According to several reports, the Blackhawks agreed to a one-year, one-way deal worth $500,000 with seven year NHL veteran Fernando Pisani. Pisani is best known for his magical run through the 2005-2006 playoffs where he was one of the reasons the Edmonton Oilers came within one win of the Stanley Cup.
Pisani potted 14 goals and added 4 assists in 24 playoff games that year after notching 18 goals and 19 assists in 80 regular season games. Unfortunately, his career got side-tracked in 2008 when he suffered a broken ankle and in that off-season was diagnosed with ulcerative colitis. Without going into great details about what the disease is, it severely cut into Pisani’s playing time as he only played in 78 games the past two seasons.
At the worst, Pisani gives the Hawks one of the most fundamentally sound penalty killers in the league. Best case scenario, he has stretches reminiscent of his pre-colitis days where he was a solid two-way player and a legitimate threat for 20 goals.
Either way at $500,000, it’s the type of low-risk/high-reward deal Hawk fans should become familiar with as long as they have over $10 million locked up in their second defensive pair.
He also will serve as competition amongst guys like Kyle Beach, Viktor Stalberg, Jack Skille, and Bryan Bickell as they try to break camp with the big boys in a couple months. The worst thing the Hawks could do is gift-wrap roster spots for a bunch of guys who may or may not deserve it. At least with Pisani there, they will have to earn whatever they get.
Plus, it’s not like he’s going to play in all 82 games this year. So guys who need more seasoning will spend some time in Rockford and when Pisani goes on the shelf at some point -because he will-, they won’t just be thrown to the wolves.
So no, he’s not Bill Guerin, but he’ll do for now.
–With the Pisani signing, the Hawks now have 21 players under contract with just over $1.5 million in cap space. With John Scott capable of playing up front and defense, it’s wholly possible this is the team that breaks training camp. Barring any unforseen hiccups in the pre-season, of course.
It’d also be safe to assume that Stan Bowman isn’t in any hurry to chew up the remainder of that cap space on one guy. The 22nd guy will probably be a Rockford shuffler. So once the Hawks see whatever holes they have in their roster, Bowman will be better suited to fill them via mid-season trades or what not.