The Oilers made a depth signing on Thursday, inking pending unrestricted free agent Steve Pinizzotto to a one-year contract.
— Edmonton Oilers (@EdmontonOilers) June 12, 2014
Contract details haven’t come out yet, but I expect this is a two-way deal which will compensate Pinizzotto handsomely at the minor-league level and have him play at something around the league minimum in the majors.
Edit: In an interview on Oilers Now, Pinizzotto confirmed that his new deal is a two-way contract.
This is a pretty nice to player to have as an NHL recall option and in the role of AHL veteran. It’s not just that Pinizzotto is a physical player – though he is – but he’s an honest-to-goodness hockey player who can be effective at both ends of the rink.
At the AHL level, Pinizzotto can play minutes in the top-six and fill-in on both special teams (he was a regular penalty killer for the Barons after coming over in a midseason trade). For what it’s worth, he also played regular minutes on two AHL championship teams in Hersey in the late 00’s.
Pinizzotto has a realistic shot at cracking the Oilers’ roster next year, and even if he doesn’t he will make the battle for depth positions in Edmonton more competitive.
At right wing, the Oilers have a number of skaters – Jesse Joensuu, Tyler Pitlick, perhaps Mark Arcobello, possibly even Anton Lander, who got a cameo at the position last year – potentially competing for a fourth line job and an NHL reserve position. Joensuu struggled in the role last year, Pitlick has been chronically injured over his career and the other two don’t bring the robust game the Oilers like to see on the fourth line, so Pinizzotto could snag the last chair when the music stops.
Assuming he doesn’t, he’ll give the Oilers a recall option at the position they simply didn’t have last season, a fallback option in case of ineffectiveness or injury.