Predators sign UFA defender Mark Borowiecki to two-year, $2M AAV deal
This may be the move David Poile was talking about after the draft.
The Nashville Predators have made their first move of NHL free agency, signing former Ottawa Senators defender Mark Borowiecki to a two-year deal with an AAV of $2M.
Mark Borowiecki (2x2m in Nashville) is a good third-pair defender, kills penalties well, can convert the odd chance. pic.twitter.com/U2W2WqxnAC— Micah Blake McCurdy (@IneffectiveMath) October 9, 2020
Borowiecki is not great either offensively or defensively, but he’s less of a disaster at either end of the ice than departing third-pair Preds defenders like Yannick Weber and Korbinian Holzer. He rode a great shooting percentage (for a defender) this year to a seven-goal season with the Senators, and added eleven assists over the 53 games he played.
In contrast to his 5v5 play, Borowiecki was a solid improvement on the Senators’ penalty kill last season, helping take it from putrid to merely below-average. If he can contribute some of that in Nashville, that will be a definite plus for the Preds, whose penalty kill last season was an adventure at both ends of the ice—and more often than not, it didn’t pay off.
A lot of his 5v5 struggles, meanwhile, may be attributable to his transition play.
Borowiecki is the most extreme player I've tracked from an exit & entry defense standpoint. At least he doesn't turn the puck over? pic.twitter.com/6BWaaPbdbd— Corey Sznajder (@ShutdownLine) October 9, 2020
Mark Borowiecki does not exit the zone with possession. Ever. As a defender, that’s a recipe for trouble—the longer the puck stays in your zone, the harder a time your goalie and fellow skaters have. It also keeps you from creating offense as you start to move the play up the ice. He is, however, solid when it comes to denying opponents free entry into his team’s defensive zone.
The Predators are excited about Borowiecki’s gritty play and locker room presence—I can’t speak to the locker room presence myself, but he does reliably throw around 200 hits a season (hits are what you do when your team does not have the puck) and blocks a fair few shots (ditto).
As for locker room presence, he does have the Julie Turris endorsement (Borowiecki and Kyle Turris were Senators teammates):
Can say with confidence and experience that he is one of the best & most loyal guys out there. You guys got a good one ♥️— Julie (@julieturris) October 9, 2020
This is also great to see, with Predators You Can Play ambassador Turris heading to the Oilers today:
This’ll be overlooked initially, but I’m glad the Preds signed Borowiecki. He’s extremely active when it comes to advocating and supporting those in the LGBTQ+ community, and the Preds could really use a guy like that.— Eric Shuff (@elshuff) October 9, 2020
We’ll have more analysis and reporting on the Preds’ free agency here at On the Forecheck later today and into next week, so stay tuned.
Statistics and background analysis from hockeyviz.com, hockey-reference.com, and Corey Sznajder.