During the NHL offseason, while the Blackhawks players were celebrating their Stanley Cup championship Stan Bowman and Blackhawks management were at work trying to remedy their salary cap situation. After all was said and done the Blackhawks shed nearly half of the team and only had a little bit of money to play with so Bowman had to get creative with his limited cap space.
One of Bowman's bargain signings during the offseason was former Oiler playoff hero Fernando Pisani who had missed half of the previous season to injury. Although Pisani is know for his big goals during the 2006 postseason, all 14 of them, he has been known most recently for his long list of injuries and battle with ulcerative colitis.
Although Pisani did have his baggage, at a low cost of $500,000 for one year it was a no-lose situation for the Blackhawks. When the signing reached the fan base most were positive about the signing, but were still skeptical because of his injury history and the fact he had only played 134 games over the last three seasons.
To start the season Pisani struggled to find the back of the net, going goal-less during the month of October where he was held to one assist and a minus two rating. Along with his struggles offensively, the penalty killing unit that he was a part of was struggling as well and seemed unable to stop anyone on the power play.
However as the season progressed Pisani seemed to find his grove and although the penalty kill continued to struggle Pisani started to regain his offensive touch. Since the slow October Pisani has appeared in 22 games and has recorded 12 points, not bad for a guy who ranks 15th on the Blackhawks in time on ice.
Pisani also seems to have found his exact spot in the lineup as he has been put on the third line with center Dave Bolland and fellow wing Bryan Bickell, the three of them have created a very solid checking/shut down line that the team has desperately needed. Two weeks ago against the Colorado Avalanche Pisani and the third line shone as they scored two of Chicago's four goals and held the top Avalanche line scoreless in the game.
Now, I'm not saying that Pisani is or will be an impact player for the Blackhawks but he has been a great replacement for some of their lost depth. Although he doesn't put up the scoring number of say Kris Versteeg or Andrew Ladd he does bring veteran depth and some secondary scoring to a still very young team.
If Pisani can keep up his production and continue his good chemistry with Bolland and Bickell I wouldn't be surprised if Bowman decides to extend his bargain player for another year of service in Chicago.