Stay or Go: Taylor Pyatt

{Jared Wickerham/Getty Images North America}
{Jared Wickerham/Getty Images North America}

Usually when we do our stay or go posts, we look at pending UFAs to see if the Rangers should spend the money to keep these players around. Last week Suit wrote a stay or go for Brian Boyle, as Boyle is the subject of a lot of discussion, and I’m going to piggy-back on this. Many know that I’m a Boyle supporter,and with AV –and his significantly less aggressive systems– in, his skating issues won’t be easily exploited as much. His defensive play makes him an almost indispensable part of the fourth line. This of course brings us to Taylor Pyatt.

Signed to be a replacement for Ruslan Fedotenko, Pyatt immediately showed that he has tremendous hockey IQ. He simply knows the game and knows where to be. The problems with Pyatt were his inability to score consistently –eight of his eleven points came in two different stretches of three and five game point streaks– and his foot speed, which was exploited time and time again.

Scoring for Pyatt has always been a relatively difficult task, as he’s only breached the 20-point barrier twice in the past five years, so his 11 points in 48 games is actually on pace with his career average. Ditto for his shot percentage (10.7% this year, compared to 10.9% over his career).

Pyatt’s usage was a happy medium between two-way and sheltered minutes, per his player usage chart. Given the bubble layout on the chart, it’s safe to say that Pyatt was actually given the most sheltered minutes of anyone not nailed to the fourth line on a regular basis. With those minutes, Pyatt would at least be expected to match his metrics from the 2011-2012 season (.140 Corsi Rel QoC, -9.3 RCorsi, 41.2% OZone starts). The problem is: His numbers this year don’t really add up.

For more on the metrics we use, click here.

Sure, Pyatt’s RCorsi was marginally better this year at -8.7, but considering the Rangers were a top-ten team in puck possession this year, that’s not unexpected. But when you compare that with his -.061 Corsi Rel QoC and 53.0% OZone starts, his marginally increased RCorsi seems less impressive. Throw in the foot speed, and this all of a sudden becomes a problem.

What you see is what you get with Pyatt: A decent bottom-six player who can eat minutes in an unimpressive fashion. He will chip in to the tune of 20 points a season, but he won’t be consistent enough offensively to warrant a spot off the bottom-six, perhaps even the fourth line. Is that enough to earn his $1.55 million salary?

In a Torts system, I’d say look to see what the Rangers could get for him. However in a Vigneault 1-2-2 system, Pyatt may be significantly more useful. After all, he wasn’t bad in Phoenix with Dave Tippet’s 1-2-2, and his two best offensive seasons came under Vigneault when they were in Vancouver together from 2006-2008, including his only 20-goal season. Perhaps Pyatt is just better suited for a trapping team. Or perhaps the 31-year old is continuing his decline over the past three seasons.

The Rangers have a glut of bottom-six guys, with more on the way in the form of J.T. Miller and Oscar Lindberg. An addition of a top-six winger moves Carl Hagelin to the third line where he belongs, and all of a sudden you have a logjam and a tough decision to make. It looks like this is coming down to Pyatt or Boyle, not both. Personally, I’d keep Boyle and see what they can get for Pyatt. Boyle adds more defensively, with face offs, and with versatility (he played the wing a bit this year, Pyatt can’t play center). Regardless, one of them won’t be in New York next season.

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  • This was such a “messed-uped” season for everyone except Stephan, that I would like to see what Boyle brings to the table in September.

    • It’s Stepan. He’s American not French Canadian. Too many jerseys out there now for people to get it wrong.

    • I liked Pyatt. He tailed off as the season went allong but he’s great along the boards in that overload in the Dzone. Might be a cheaper option as a 4th liner tho!

  • Boyle stays, does a very good job on the PK, can play wing, and is even more physical than I’ve seen Pyatt play, not say much there!

    Pyatt reminds me of a semi trying to get on the interstate, takes forever to get to top speed. Sorry, I never have been a fan of Pyatt, and would dump him in a heart beat! Anybody have a bag of pucks for the guy??

    • No way, Boyle sucked on the PK. Every time he goes down to block a shot he stays down and the other team goes firing the puck at the goalie. He literally cost Rangers at least 3 or 4 games not including that 1 playoff game. Only Ranger fans think this clown is worth something, this year he won’t have daddy Torts to get ice time. Your on something special if you think a powerhouse team like Bruins or Chicago would want Brian Boyle. The 6’7 man who can’t hit as hard as Cally or Zuccarello lol.

  • Pyatt was a mix between invisible/below mediocre during the regular season. He picked his game up nicely in the playoffs though, and at times was more effective than the majority of our forwards.

    Last summer after we got him off free agency, I read more than one Phoenix fan write something to the tune of, “Rangers fans are excited to have him because of how well he played in the playoffs, but get used to a slow/ forgettable regular season player…”
    ^Remember he had a run with Phoenix to the WCF last year where he played well till the Yotes fell to the Kings.

    After one (lockout shortened) season, it’s safe to say I fully agree with that fan sentiment. In a vacuum, he is worth carrying through the regular season, considering how well he can play playoff hockey- when the ice gets smaller. But not at the expense of taking up a roster spot and stunting the growth of one of our youngsters.

    To that effect, I’d prefer Pyatt goes, we get a draft pick or roster player of a different position (depth D, perhaps) and let Thomas, Miller, Lindberg, etc compete for Pyatt’s spot. Then, if none of those guys are up to snuff come playoff time, seek a deadline rental (i.e. Raffi Torres) to slot in for the playoffs.

    • Hatrick, you make a great point in bringing up his play in the playoffs with PHX because I, too, was fooled into thinking he was a solid acquisition after watching some of those games.

      Pyatt stepped his game up in these playoffs once again, and did a lot of the little things right, but he still was no difference maker – he just exceeded the fanbase’s low expectations. He is a big, slow power forward with mediocre skills and pretty nonexistent physical play. How about we try and get a power forward who actually lays the body?

  • Let’s remember Pyatt will be 32 next year – he may decline. Most teams wouldn’t give the Rangers a seventh rounder for him I think. Interesting if his salary makes him very hard to move.

  • Sign UFA 24 year old, 6-2, 205 lb & former Canuck/Ranger Dale Weise for $650K.

    Google search Vancouver Sun 2/11/13 for Dale Weise and find out RW, right handed $650K UFA Dale Weise was the fastest skater on the Canucks this last season.

    Weise is an improving player,good defensively, very good body checker, terrible fighter (like Dorsett), and had 7 fights last season, only 4 minors. Compare that with 26 yr old Dorsett’s 5 fights,14 minor penalties, and $1.5 mil salary.

    Put Weise at RW, Hagelin at LW, trade for Andrew Cogliano and you will have the fastest, best forchecking line in the NHL

  • He HAS to go! A big, slow, plodding 4th line player. There were nights you never even knew he was in the lineup. Has to be better options out there!

  • In Torts world, Pyatt was a bottom 6 forward getting minutes with the top line, until the coach couldn’t even justify it. In fact, you wonder if Torts would want 12 Pyatts playing for him. I would rather see Newbury or Haley on the fourth line than Pyatt.

  • Go, and we’ll be lucky to get ANYTHING for him.

    He’s not atrociously bad, but he doesn’t bring anything to the table.

    Would rather given energetic prospect a chance.

  • IQ aside he just does not come away with the puck in the corners enough, especially for someone his size. Not physical enough either. He did play a bit better in the playoffs.

  • I would really like to see Pyatt play under AV again, and see how it goes, but in reality Boyle is a bigger asset and seems to want to improve, whereas Pyatt seems to be on the decline…
    Plus, on a non-skill-related note, Boyle seems to be playing with an actual desire to win, while Pyatt seems to just be going through the motions to get his paycheck.
    (In my opinion, at least. I obviously don’t know their personalities which could be a big factor in what I’m mentioning.)

  • He’s got to go, if we can sign Bickell from the Hawks instead what an upgrade, there will be a few guys out htere that will be FA that will be priced right we got exposed against the bruins we have to get better with our bottom 6, I think the kids will help a lot

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