The Chicago Blackhawks’ offense looks to add one more big contributor, heading in to the 2013-14 season. Brandon Pirri will get the opportunity to take over the departed Dave Bolland’s position as second line center this season. The 2009 2nd round pick generated a lot of buzz during the 2013 season, making some noise even with the massive media attention the Blackhawks gained.
One look at Pirri’s numbers proves the hype. 76 points in 75 games with the AHL’s Rockford IceHogs was enough to lead the league, even on a squad that failed to qualify for the playoffs. He has led the piggies in scoring for the past two seasons, and has attained over 30 assists in all three of his professional seasons.
Pirri’s style of play will fit in easily with the Blackhawks. A skilled, speedy team awaits, and the offensive-minded 22-year old will have no trouble adjusting to the NHL game. The Blackhawks’ need for a scoring center will be easily fulfilled by Pirri. Playing on a line that might include the goal-scoring likes of Bryan Bickell, Patrick Sharp, or even Patrick Kane, Pirri’s ability to set up the right plays will be critical. His hockey IQ will be put to the test every game, and with a little time, he could start to build chemistry with some of the forwards and be very dangerous.
Pirri hasn’t cracked the Blackhawks’ roster just yet, but he is believed to be a shoo-in. Even if he doesn’t fit in as second line center right away, he could be a big contributor to the youthful fourth line, and provide some of the secondary offense that was the Chicago’s secret weapon throughout 2013. One thing he will need to work on is his durability. At only 170 pounds, Pirri could get knocked around often. He will need to work on his size in the gym, or be very slippery, taking a leaf out of teammate Kane’s book, as #88 is as slimy as they come.
It is pretty certain that Brandon Pirri will crack the Blackhawks’ roster in 2013-14, so one question remains; how much will he contribute? I think he can have a Brandon Saad-esque rookie year, and be very effective for the Blackhawks in a top six role. I’m putting his over/under at 17 Goals, 29 Assists.
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