On this day in 2003, Fernando Pisani makes NHL debut with hometown Edmonton Oilers
By Cam Lewis1 month ago
January 8, 2003 — Local product Fernando Pisani makes his NHL debut with the Edmonton Oilers.
With forwards Anson Carter and Mike Comrie out with injuries, the Oilers were in need of some reinforcements from their minor-league affiliate. Among the players to get called up was Fernando Pisani, an Edmonton native who the Oilers had selected in the eighth round of the draft seven years earlier.
Pisani led the St. Albert Saints of the AJHL with 40 goals and 103 points in 1995-96, prompting the Oilers to use a late pick on the local product. He spent four seasons after that playing for Providence College between 1996-97 and 1999-00 and then joined the Hamilton Bulldogs, Edmonton’s AHL team.
After scoring 12 goals and 25 points as a rookie in the AHL in 2000-01, Pisani broke out and scored 26 goals and 60 points for the Bulldogs in 2001-02. He continued that strong play in 2002-03 with 17 goals and 32 points through his first 41 games and wound up getting the call to the big-league club.
Pisani scored the overtime winner for the Bulldogs in a win over the St. John’s Maple Leafs and was called up the next morning. He flew across the continent to meet the Oilers in California and made his NHL debut in a win over the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim.
Edmonton Journal Newspaper Clipping From January 10, 2003.
That overtime goal for the Bulldogs would be Pisani’s last in the AHL. He finished off the 2002-03 season with the Oilers and suited up for the team in the playoffs. The following fall, Pisani cracked Edmonton’s roster and spent the entire 2003-04 season with the club.
After spending the 2004-05 lockout season playing in Italy, Pisani had a huge season for the Oilers in 2005-06. He scored 18 goals and 37 points across 80 regular season games and then exploded with 14 goals during the team’s run to the Stanley Cup Final in the spring.
The following off-season, Pisani and the Oilers agreed to a four-year contract worth $10 million. He scored 14 goals and 28 points in 2006-07, but his play started to decline in the coming years after being diagnosed with ulcerative colitis. Pisani was limited to 56 games in 2007-08, 38 games in 2008-09, and only 40 games in 2009-10.
When his contract with the Oilers expired, Pisani inked a one-year deal with the Chicago Blackhawks, where he scored 16 points in 60 games. Since retiring from playing professional hockey, Pisani has served as an assistant coach for the University of Alberta Golden Bears, a development coach for the Edmonton Oil Kings, and currently as a scout for the Montreal Canadiens.
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