The Florida Panthers have signed forward Steve Pinizzotto to a one year, two-way deal. The 29-year-old Pinizzoto finally reached the NHL for the first time last season, playing 12 regular season games for the Vancouver Canucks. The Toronto native posted zero points, a -6 rating and racked up 29 PIM. He also appeared in one of Vancouver's playoff games.
Pinizzotto took the long road in getting to the NHL. After two seasons at the Rochester Institute of Technology, Pinizzotto was signed to an entry-level contract by the Washington Capitals in 2007. After signing, he played 5 games for the AHL's Hershey Bears. The next two seasons saw him shuttle back and forth between Hershey and the South Carolina Stingrays of the ECHL.
In 2009, Pinizzotto became an AHL regular and posted 41 points (13G/28A) in 69 games. He followed that up with a career-best 42 points (17G/25A) in 68 games for the Bears in 2009-10.
On July 3, 2011, Pinizzotto was signed to a one year, two-way deal by the Canucks but a shoulder injury caused him to miss the entire 2011-12 season. Vancouver re-signed him last season and in addition to the 13 big-league games, he suited up for 24 tilts with the Chicago Wolves, knocking in 4 goals while adding 8 helpers.
Pinizzotto is a physical player who skates well and has some offensive ability. He joins a long list of players who will be battling for a spot on the Panthers' fourth line. Look for him to start the season off with the San Antonio Rampage but to be one of the first call ups the Cats make.