After a few years on the back end, it’s time for the Florida Panthers to end their relationship with Mark Pysyk.
After sending away Dmitry Kulikov and a second-round pick, they received a solid defenseman in Mark Pysyk and two extra draft picks. While the move may have seemed small at the time, it has worked out for the Cats in the long run.
When Mark Pysyk first arrived in Florida, it appeared that he fit in perfectly on the Panthers’ blue line.
When he played, he was mistake-free and hardly turned over the puck. Despite providing limited offensive production, his defending was solid, which is everything the Panthers had asked the moment he arrived.
After a few seasons, the play of Pysyk didn’t appear to be as sharp as before. In a sense, it was like he wasn’t himself anymore. He wasn’t smoothly moving the puck as he was before, and in turn, he started to become a burden.
As the Cats continued to try and take the next step, it seemed like Pysyk wasn’t helping the team. And, in most cases, it was he who was taking a step in the wrong direction.
While most still question why his play has deteriorated over the past few seasons, nobody really knows how.
But if one suggestion can be made, his jump into the top four is likely why his play started to fall, as Pysyk has traditionally played in a bottom-pair role, which has always better suited his style of play and comfort level.
In addition, on October 18, 2018, something happened to Pysyk that could also be apart of the reason as to why his play has gotten progressively worse.
After this powerful obstruction, Pysyk remained on the ice for the trainers to eventually help him escape the terrible occurrence.
It turned out that he had suffered a concussion, taking him out of the lineup for quite some time. Once he was taken out, the effectiveness of Pysyk changed completely, as his play continued to suffer consistently from that moment on.
Now, the “asset” received from the original trade had turned into a burden. In a time where the Panthers are trying to create some breathing room in cap space to remain flexible, it would be ideal to move Pysyk to another team.
While he may have been an essential piece to the defensive core a few seasons ago, his time in South Florida should come to an end.
If the Panthers want to move Pysyk, they should undoubtedly do it now. Free agency is long gone, and the team is pretty much built for the upcoming season.
As a replacement, the Panthers recently signed former Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Anton Stralman to a three-year deal on July 1st. He is a very similar player to Pysyk, so the Panthers basically found a new player of the same caliber.
Pysyk isn’t too old and still has plenty of gas left in the tank, which means that he holds some value in a potential trade.
The fact that he only has a year left on his contract can only help the Cats move him, as it would be a low-risk move for any club.
Basically, the marriage between the Florida Panthers and Mark Pysyk is slowly coming to a close.
They have already found a very similar replacement in Anton Stralman, and with Pysyk’s play continuing to dip, cashing in on whatever value he holds is better off than retaining him for the entirety of the 2019-20 season.
If they want to head into their separate directions, this offseason is the time to do it. The hope is to get him on another team before the start of the season, preferably before training camp begins.
After spending a lot of time on the blue line in South Florida, it’s time for Mark Pysyk to find a new home.