WWYDW: Mark Fayne, yea or nay?


Mark Fayne is under contract for two seasons after this one at a cap hit of $3.625 million. This week’s edition of What Would You Do Wednesday asks our readers whether the Edmonton Oilers should try and trade the player away this summer rather than bringing him back for the third season of his four-year pact.

What, exactly, does Mark Fayne bring?

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That’s the question I generally get when I bring Fayne’s name up. He is, after all, not a puck-moving defenceman; his greatest successes in the NHL have come when he’s had a partner who he can defer to almost without exception in that regard. Nor is he a crash-and-bang blueliner. Despite excellent size he doesn’t light opponents up the way someone like Eric Gryba does.

Fayne is the least sexy player-type in hockey: the pure defensive defenceman. He can be trusted in any situation and against anyone and plays some of the toughest minutes in the game; despite this he keeps the bleeding to a minimum.

Consider quality of competition. War-on-Ice tracks two different metrics, one based on the ice-time of opponents and one based on their shot metrics. If we limit ourselves to defenceman with at least 300 minutes at even-strength this season (219, or roughly seven per team, have played that much) we can measure how tough Fayne’s minutes are compared to the rest of the league.

  • Quality of Competition (ice-time): 58th out of 219 (No. 2 defenceman)
  • Quality of Competition (Corsi): 10th out of 219 (No. 1 defenceman)

I tend to think that ice-time is a better indicator of opposition quality, but even by that metric Fayne has played top-pairing opponents this year. He’s also done it while starting a high percentage of his shifts in the defensive zone. Let’s look at where he ranks by zone-start percentage, again using War-on-Ice, and again among defencemen playing 300-plus minutes:

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  • Zone-Start percentage: 25th out of 219 (No. 1 defenceman)

Any consideration of Fayne’s performance divorced from the brutal minutes he played is inherently faulty. It’s hard to look like a good defencemen when starting in the defensive zone against good players; it’s hard to look like a good anything under those circumstances.


And yet, Fayne’s performance really isn’t so bad. He’s on the ice for 12 high-danger chances against per hour, the lowest of any right-shooting regular on Edmonton’s blue line. Eric Gryba, who plays much softer minutes, is on the ice for 13 against per hour; with Darnell Nurse out there the number increases to 14 chances against per hour.

Shot metrics say much the same thing. Fayne’s Fenwick rating (unblocked shots for vs. against when a player is on the ice) is better than the team average despite the minutes he plays, and he’s one for fewer shots/missed shots against per hour than anyone other than Oscar Klefbom and Brandon Davidson.

Plus/minus is, as always, a garbage statistic but for those who care he’s also a modest minus-9, on this team and in those minutes.

Peter Chiarelli4

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The choice facing Peter Chiarelli this summer, and our readers right now, is whether that’s enough. Fayne’s a right-shot defenceman with a significant cap hit, and trading him means both adding another right-shooting defenceman to the shopping list and finding a team willing to take on his contract, something which will probably involve taking money back.

My views on the matter are probably pretty obvious, but here we’re looking for the views of our readers: should Fayne stay or should Fayne go?


  • Sean17

    Why get rid of him when you are just going to try and find him again? The money doesn’t matter now. Expensive 4-5 option, great deadline asset for next year

    • Oilerchild77

      Yeah. I agree. Is his contract good? No. MacT couldn’t negotiate a good contract to save his life. That being said, Mark Fayne is a decent dman. At least, he’s as good as anyone they’re likely to find in free agency. Besides, they will have a tough time moving that contract anyway, so I say eat the salary and keep the much needed asset.

  • knee deep in it

    if Klefbom and fayne can be an effective 2nd pairing / pk tandem , then we can fit him in. It requires a true number one with sekera and that might not be easy to find.

    If we end up with harmonic, then we still lack a puck moving tandem. We are pretty much forced to land a shattenkirk or Faulk.

  • Oliveoiler

    Yay: he goes about his game in a quiet unassuming way, does what is expected of him and doesn’t seem to want to bask in the ‘glory.’ Unless we can get 2 top pairing RD I say yay to keeping him. He’s not the pin-up of the Oilers, but he plays bloody well considering the D we have to support him.

  • Admiralmark

    You gotta keep him. Chiarelli should have a shopping list with 2 x RHD on it already. And frankly 1 year with a relatively healthy d Core plus an addition of 2 top 4 RHD would put Fayne in a better position to succeed more in his role. This would then raise his value and make him a more attractive player to other teams OR the Oilers at that point might see him as a player worth keeping.

    Incidentally upgrading the D core with 1 RHD capable of playing in the 1st pair role + the addition of a 2nd RHD that’s more of an offensive specialist. Will also raise the value of ALL the Oilers. It would sure be nice of management could finally figure out that creating a balanced lineup should be step 1 as it will then increase the value of all players.

  • Ty Guy

    NAY….i can’t help but notice every time a puck skips over the blue line in the offensive zone…Fayne. Maybe not entirely his fault but, the slapper from the side boards for a break out 94% of the time..Fayne. Puck lost in the feet and stripped……FAYNE!!! Being right handed isn’t enough of an incentive for me

  • Wintoon

    He is a RHD asset. We don’t have many of those in our entire system. I would love to see the Oilers keep him, particularly if they can play him on the third pairing. That would indicate that we have been able to upgrade our overall d quality and balance.

  • O.C.

    Wait, the Oil aren’t re-upping Nikita Nikitin? Did they get rid of MacT or someth…

    Keep Fayne. As someone already said, otherwise you are hoping to find the exact player anyway.

    It’s not his fault the team is missing slots 2 to 4.

  • Jaxon

    Keep Fayne. Add Demers this summer and Burns next summer. When Fayne is off the books in 2018 and Sekera gets traded after his NMC becomes a 15 team list in summer of 2019 the Oilers will have a much needed $9M freed up cap space. By then 2 of Paigin, Nurse and Reinhart should be able to join Klefbom on the left side. And, if they’re smart, they will have traded for a few right-handed D to compete to move into Fayne’s spot, like Madison Bowey, Michael Paliotta, Brandon Montour, Mark Pysyk, Alex Petrovic or Matthew Spencer. Big young right-handers with some decent offensive prowess.

    Klefbom / Demers,
    Sekera / Fayne,
    Davidson / Gryba,
    Nurse / Bowey,
    Reinhart / Paliotta.

    Klefbom / Burns,
    Sekera / Demers,
    Nurse / Fayne,
    Reinhart / Pysyk,
    Paigin / Paliotta,
    LaLeggia / Bowey.

    Klefbom / Burns,
    Sekera / Demers,
    Nurse / Bowey,
    Reinhart / Pysyk,
    Paigin / Paliotta,

    Klefbom / Burns,
    Paigin / Demers,
    Nurse / Bowey,
    Reinhart / Pysyk,
    LaLeggia / Paliotta.

  • OilCan2

    Find good players. Keep good players. If Klefbom, Nurse, Reinhart & Davidson pass him next season then someone with playoff hopes will need a solid defense first defenseman; maybe even the Oilers.

  • Bubba Train

    Interesting response. So if his numbers are good and he passes the eye test, why does TMac not favor him? Trip to the minors, way less ice time than many other d…….etc.

    Honest question.

  • I like Fayne as a safe partner for a young rookie to break in with. He has value in that regard, despite the high price-tag. He could also be useful as a dependable 5 on a contender, and Chia shouldn’t hesitate to move him if there’s a deal to be made that makes the Oilers better.

    Something like this, perhaps?

    To NYI:

    Fayne (2 x $3.625M), Yakupov (1 x $2.5M), one of Musil or Simpson, and this year’s second rounder

    To EDM:

    Hamonic (4 x 3.86M) and Grabovski ($1M ret. on 2 x $5M)

    The Islanders save money and add potential offensive help in Yak while divesting themselves of Grabovski’s contract. The Oilers get a top RHD and a solid (if expensive) top nine centre.

    • Finnish Oiler fan in Edmonton89

      Too good of a deal for Edmonton

      Islanders probably want Nurse for Hamonic

      and I say we do it.

      Nurse is probably the most over rated player on the team

  • The Whispererer

    There may be another reason to keep Fayne. The expansion draft rules may include a requirement to expose players composing 25% of the team’s CAP. Fayne’s $3.625 million would make up a good chunk of that and would not be a huge loss if he got picked.

  • madjam

    Fayne cleared waivers earlier in the season , as all 29 teams passed up on him when he was on waivers . His salary is a problem in tying to move him . Should be rather easy replacing him with a cheaper contract to boot . Can we actually trade him , or might they be looking at a buyout ?

  • BabyNugeMonitor

    Need Fayne plus two more RH reliable veterans to stabilize the defense corps. EDM has only two legit NHL level defenders that are healthy (Klefbom & Davidson would qualify if not in the infirmary). That’s the recipe for 30th out of 30 teams.

    Let the kids, including Nurse and Reinhart, cut their teeth in the AHL until they meritoriously earn the ice time and force a veteran out of a job.

    Clendening is not an NHL caliber defenseman at this time; move on from here.

    Gryba is a good 6/7 option as RH depth insurance.

    Trade one/four of the 15 LH defenders that are prospects. Keep established players who pull their own weight.

  • The Goalie 1976

    I’m indifferent on him.

    I don’t like the idea of him playing with Sekera in the top 4 again next year. PC needs to add 2 RHD for the top 2 lines next year or this team will not make the playoffs.

    Sekera and Klefbom on the left side both need top end new partners. That leaves Fayne on the 3rd pair with Davidson. I’m fine with that.

    If he’s part of a trade package that brings in somebody better, then great. I’m not interested in moving him just for the sake of it and retaining money.

  • Jimmer

    Mark Fayne is a 5-6 D-man on a decent team. Next year Nurse and Davidson should be your 5-6 pairing. Thus, there is no room for Fayne at 3.6M/year for the next two years as your #7 defenseman. I would keep that spot available for Gryba who is a right shot d-man that brings toughness that can be brought into the lineup when needed. Also, he will be cheaper than Fayne once signed.

    Another way to look at it is would you want Fayne at 3.6M for the next two years or would you want Nurse (1.6M incl. bonuses) plus Davidson (1.4M) combined for 600K less?

    • ziyan94

      You’re assuming Nurse will stay up and that Davidson will continue to rapidly develop. It’s a decent possibility that Nurse starts in the AHL again

      Klefbom Hamonic/stud D-man

      Sekera Fayne

      Davidson Reinhart


      If we have the cap space for Fayne, why not keep him? He’s one of the few D-men who we don’t need to worry about when he’s on the ice.

  • Mike Modano's Dog

    I can’t believe I’m saying this but I guess keep him…until after the the expansion draft at least! His salary helps that, and we will inevitably get injuries too, so we need to plan for that. Also his being here pushes the kids down, UNTIL they push him out of a job.

    I believe it is better for us in the long run.

    Now next year, after acquiring two righties that can play higher up the lineup, and after exposing 25% of our salary for the rare expansion draft – this will be a much different discussion. Then again, with a better slot – if Chiarelli does his job, and great partners to play with, maybe he looks really steady.

    So it makes all kinds of logical sense to have this kind of a veteran here. The only problem I have with it is he is too slow, and seems to get beaten too often to my eyes – but maybe I just have it in for the guy. My solution, in a perfect case scenario is the Oilers get those 2 top righties, and then trade for a different Mark Fayne type who is just a little faster, and nastier to play against. For a lower cap number… Oh well, there’s always next year to do that. I’m in no hurry to remove him even if he’s not my favourite player type.

    But the one thing I’ve learned watching this entire rebuild is the value of veterans – less sexy players to round out our young stars. Without them we’re doomed.

  • @Hallsy4

    Not a huge fancy stats guy. There can be a Stat for everything and the only one that really matters is wins/losses. I don’t watch Fayne closely enough (don’t notice him which may be a good thing), but most of the Oil D now I don’t mind once jultz is gone (Glen can leave too), but as a group they just aren’t as good as other teams. At some point we need upgrades, which will either be trades, or waiting for Nurse, Klef, Davidson, Oesterle ect to develop, and I am tired of waiting, I’m tired of waiting.

  • RJ

    If you look at the defensive group as a whole, they lack any elite puck-movers. So if you’re not going to move a LHD (Klefbom, Sekera, Davidson, Nurse) then your 1RHD and 2RHD need to be able to move the puck. That leaves Fayne as a 3RHD, which is probably a decent enough place for him, except his cap hit is way too high to play 3RHD.

    It would take a major re-org of the defence to make sure Fayne fits and the defensive corps is balanced, and I’m not convinced he’s worth all of that trouble.

    I read a lot of commentaries that PC couldn’t fix this team in one summer. He has a ton of work to do on the blueline, and Fayne probably should be a casualty.

  • @Hallsy4

    On Tuesdays, when fayne eats a ham sandwich 4.5 hours before the game, and plays between 15 and 17 minutes, with a D partner who puts his left skate on first, when there is 2 players using white stick tape on the ice, his Fenwick is in the upper left quadrant of D in the league, when compared to defenseman also from the United states, or any country that starts with an S. Just get winners who win games, if sexy boy is one of them keep him, of not I want as many trades possible this summer #TheMall