June 14 2010 05:27PM
I'd like to know if Fernando Pisani is in the plans where the Edmonton Oilers are concerned, but it sounds to me like the people making the decisions -- and this will surprise no one -- haven't figured that out yet.
With July 1 looming for Pisani to become an unrestricted free agent, the Oilers, as in GM Steve Tambellini, are sitting on the fence when it comes to the 33-year-old right winger.
My information is the Oilers have talked to agent Mark Witken, but haven't committed to re-signing Pisani, even at a cut-rate from the $2.5 million he made last season.
Fair enough, given the health and injury problems that have stalled Pisani since he cashed in with a new contract after the 2006 Stanley Cup run, but at the same time, they've turned down a request by Whitken to talk to other teams before July 1.
If Pisani isn't in the plans (assuming the Oilers have one) here, why not let him talk to other teams right now and see if he can get a contract? If he is in the plans -- and, at the right price, I think he should be -- why not let him know?
Indecision. That's not like Tambellini...
CAN'T ALL BE KIDS
Despite a recurring bout of colitis and injuries that have limited Pisani to seasons of 77, 56, 38 and 40 games since 2006, and the rebuilding job the Oilers are undertaking, I see room for Pisani on the right side.
Forget the dollars Kevin Lowe threw at Pisani after his 14 goals and 18 points during the 2006 post-season -- you and I would have signed that contract in a second, too.
If Pisani is healthy, and if he's willing to take a $1-million haircut and play for $1.5 million or less, he's the kind of player who'd fit in well with that promises to be a baby-faced group of forwards.
Pisani has never been -- and never was going to be -- the scorer Lowe thought he might become when he offered $10 million for four seasons, but he's the kind of responsible, time-tested veteran who could caddie for the kids as no worse than a third-liner.
Pisani is respected and well-liked in the dressing room. He isn't aching to get out of town like Sheldon Souray and Ethan Moreau are. He isn't an odd duck like Patrick O'Sullivan or a frustratingly inconsistent player like talented but indifferent Robert Nilsson, both of whom are candidates for buy-outs, starting tomorrow.
PICK UP THE PHONE
Pisani provides more value than you'd think just looking at his boxcars, and he's the kind of player who kids like Tyler Seguin, Magnus Paajarvi-Svensson and Jordan Eberle could learn a thing or two from.
If the Oilers don't make a call on Pisani and he decides to look around as an UFA after July 1, there's a pretty good chance somebody will snap him up, if the dollars are right.
I'm not saying that having Pisani walk would be a huge blow to the long-term fortunes of the Oilers, because that would be overstating matters, but I can tell you from watching Pisani first hand over the years, he's the kind of veteran a rebuilding team like this needs to bring the kids along. He's a pro.
If Tambellini feels the same way, if he's got a minute between taking calls on offers for the first overall pick in Los Angeles, it might be an idea to let Pisani and Witken know. If not, let them shop around.
-- Anybody been reading these Twitter "tweets" from the guy calling himself Oilers_Insider? Whoever it is claims to work at the Oilers "head" office, and he's prone to throwing out (bad) rumours.
Among other things, Mr. Inside Guy has suggested the Oilers have already done the paperwork in preparation to buy-out Nilsson. He wrote: "spoke with a buddy in legal and paperwork has been prepared for a buyout of Nilsson- expect closer to draft day if he cant be traded sooner."
Maybe, maybe not. I haven't been able to confirm it.
This is the same guy who said he had the inside dope that Eberle would be called up from Springfield for the final four games of the season. Sounds like Oilers_Insider ain't that far inside.
-- I listened with interest to Morley Scott's debut as the Eskimos play-by-play guy on 630 CHED against Calgary Sunday and I have to say I was distinctly underwhelmed.
It's early, and the Eskies, from all accounts, didn't exactly light the playbook on fire and give Rod Phillips former sidekick and analyst Dave Campbell much to work with, but I wasn't moved by what I heard, even allowing for the expected glitches that always come with a new gig.
-- Look at the Oilers depth chart on defence and take a glance at the legion of runts up front -- even if they get weeded out -- and tell me that pending UFA John Scott isn't a fit on defence.
I see Jim Matheson's been campaigning for Scott for a couple of weeks now, as well. Great minds think alike (and fools seldom differ).
Listen to Robin Brownlee Wednesdays and Thursdays from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. on the Jason Gregor Show on TEAM 1260.