Earlier today, it was reported that the Panthers are willing to deal defenseman Bogdan Kiselevich. It turns out that he’s not the only rearguard that can be had. In his latest 31 Thoughts column, Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman reports that Florida is also open to trading blueliner Mark Pysyk.
This has not been a particularly strong season for the 27-year-old. He suffered an upper-body injury less than two weeks into the year and then sat for several games after receiving medical clearance to return. When Pysyk has played, he hasn’t had a significant impact – he’s logging just 17:43 per night of ice time, his lowest since joining Florida in 2016-17.
It wasn’t that long ago that Pysyk was viewed as a key part of the Panthers’ back end for the long haul, so much so that they opted to leave winger Jon Marchessault unprotected over him in the Vegas Expansion Draft. Suffice it to say, they’d likely a mulligan on that one. Which Marchessault has gone on to be one of the Golden Knights’ top offensive players, Pysyk has settled into more of a depth defender role.
As a right-shot defender, Pysyk should attract some interest as finding regular players on that side can be difficult at times. However, his contract will be an issue for some teams. He’s in the second season of a three-year, $8.2MM deal and an AAV of $2.73MM may be too high for someone that is likely to be a third pairing player elsewhere. On top of that, the contract is backloaded and he is owed $3.5MM in salary for 2019-20.
With Florida currently sitting 14 points out of a playoff spot, it appears they’re likely to be sellers before the February 25th trade deadline. With Kiselevich and now Pysyk available, it appears they’ll be looking to make some tweaks to their back end between now and then.