of the season and is slated to play on either the second or third pairing. He's a good skater with some offensive upside, but doesn't take enough risks to put up high point totals.
One of Buffalo’s most smooth-skating defensemen, the former WHL star is still trying to acclimate himself in the pros. Despite starting with the Sabres last year, Pysyk ended up splitting the season between the NHL and AHL. In 31 games with Rochester, Pysyk scored 12 points, showing that he is ready for a full-time NHL job. The 22-year-old defenseman has packed on more weight and added more experience over the past two seasons in the pros. Though smaller in stature compared to his peers, Pysyk should play a significant role in the Sabres’ puck transition. In 63 career NHL games, Pysyk has 12 points. Both totals could be surpassed if he plays a full season.
Pysyk took advantage of a banged-up Sabres blue line to make his NHL debut last season, suiting up for 19 games and recording five points. The former first-round pick likely has the inside track on breaking camp with the Sabres, but don't get too excited by his draft pedigree; he wasn't drafted for his offensive abilities..
Pysyk had a banner season with the Edmonton Oil Kings of the WHL, notching 38 points in 57 games while captaining his team to a league championship and earning a trip to the Memorial Cup. He is the Sabres' top prospect on the back end and will begin his first season of professional hockey this coming fall. He's going to need some seasoning at the AHL level, but the Sabres are hoping for big things from the Edmonton native.
The highly-regarded Pysyk will will be staying with the Edmonton Oil Kings of thw WHL for one more season despite signing an entry-level deal with the Sabres over the summer. He had a breakout 2010-11 with the Oil Kings, and with a deep defensive corps slated for Rochester, Pysyk will definitely benefit from being the go-to guy for the O-Kings.
Buffalo's 2010 first round pick, the 23rd overall, is a two-way defender in a system that is pretty well-stocked on the blue line. He'll work his craft in the WHL in 2010-11, and an impressive season could possibly make him a factor for the 2011-21 Sabres.