The Chicago Blackhawks must be cheating. They have to be, right? Brandon Pirri is all the proof you need. After wheeling and dealing over the summer to squeeze the likes of Corey Crawford and Bryan Bickell under the salary cap, they shouldn’t be able to bring up a player of Pirri’s caliber to fill in the blanks.
After spending three seasons developing his two-way game in the AHL with the Rockford IceHogs, Pirri is ready to become a full-time NHLer this year. He showed why last night as the ‘Hawks were downed by the St. Louis Blues in a spirited contest between two of the top teams in the Western Conference.
He scored the first goal of his NHL career, and didn’t look out of place against the physical and quick Blues. If Pirri can hang against St. Louis, there’s no reason to think he can’t hang with every other team in the NHL. We’ve seen young players around the league struggle with the speed of the regular season after dominating in training camps.
Boone Jenner of the Columbus Blue Jackets comes to mind, as does Valeri Nichushkin of the Dallas Stars. After playing well in the preseason, those two have already been forced to the press box as scratches.
Pirri, on the other hand, was shipped back to the AHL for a handful of games, but it didn’t take long for Chicago to recall him. You can’t leave talent like this in the minors forever.
Check out the replay of his outstanding marker over at Blackhawk Up.
If Pirri continues to play like he did against the Blues, the ‘Hawks will be forced to keep him in the lineup, once and for all. His two-way acumen is too strong for a youngster, and his finishing ability is top notch. There’s nothing left for the kid to prove in the AHL.