According to Elliotte Friedman, the Canucks are looking to Florida for an upgrade on the blueline. The team has reportedly kicked tires on right-handed defenceman Mark Pysyk, who is set to become an unrestricted free agent this off-season.
Panthers making lots of calls on Edmonton product right-shot D Mark Pysyk, who's been healthy scratch almost every night on Florida blueline.
— Jim Matheson (@NHLbyMatty) October 14, 2019
Florida’s Mark Pysyk is expected to make his season debut Tuesday against Carolina. The Panthers will try to move the pending UFA. There’s been interest (New Jersey, Vancouver looked at it last summer), but his cap hit ($2.73 million) and cash ($3.5 million this season) make it more difficult with so many clubs tight to the cap.
It seems Pysyk has fallen out of favour after three years of being a steady defender in Florida. He was a healthy scratch for the first two games of the season and finally made his season debut in last night’s loss to the Carolina Hurricanes. He played just 12:29 minutes and was on the ice for two goals against.
Last season, Pysyk played in 70 games and produced just one goal and 11 points. As a defender known more for his work in his own zone, that level of production was right in-line with his 17 and 16 points in 82 games in 2017-18 and 2018-19 respectively. His underlying numbers are what you’d expect from a defensive defenceman, in the negatives for shot share but stronger relative to his teammates in high-quality chances against and goals against.
Pysyk would be a nice addition for pretty much any team’s bottom pairing, but it’s hard to see how this fit makes much sense for the Canucks. Vancouver already has three right-handed defencemen, Tyler Myers, Chris Tanev, and Troy Stetcher, and Pysyk is set to become an unrestricted free agent at the end of the season.
Given their current roster composition and their salary cap situation, if the Canucks were to acquire Pysyk, you would have to assume somebody else would be on the way out. My guess would be Chris Tanev, who is also set to become a UFA at the end of the season, would be the player heading out the other way if the Canucks were bringing in Pysyk.
I can’t imagine a Tanev-for-Pysyk swap would make much sense, but if the Canucks could find a buyer interested in Tanev’s services, they could flip him to that team and buy low on Pysyk as an immediate replacement. That would allow the Canucks to get something of value for an impending UFA, fill his role immediately, save salary cap room in the short-term, and maintain roster flexibility into next season and beyond.
Tanev’s trade value isn’t what it used to be so this certainly wouldn’t be selling him at a high point of value. Still, getting something for him rather than nothing makes sense given that the Canucks aren’t likely to sign an oft-injured, soon-to-be-30-year-old defenceman to a multi-year deal after this season.
None of this is inevitable, but it’ll be something to keep an eye on.