A Few Things About Mark Pysyk

The first big star of the modern Edmonton Oil Kings was two-way defender Mark Pysyk. He patrolled the blue for the Oil Kings over parts of five seasons, and helped guide the organization to its first WHL championship in 2012. Could Pysyk be part of the solution for the Edmonton Oilers?

As it turns out, Mark Pysyk has turned into a pretty useful player. The quick fancy stat I use for defensemen across teams is CorsiFor RelTeam 5×5. Although there are all kinds of things it does not include, the idea is to have a really quick look at what a player has been up to over a season.

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This is via Stats.HockeyAnalysis.com, an insanely useful tool. As mentioned above, this isn’t telling us Mark Pysyk is as good as Drew Doughty, but it is saying he had a pretty darn good season compared to other Sabres defenders. Note: Brandon Davidson ranks No. 19 on this list and is the best Oiler blue from last season.


pysyk vollman

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This gives us some context. Pysyk is facing softer opposition (Gorges and Ristolainen are facing the difficult opposition, followed by McCabe-Bogosian). Pysyk was 23 last season and had played less than a full season in the NHL—Buffalo put him in the right spot.

So we know he didn’t face the tough opposition, and we know he didn’t play a lot with the four defenders mentioned above. Who did he play with?


  • Carlo Colaiacovo. 224 minutes together, 54.1 percent possession 5×5.
  • Jake McCabe. 176 minutes, 48.5 percent possession 5×5.
  • Mike Weber. 98 minutes, 60.7 percent possession 5×5.
  • Zach Bogosian. 97 minutes, 48.6 percent possession 5×5.
  • Source

A good guess would be that his minutes with McCabe were farther up the depth chart, playing more difficult opposition.


Mark Pysyk is righthanded, and in hockey that is a big deal. We kind of know that, but the size of big may be bigger than expected (I know, I know, but you get the point).

Domenic Galamini wrote a brilliant article not long ago discussing handedness and the impact on pairings, with the results being basically mindblowing.

The money quote:

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“It turns out that an unsuitably handed
defenseman must have a CorsiRel that is greater than or equal to 6.2
Corsi events / 60 better than a suitably handed alternative in order to
be the better option to pair with a partner-less defenseman on the

Mr. Galamini added a postscript that moved the number to 6.83. A whopping 6.83. Statistically speaking, this is King Kong in your driveway.


The Oilers are decidedly lefthanded. If you have followed the team for the last few years, you know this is a growing and concerning trend. I trust the math people in the organization to know this information that Mr. Galamini talks about above, and therefore suspect the team may be casting about looking for solutions.

Mark Pysyk should not be expected to come in and play top pairing for the Edmonton Oilers in the coming year. However, he would seem to be a solid option for the third pair—say, with Brandon Davidson—and that has importance, too.


Scott Cullen of TSN runs an excellent series on each NHL team called Off-Season Game Plan. It is a beautiful read for each team and also gives us a quick reference for team needs.

  • Needs according to Cullen: One top-six forward, another forward, one top-pair defenceman, backup goaltender

If the Oilers can fill one of those needs at a reasonable asset cost, and grab Pysyk, there is some evidence they would be better off than running a third-pairing of Darnell Nurse with Brandon Davidson. Is it worth the investment? Can you overcome the fact he is a former Oil King, if it means the Oilers will be a better team?

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Tuxedo layout 

There are few certainties in life – we can always count on the sun coming up in the morning, Edmonton winters being dreadful, and the Oilers missing the playoffs. As such, we present the annual OilersNation Draft Party! It’s time to honour the the anniversary of drafting our beloved Connor, celebrate the rewards of another failed season, and raise some money for charity.

Here’s what you need to know…

The party is happening at the Pint Downtown on Friday, June 24th. The goal is to raise as much money as possible for the Red Cross and their efforts to bring normalcy back to Fort McMurray, and have a little bit of fun while we’re at it. For $30 you get a Draft Party t-shirt, a $10 Pint GC, a $10 Oodle Noodle GC, a draft party collectors cup, and a chance for prizes and eternal glory.

All proceeds from tickets sold will be donated directly to the Red Cross so bring your friends, get involved, and help us support a community in need. Tickets are still available here.

One day, the Oilers will be a good hockey team and we’ll all be able to laugh about this. Until then, we party.

    • HardBoiledOil 1.0

      ya but we only picked the Oil Kings that sucked, Moroz, Ewanyk….and passed on the ones that didn’t when they were available to be drafted like Tristin Jarry, RD Dyson Mayo and the like. Pysyk doesn’t suck and i kinda like the idea of a 3rd pairing of Pysyk/Davidson.

  • Admiralmark

    If they also acquire 1RHD then I’m ok with Pysyk. However if they don’t then we all know the M.O. Of the Oilers is they will play Pysyk higher up the batting order then he can handle.

  • Reg Dunlop

    Sounds perfect. Fail, for a 6th straight year, to make meaningful changes to a last place club and deal for an ex-oilking as a distraction. That would leave only Samuelsson as next years ruse, after that, Katz’ house of cards could collapse. 2-for-1 on lorazepam for oil fans, coming to your local Rexall!

  • Explicit

    id have no problem with Pysyk if the cost was low, but the cost won’t be low.

    I’d prefer Gryba on the third pair than another youngster. too high of a cost for a young defender that would just end up playing over his head here. Pass. Use the assets for a better solution

  • Trade for Reinhart? I know Buffalo is right shot heavy the same we are left shot heavy. Probably another prospect or pick going Buffalo’s way. I’d only do it as a backup, cheap plan. But I wonder if Nurse-Davidson or Davidson-Pysyk would be a better bottom pairing? Assuming we’re acquiring 2 other RHD, I don’t think it makes sense to get Pysyk because it would leave Nurse as the odd man out (behind Klefbom, Sekera, Davidson). In contrast, if we didn’t get Pysyk our pairings would be Klef-X Sekera-X, Nurse-Davidson. So when you think of it that way, I’d only trade for Pysyk if a) cheap price b) one of our LHD is traded or lost in the expansion draft because as it stands we have 4 LHD (one can play RHD) and only 1 true RHD.

    There’s still lots of paths and options for Chiarelli to go; I’m excited for the offseason!

  • camdog

    I wouldn’t have a problem with a move for Pysyk the player if the price is right.

    But I do have a problem if that’s the only move the Oilers make on the right side. Nikitin, Ference,Fayne, Reinhart were all cast offs from other NHL teams. And it does sound like Pysyk for whatever reason isn’t wanted in Buffalo. And for that there must be a reason. I haven’t watched him enough to know, but I’m sure I’ll figure it out if I get 10+ of so games to watch him in Edmonton.

  • knee deep in it

    there are legit rumours that Buffalo is trying to move up to 4 and bogosian is the main piece. What if the deal is 4 + cap dump (Korp or Fayne) for Bogo, Pysyk + 8

    Given the dwindling options at RHD, this might be what we end up with.

    • HardBoiledOil 1.0

      if we’re adding Bogosian’s rich contract, then an expensive contract like Fayne would almost have to go back the other way. and i’m OK with swapping 1st round picks with the Sabres.

  • madjam

    Seems with Nashville showing much interest in Yakupov , a trade for S.Weber appears imminent . Stay tuned ON as we are going to land the barracuda of defensemen .

    Now , if we make another minor deal for R.Pulock , just imagine shot blockers trying to get in the way of those howitzers .

  • toprightcorner

    If the stats tell us Pysyk is a quality dman in the making, then BUF also knows that, meaning he won’t come cheap.

    I would much rather add a veteran RHD on the 3rd pair to play with Davidson, you can’t replace experience. Looking at the UFA’s Lovejoy pops out to me, $1.1 last year could probably be had for $1.5. The other possibility is Zidlicky at around $1.2 mill. Give me a solid experienced dman to play with Davidson/Nurse any day over two developing players on the 3rd pair. a move like this invests in the improvement of Davidson and Nurse, something the Oilers have never done much of in the past.

  • toprightcorner

    With the RHD’s dropping like flies and the suprise that ANA signed Vatanen before Lindholm and ANA saying they would like to add a high quality left winger, got me thinking that maybe the Oilers don’t have to only focus on RHD.

    Could a move be out there where you trade Hall for Lindholm and then trade Sekera, Yak and 4th for Harmonic and Ryan Strome, and sign Lucic to replace Hall?

    Maroon – McDavid – Eberle
    Lucic – Draisaitl – Strome
    Pouliot – Nuge – Parenteau
    Hendricks – Letestu – Kassian

    Lindholm – Harmonic
    Klefbom – Fayne
    Davidson – Lovejoy

    That top pairing is no top 10 in the league. easy protect 3 dmen in expansion draft and cap spent is basically the same as last year.

    Adding a #1D on the left makes it much easier to fix the right when you only need to add 1 solid RHD instead of 2.

  • Zamboni Driver


    asinine charts that no one cares about, but Lowetide REALLY LOVES THE GUY. And not just because he played for the Oil Kings*

    *Actually, entirely because he played for the Oil Kings.

  • at least once, buffalo scratched pysyk last season for carlo colaiacovo.

    i’m not sure tim murray is too high on pysyk. this is an NHL player who could actually make the oilers better. make the phone call.

  • D.Sutton9

    Somewhat related to this, and with Vatanen and Barrie now off the market, here’s my ideal off-season:

    – 1st (4th overall) + 2017 2nd rounder for Lindholm + Manson

    – Lindholm + Yak + Reinhart + Fayne to Buffalo for Ristolainen + Pysyk + Bailey + 2nd rounder

    – 2nd rounder from Buffalo for Andrew Shaw

    – Draft Carter Hart with EDM’s second rounder

    Sign Gryba for depth on the right side. Sign Okposo in free agency if there’s cap room.


  • Lofty

    As unpalatable as it would be… Does a trade with the Flames for a D-Man and involving a swap in picks and other assets make sense?

    Both teams were bad enough last season where the thought of dealing with each other should not get in the way of improving rosters.