Brandon Pirri came into the season with hopes of making the Chicago Blackhawks and becoming the second-line center for the Stanley Cup champs.
It didn’t work out that way, and now the talented 22-year-old is in Florida, where he was traded prior to the deadline.
With the Panthers, Pirri has 12 points (6G, 6A) in 19 games. Not bad production on a team that struggles to put the puck in the net. Florida’s leading scorer is Scottie Upshall, with just 37 points.
In Chicago, it was Pirri’s defensive abilities that people always wondered about.
“It’s something that maybe was a knock on me when I was a first-year pro four years ago,” he said, per the Sun-Sentinel. “But it has improved every year, and it’s a matter of staying consistent and showing coaches that I bring the same thing every shift.”
Panthers coach Peter Horachek likes the offense Pirri creates, but at the same time believes that “there’s a long ways to go for all these young guys as far as playing a complete game, playing a 200-foot game, not just playing in one direction.”
As PHT’s mentioned before, the Florida Panthers stand as a fascinating contrast between youth and experience.
Let’s not kid ourselves, though; fresh faces usually beat out gray beards, at least when it comes to teams that are still trying to build toward contender status.
While it’s by no means official, two Panthers beat writers – the Miami Herald’s George Richards and the Florida Sun-Sentinel’s Harvey Fialkov – report that the Panthers are likely to pass on Martin Havlat.
It wasn’t just about the likes of Jonathan Huberdeau and Nick Bjugstad leading the charge. Other young Panthers (maybe most notably Quinton Howden and Connor Brickley) made the team, thus making Havlat less necessary.
One would assume that it might be tough for the 34-year-old to find work, at least if he insists upon only an NHL deal.
Health issues continue to dog him, but he’s no longer one of those guys who tantalizes with talent when he is healthy enough to play.
Havlat also doesn’t really bring much to the table defensively. While other veterans can kill penalties and show a little more verstaility, Havlat’s greatest selling point is scoring.
Could this be it for a solid career that may nonetheless end with a “What if?” or two?
Considering all of the controversy surrounding the 41-game suspension for Raffi Torres, some might have lost track of the guy who received that hit: Jakob Silfverberg.
The good news is that, at the moment, it seems like he’s OK.
The Anaheim Ducks announced that he skated on his own and will be involved in the team’s next practice:
That falls in line with some of the fall-out from the hit, as head coach Bruce Boudreau let out a relieved “thank goodness” at the young forward seemingly dodging a bullet.
Here’s video of the hit and the suspension decision:
Silfverberg, 24, enjoyed a nice breakout in 2014-15, especially during the playoffs.
Keep in mind that injuries can sometimes crop up later than expected, especially potential head injuries/concussions. Still, it seems like the initial reaction is that the damage was minimal.