Fernando Pisani: Gimme Shelter

During the time that Fernando Pisani laced them up for the Edmonton Oilers, he was never the team’s best player. Never their best forward, never their best right-winger. Why then does Fernando Pisani hold such sway over the fanbase? Because he’s a hard-working guy who never bitched or moaned about being quiet mentor to a generation of Oilers kids. Take a kid like Jarret Stoll, who is a fine centerman for the LA Kings at this time. Back in the day Edmonton ran Stoll and Torres out there with #34 and damned if the kids didn’t elevate their games. Fernando Pisani was a coach’s dream: a veteran who could help shelter the young players and instant chemistry for whatever wayward soul the GM dragged in.

We won’t forget you, Fernando, or your heroism spring 2006. You are a man.

  • Boxcars: 40gp, 4-4-8
  • Shots: 54
  • Plus Minus: -16
  • Corsi (Rel): -12.3 (11th among F’s)
  • GF/GA ON: 23-44
  • 5×5/60: 0.89 (12th among F’s)
  • 5×4/60: nil
  • Quality of Competition: 1st-toughest among F’s
  • Quality of Teammates: 14th-least help available among F’s
  • FO %: 18.8% in 16 FO’s
  • Offensive Zone Start FO %: 46.4% (10th easiest among F’s)
  • Cap Hit: $2,500,000 (UFA this summer)
  1. What do these numbers tell us? Pisani once again played in the deep end, toughest minutes with little help. No surprise here, Pisani’s done it before and did it with unproven talent. The difference this time is that the scoring rates were poor. How much you hang on Pisani is an open question, but I think we can agree that any player facing that level of difficulty is going to see his numbers hurt.
  2. How could they be better? They couldn’t, the Oilers had a nightmare scenario: no better help was available and no one aside from Pisani could have handled the heavy lifting on RW. He’d been mentoring kids for a long time and he’d been facing tough minutes forever. Who else are you going to ask to do this job? Pisani played only half the season, but the Oilers got their money’s worth.
  3. But Quinn rolled 4 lines. Well he did for much of the season but Pisani played the tougher opposition, just as he’s done for years. Hemsky’s injury meant that RW was in a state of flux all year long, Pisani being the veteran option.
  4. I think you’re missing the boat here. Pisani’s career is over, his contract is up and there’s not much left in the tank. I don’t know for sure–he might be done due to injury or may need to retire due to health–but this is a player who might be able to help out a real NHL team. He’s unlikely to cost a lot, and maybe he’ll have to go to a TC as an invite, but this is a player whose boxcars do not reflect the season he played for the Edmonton Oilers.
  5. Will the Oilers sign him? They’re changing the guard and don’t have a lot of cap room. I don’t have a lot of confidence in Tambellini or Quinn in terms of nuance and digging deeper. Should Tom Renney become the head coach there’s a chance Pisani gets an offer, but it might not be the best one on the table.
  6. Is he important to the organization? In an historic sense, yes. Fernando Pisani scored one of the biggest goals in the team’s history and left a Smythe trophy on the table because the club didn’t win G7 SCF. He has gone unrecognized (for the most part) despite heroic efforts to get back on the ice during difficult times. He is a man worthy of our respect, and my hope is that Pisani ends his career on his own terms. Whatever they may be.
By The Numbers

  • 07-08 5×5 per 60m: 1.84
  • 08-09 5×5 per 60m: 1.39
  • 09-10 5×5 per 60m: 0.89
By The Numbers

  • 07-08 5×4 per 60m: 1.55
  • 08-09 5×4 per 60m: 1.89
  • 09-10 5×4 per 60m: 0.00

Predictions Past 2009-10: 60gp, 14-14-28 (.467)
Performance in  2009-10: 40gp, 4-4-8 (.200)

Projected Role in 2010-11: Role player on an NHL team (if he wants it and his health allows)

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