The Capitals are still looking to fill a few holes in their roster before the season starts. While, I don’t think that Steve Pinizzotto will make the opening day line-up, I would like to propose the reasons why he should be one of the first call-ups from Hershey.
Fans (and sometimes coaches) often get annoyed when the high scorers in the AHL are called up and do not immediately make the same impact in the NHL as they did in the A (see: Alexandre Giroux). Barring nerves or other outside factors, I think that Pinizzotto can continue to play the style he’s comfortable with and see results. And anyone willing to rock the facial he did at the Calder Cup Rally is okay in my book.
To put it simply, Steve Pinizzotto is clutch. Of the 13 goals he scored in the past regular season, 5 of them were shorthanded. That means that over a third of his goals were shorthanders. Money. And, sure, he can score those shorties, but he’s also a great penalty killer because of his defensive prowess too. He can read plays with the best of them and he knows just where to be to either clear the puck or to stop the puck.
Now let’s take a look at some of his stats from the past two seasons.
2008-2009: 45 GP | 4 G | 7 A | 11 Pts | +4 | 61 PIM
2009-2010: 69 GP | 13 G | 28 A | 41 Pts | +40 | 124 PIM
2009: 21 GP | 3 G | 2 A | 5 Pts | +5 | 28 PIM
2010: 21 GP | 5 G | 3 A | 9 Pts | +6 | 33 PIM
This past season, his 5 shorthanded goals tied for best in the league and he tied with Bourque for the lead in shorthanders during the playoffs. He had the highest +/- rating on the team with +40 and was third in the entire league.
During playoffs, his five goals included a shorthanded goal, a game-tying goal, and a game-winning game. He also received a number one star during the Conference Finals.
Despite the increase in penalty minutes this season, Pinizzotto has been a smarter player. There are less needless retaliation penalties and therefore less selfish decisions. Of course, that’s not to say that he has backed away from his physical style of play. Take the March 14th, 2010 game against the Worchester Sharks. Pinner got 16 penalty minutes, 14 of which came after the game had ended (It’s also worth nothing that he finished with one assist and a +1 rating, despite the 6-2 loss). But you can watch any game and Pinizzotto will never be a non-factor.
When it boils down to it, I’m rooting for Pinner to come to Washington because he’s aggressive but still has the offensive touch that can balance him out. He’s not a pure scorer, like Ovechkin, but he’s not a goon, like King. He’s a grinder and he’s going to work hard every shift. He won’t back down from any challenge. My only complaint would be that he should consider shooting a little more often. He doesn’t average very many shots per game but he’s got a pretty vicious aim. But he knows his role and understands that his job is to keep the game under Hershey’s control and tempo. Whether it’s a huge open ice hit or blocking shots, Pinizzotto is an energy guy and he has a huge impact on the team morale.
We’ve got a great prospect on our hands here. He went undrafted and we signed him in March of 2007. According to CapGeek.com, he’s slated to make $105,000 in the AHL and $537,500 in the NHL. It’s a lot of potential for not a lot of money. Pinizzotto is a
To wrap up, some videos of Pinizzotto beating up guys named Lane:
And an awesome “History Will Be Made” parody, featuring Pinner:
All photos are my own work. You can see more at my Flickr.