Paul Ysebaert

Paul Ysebaert is the perfect example of how a great supporting player can't always be a go to guy.

Ysebaert was a college star at Bowling Green, where he majored in marketing and promotion while setting records at the rink. Originally drafted by New Jersey, Paul couldn't crack the NHL until three years after college. He lit up the AHL, and was the league's highest scorer and MVP in 1990 before the Devils traded him to Detroit.

He was a decent two way winger with good offensive pop on a deep Detroit squad. A natural center, he was forced to play on the wing with the likes of Steve Yzerman, Sergei Federov and Jimmy Carson at center, Paul was moved to the wing in 1991-92 and responded incredibly. He scored a career high 35 goals, 40 assists and 75 points while also posting a league high +44, earning him the Alka Seltzer Plus Award. He backed that up with another strong year in 1992-93, with 34 goals and 62 points. Despite putting up great numbers, Ysebaert was never considered a go to guy. He never faced the strict defensive coverage that was reserved for teammates like Yzerman, Federov, Dino Ciccarelli or Ray Sheppard.

Ysebaert however found himself traded to Winnipeg in the summer of 1993 and suffered through a horrendous season. Paul couldn't find his groove in Winnipeg where he was expected to be a big part of the Jets offense. However in 60 games he scored 9 goals and 18 assists. By the trading deadline in March of 1994, he found himself traded to Chicago.

Paul, who owned and enjoyed racing thoroughbred horses, stepped up his production a bit in Chicago, but only played there in 26 regular season games with the Hawks before he was sent to the lowly Tampa Lightning.

In Tampa he struggled with a serious and reoccurring groin injury that hampered him for much of the next three seasons.

He managed to stay healthy for the entire 82 game season in 1997-98, and responded well. Ysebaert led his team in scoring with 40 points. But remember back in '91-92 when he posted a league best +44? Well somehow in '97-98 Ysebaert ended up with the worst plus-minus (-43) in the NHL.

Ysebaert played just 10 games in 1998-99 and finished the year in the minor leagues. Following the year he became an unrestricted free agent and headed to Europe.

Paul was a decent player, especially when in a complimentary role. He had explosive speed which made him a good penalty killer and forechecker. He had a quick hard shot which he used well in Detroit, but rushed too often in Tampa Bay. He wasn't much of a physical force, but was a competitive player who would take a hit to make a play any day.


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