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2015-16 Buffalo Sabres Grades: Mark Pysyk

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The Buffalo Sabres 2015-16 season featured plenty of new faces that helped the team finally dig their way out of the league basement. We're grading everybody who played at least 20 games for the Sabres this year, from Bogosian to Ullmark.

Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

Age: 24

Contract: $1.125 million, under contract through 2016-17 then RFA

Introduction: Mark Pysyk has been in the Sabres system for what seems like forever (he was drafted in the first round in 2010) but over the past three seasons, he cracked the 100 NHL games plateau and with a consistent season in 2015, has earned a spot among the Sabres top-six.

Key Stat: Pysyk has long been lauded as a good Corsi player, and he certainly proved it this season, leading all Sabres players with a 51.54 SAT% in his 55 games.

Thumbs Up: Aside from his strong possession stats, Pysyk was second only to Jake McCabe in +/- this season, and both his 11 points and 55 games played set new career highs. He's a smooth skater and makes nice, accurate outlet passes, which is so refreshing after watching the last five years of Sabres defensemen rifle passes into their forwards' skates. Finished strong after a very slow start to the season and an injury in November.

Thumbs Down: Many people have assumed that Pysyk would grow into an important role on the Sabres young blue line, but he actually finished 7th on the team in Time on Ice, behind Mike Weber and Cody Franson, and was rarely used in a first or second line capacity. He was also rarely used in special teams situations on either side, and finished last among all defensemen in hits and blocked shots. Also had the worst giveaway-to-takeaway on the team once Weber was traded.

Memorable Moment: Pysyk's only goal of the season came on March 7th against Toronto, and if you're wondering about the title of this video, it's from a Leafs fan.

Voting: Using the good old grade school system of A, B, C, D, F, with A representing a great season (for the Sabres) C an average season, and F a very poor season, grade Mark Pysyk on his performance this year.