The revolving door that is Chicago’s No. 2 center spot has opened for Brandon Pirri.
Pirri, one of the club’s brightest offensive prospects, will get a chance to play in a top-six role as the club announced the incumbent No. 2, Michal Handzus, would miss at least the next two games with an upper-body injury.
“We’re still looking for who’s going to be that [second-line center],” head coach Joel Quenneville told the Chicago Tribune. “It’s an opportunity for Brandon to hopefully grab that. We certainly feel he can play there. We’re comfortable giving him that chance here and I think he’ll do fine.”
Pirri, 22, led AHL Rockford in scoring last season (75 points in 76 games) and has appeared in six games for the ‘Hawks this year, scoring two goals and three points in a largely bottom-six role.
He was also playing on the wing, which could make for an interesting adjustment to the middle. Thankfully for Pirri, he’ll be playing on a line with Brandon Saad and Patrick Kane, which should make the switch plenty easier.
“Those guys have a lot of skill,” Pirri said. “I think I can bring a little skill and energy.”
Chicago plays tonight in Minnesota before hopping a plane for tomorrow night’s contest in Ottawa. The ‘Hawks are off ’til Saturday after that, so it’s possible Handzus could return for this weekend’s games (Saturday in Winnipeg, Sunday at home vs. Calgary).