Canucks show signs of organizational Florence Nightingale effect, re-sign Ebbett, Pinizzotto

A day after the Canucks made a big splash late in unrestricted free agency, snagging hometown blueliner Jason Garrison, they re-found their thriftiness and dove into bargain bin, re-signing forwards Andrew Ebbett and Steven Pinizzotto to two-way deals.

It’s appropriate that the Canucks announced these two signings at the same time. While Ebbett and Pinizzotto are very different players, they both have something important in common.

(No, it’s not surnames littered with double consonants, although there’s that too. Nor is it the fact that their post-signing tweets are almost identical.)

It’s that, thanks to unlucky seasons shortened by upper-body injuries — Ebbett gruesomely broke his clavicle in Boston and Pinizzotto never played a game due to recurring shoulder problems — the free agents had little negotiating power, which meant they could be had on the cheap. After Marco Sturm and Byron Bitz last year and now Ebbett and Pinizzotto, it’s clear that Mike Gillis loves a good bargain (or is a descendant of Florence Nightingale), so these signings were right within his wheelhouse.

Ebbett inked a one-year, two-way contract worth $600k in the bigs and $300k in the minors. It’s a marginal pay increase at the NHL level, from $525k, but last season, he was on a one-way deal. Terms of Pinizzotto’s deal have not yet leaked, but it sounds like it’s a two-way and it will probably pay similarly to 2011-12, a year in which he pulled $600k in The National and $275k in the A.

Granted, neither player was exactly raking it in last year, but both had the leverage of other interested suitors when they signed those deals. This year, after earning warning labels due to their injuries, they were the targets of much less wooing.

So what will both players be doing if they can stay out of the medical room this time around?

Ebbett will likely find himself in the same role as last year, a thirteenth forward type that can be used as a band-aid solution anywhere on the first to the fourth line without cratering the team’s possession statistics. It went relatively unnoticed, but between scratches healthy and unhealthy, Ebbett’s underlying numbers were actually pretty impressive. If his play in 2012-13 corresponds to what we saw in his 18-game sample from last year, he’ll be a valuable contributor.

As for Pinizzotto, if he could get into a regular-season NHL game, I suspect Vancouver fans would love him. The Canucks sure took a shine to him last offseason, when he looked to be on his way to making the team out of training camp. Lamentably, his shoulder injury late in the preseason forced Alain Vigneault to begrudgingly return to Victor Oreskovich, the Janice to his Chandler, instead.

Pinizzotto is a fourth-line pest type, but he’s got decent hands at the professional level and he’s defensively reliable. I hate to use plus/minus to make the point, but he was a team-best plus-40 in his last full season in Hershey. Sure, over the course of a game, plus/minus is pretty much meaningless. But over the course of a season, if you’re the best on your team in the category, that means something. In Pinizzotto’s case, it means he has a pretty good chance to be part of a defensively sound, aggravating fourth line that coach Vigneault isn’t afraid to use down the stretch.

As we know, according to folklore, if Vigneault allows the fourth line to emerge from their burrow on the first day of the playoffs, Vancouver fans get six more weeks of hockey. Ebbett and Pinizzotto should help to make this a possibility.

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8 comments

  1. Tracey
    July 2, 2012

    When I didn’t think this blog could get any better, you go and link to one of the best bands around. Indie music meets hockey, love it.

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  2. the real bob
    July 2, 2012

    If Oreo is AV’s Janice to his Chandler, then Rome must be his Monica

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    • Winsy
      July 2, 2012

      I hope Pinizzotto stays healthy to play with Max! And I hope Ebbett’s healthy for the skills competition this season! I was looking forward to seeing him take on MayRay, and now Ballard! He’s quick and smaller so he just sneaks by!

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  3. akidd
    July 2, 2012

    i like both these signings. i like saying ebbett’s name when he’s on the ice(makes me feel like lou costello.) and i thought pinizzotto looked really smooth on the ice before he got hurt. to my untrained eye he easily looked the best of the 4th-line options. if he stays healthy pinizzotto makes the team out of training camp, says me and a shiny nickel.

    and ebbett might get a few months as secondline centre. another nickel says av has less than five games’ patience for schroeder. if no other centre is signed that gig falls to ebbett. nice insurance, indeed.

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    • rvtBC
      July 3, 2012

      Ebbett can very adeptly fill the 3rd line centre position and maybe provide a fill-in for Kesler during his rehab time. Ebbett was playing very well last season before his injury and showed great hands.

      The only knock against him – no surprise – is his relatively diminuitive size. Not really that big a deal I think but, of course, it’s AV’s opinion on that which really matters and I think we all know how AV feels about smaller guys. Too bad as I think that if Ebbett was given a real chance to play (i.e., more than a one week “try out” period of time) then he might show people that he can play. THe Canucks’ “need” for a 3rd line centre might be right in front of them.

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  4. ArtemChubarov
    July 2, 2012

    Remember when Marek Malik led the NHL in +/- over an entire season? (Jerk Commenter)

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    • Harrison Mooney
      July 2, 2012

      Hey man, Malik was all right.

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  5. Canuck Jeet
    July 3, 2012

    LOVED: “As we know, according to folklore, if Vigneault allows the fourth line to emerge from their burrow on the first day of the playoffs, Vancouver fans get six more weeks of hockey.”

    Hopefully, with Garrison’s signing, assuming it’s Ballard/Tanev as the 3rd pairing, AV will roll all three D pairings a bit more evenly, thereby keeping six defensemen relatively fresh, and more importantly healthy for the playoffs. If Pinizzotto can play as suggested by readers above, and we (pray oh pray) get a decent top-six forward in the inevitable Luongo trade. And, by some miracle, AV starts rolling all four forward lines, then the Canucks re-emerge again as a scary team to face. Hopefully, due to his slow re-signing, AV gets a bit of a wakeup call and manages to play an up-tempo style while utilizing *all* of his players.

    GCG!

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