At random: is Fernando a fit?

EDMONTON, CANADA - SEPTEMBER 16: Fernando Pisani #34 of the Edmonton Oilers stretches prior to the start of the game against the New York Islanders on September 16, 2009 at Rexall Place in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. The Oilers won 3-2. (Photo by Dale MacMillan/Getty Images)

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.

JUST SAYING…

— 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.

  • I dont get the point of signing John Scott. heès completely terrible at hockey and Quinn probably wont play him.

    Scott was actually last in the league in ice time amongst defencemen that played any amount of games last season at only 8 and a half minutes per game.
    he cant penalty kill. He can only fight.

    I dont think the Oilers have enough good defensemen to play basically 5 defenders a night to cover for Scotts total incompetence at the game of hockey.

    Why not just go after Boogaard who is equally useless at hockey, but a better fighter.

  • SkinnyD

    Pisani would be welcome on my team. The guy’s got heart AND class. This combination is pretty high on my wish list for a team that has a glut of young talent. I’m thinking back to the days in 95-97 where a young Ryan Smyth – A player with a ton of potential – was mentored by ‘Hands-of-Stone” Buchberger.

    Now, I could be totally off my rocker here, but don’t rookie forwards need more work on their defensive play to complement their offensive talent? Wouldn’t Pisani be able to show these young guns like MPS, T/T and Eberle this? Don’t Sam and Cogs need an example to emulate in their own end (if Tambs keeps them around)?

    At anything under $2mil Pisani is a good buy.

    On a separate rant, is anyone else concerned about the lack of action – ANY action – from the front office? We’ve got coaches waiting for contracts, I’ve heard nothing about any signings except MPS and Omark – what about Comrie, Strudwick, Gagner, Cogliano, Pouliot, JFJ and Stone? How about our Goalie three-headed monster? (again, ugh!)

    I’m just scared that we’re going to get Glencross the sequel, and someone is gonna tell Tambs they’re tired of waiting and walk because our GM is too busy trying to pull off some sort of deal with Boston to get an extra bag of pucks and some used Gatorade bottles to pick the guy we wanted anyway.

  • Hold the phone. Brownlee are you on twitter now? What’s your handle?

    But seriously, I caught that Oilers_Insider guy (or girl) on some stuff at the trade deadline that he said was for sure. He then turned it around on me and asked me when he was getting paid for this. He wasn’t the source. His friend was. Since then, he has been quiet. Until now.

  • a lg dubl dubl

    Mr. Brownlee great minds think alike lol i said the same thing about pisani in the blog prior to yours, and it wouldnt hurt my feelings at all if the oil offered him 1mil+bonus’ or 1.5mil and bonus’ ( for games played of course). Fernie deserves at least a offer from the oilers just for the fact that hes come back a couple times from colitis, and tried playing through it back in the begining before he found out what it was, thats better than captian casper that sat out cuz of a “bad shoulder” then miracuosly comes back solid right before the deadline

  • Mitch

    Robin I feel having Pisani around would be a great idea, he has battled his ass off and is a great person. I feel with Pisani he would work really well on the fourth line and would be a good dressing room guy with all the young guys I feel the same about Mike Comrie. These guys must come cheap Pisani I feel around $900,000.00 a yr and Mike Comrie 1.25m. It’s very important to have great character vets around as we rebuild. Robin I also remember posting and floating big John Scotts name around as the possible 6th dman, could he also play some forward? Big John would be a good fit in the heavy weight department, is he a team guy? It’s most important to make sure every avenue is explored to make sure we have good citizens who want to be edmontionians and leave the hockey players skill set out. This is a great city and awesome hockey market.

  • If Pisani would sign for approx. 900k/year I would sign him. Keep him for 4th line duties along with playing the pk.

    As for Armstrong, I bet he wouldnt sign here for any less then 3.1/year and that is too rich for my blood especially when he wouldn’t be a top 6 forward… well maybe he would be on this team it all depends on who is bought out/traded in the next 2 weeks.

  • Always liked Pisani. I wouldn’t be too upset if he went UFA, but I think he deserves professional and respectable treatment. I would like to hear that he would be given a chance to talk to other teams if they’re leaning towards not keeping him. But ultimately, I would love to hear that he’s coming back for cheap dollar. If not, then Tambellini best have some other trick up his sleeve, like suddenly surprising us by signing that checking faceoff guy.

    I was pretty impressed by the Moreau Horcoff and Pisani line last year too. A huge part of that was due to Horcoff though. But hey, the chemistry is still there nonetheless. So with any luck, we’ll see Horcoff/Pisani reuinted, and maybe have Stortini on the left side, and we’ll have a brand new 4th line (maybe a kid line, perhaps)

  • Easilee

    I think everyone can agree that Pisani is a great story, and from all accounts a great guy, but he has also lost a step or two. He also suffers from a health condition that is somewhat uncertain.

    My question is, if Fernando Pisani was a member of the Florida Panthers, would he be a player of interest to the Oilers in free agency?

    • I don’t really get your question, considering what I’ve told you about Pisani.

      If the Oilers knew first-hand what kind of person Pisani the Panther was, then probably.

      And by person, I don’t mean “good guy.” The thing that’s important, and that adds value to Pisani, is he’s a good pro. Given how some of the veterans on this team have been less than beacons for the kids in recent seasons, I put value in that.

      • Easilee

        I think work ethic, carrying yourself well, and all the other things that are associated with being a good pro are important, especially in a rebuild. So I wouldn’t be completly against signing him to a cheap deal.

        But the bottom line is that this is a player past his prime due to health issues, who doesn’t provide the physicallity that this club sorely lacks in its bottom six. I don’t see the harm in looking elsewhere, and if week one of July comes and goes and there are no better options, then revisit it.

        Also is it commonplace for clubs to give permission to pending UFA’s to seek contracts elsewhere? I would assume by the glut of players signed on July 1 one that it is. If this is the case then Procrastelinni should allow him to do so.

  • cableguy - 2nd Tier Fan

    Agreed on Armstrong coming here for 2 mill. Certainly a better team than this one will offer more than that. He made 2.4 this year.

    Speaking of UFAs that would be a decent fit, Adam Mair would seem to solve a lot of issues.

  • Quicksilver ballet

    I was going to say 1.5 might work, even at that i’m hoping he spends half the season on the LTIR…..having said that maybe it’s best to wait till camp, if he’s still looking for work maybe offer him around 1’ish…at 950’ish it won’t matter as much if he spends more time on the IR.

  • John Scott is a fit on the D RB, at least as the 7th man. So is Fernando Pisani on the 3rd line. I’m not going call out Tambo on this one yet, but if Pisani’s ass is still hanging in the breeze come mid-July, then I’ll be back to raise my frusteration.

    Its not like Tambo makes hasty decisions, which I guess is a good thing. But he’s sure gonna be busy over the next three weeks.

  • HockeyFan99

    Giving guys like Pisani even 1.5 Million dollars is part of the reason this team was against the cap. You don’t give a 3rd liner like Pisani 1.5 million. I hope they offer him 1 million tops.

    He seems like a really good guy and a nice vet, but not at over 1 Million dollars. He’s also not 100% healthy as well.

      • Quicksilver ballet

        Its not always about the money.

        I sure like Armstrongs game,he’s pretty durable as well….. wouldn’t hurt to put out a 3yr/8-9 million dollar feeler.

        • cableguy - 2nd Tier Fan

          not always about the money?

          wouldnt money be one of the few reasons a player would actually sign here right now?

          1) money
          2) no other options

          also, a 3 year 9mil feeler dont add up to 2mil per…

    • I’m thinking you were listening to TEAM 1260 this afternoon when Armstrong was being pitched. What do you know about him in terms of character etc, aside from what you’ve heard on the radio?

      I’m not saying Armstrong isn’t a fit here — Laraque tells me he’s a good teammate with a wicked sense of humour and he’s clearly a better player than Pisani at this point — but I don’t know Colby. I do know Fernando.

      When people talked about putting up big money for somebody like Jagr because he’d be a good mentor, I kept thinking of Pisani. No, he won’t put up anywhere near the numbers a guy like Jagr would, obviously, but if you’re looking for a veteran to be a mentor, show younger guys how to be a pro and is in the bottom-third of your pay scale, Pisani fits.

  • If the Oilers’ hockey operations brass voted with their heart, it is probable Pisani would be at training camp. Heart doesn’t seem to have much leverage in the hard-nose world of professional sport. Illness and injuries have been the bane of the club for at least three seasons. Along with Pisani — Moreau, Souray, Comrie and Khabibulin counted big time to lost games. Then there are the fringe NHL players: Nilsson, Pouliot, Jacques, Johnson, Stone, Chorney and Strudwick. Outside of Khabibulin, should any of them belong in training camp? I hope Quinn and Renney had a great summer because they are in for more headaches and heartaches if most of last season’s players return.

  • OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F

    To much injury risk for me. If we’ve struck out on bottom 6 guys with better health records on say, August 15th then Sign Pie up… look elsewhere first though.

  • Hemmertime

    1.5 Might be a bit high for someone who averages half a season. 1 Mil I’d take it. But considering we should have cap space leftover to start the season I have no objection to bringing back Pisser at anything under 2.

    Amazing guy, good NHLer.