The Chicago Blackhawks are dipping into recent drafts to help fill out their depth in the AHL and throughout their system as they’ve signed 2009 second round pick Brandon Pirri to a three-year entry-level contract. Pirri played last year in the NCAA at RPI where he was a teammate of newly-signed Maple Leafs prospect and Team USA World Junior superstar Jerry D’Amigo. Ken Schott of The Daily Gazette in Schenectady, NY gets the scoop from Pirri.
“It’s a dream come true, ever since I was a little kid,” Pirri said. “I get to do something I would do for free, but I get paid to do it now.”
If Pirri doesn’t make the Blackhawks, there will be only one place he will play.
“He will either be playing in the NHL, or the American Hockey League next year,” [agent Anton] Thun said. “He will not be playing in the Ontario Hockey League.”
Rockford is the Blackhawks’ AHL affiliate. Saginaw holds Pirri’s OHL rights.
For the Blackhawks, their secret stockpile of young talent now officially adds another guy capable of putting up big offensive numbers. Last year for RPI, Pirri was second on the team in points with 43, first with assists with 32 and first on the team in penalty minutes with 67 all over the course of 39 games. If it wasn’t for his teammate D’Amigo it’s possible that Pirri would’ve gotten all the attention to be ECAC rookie of the year but Pirri’s contributions were a necessary part to their success.
If you’re wondering if the penalty minutes indicate that Pirri is a bit of a goon-type player, he’s not. What he did do was spend a lot of time after whistles jawing with opposing players as well as linesmen who were more than happy to toss him from the face-off circle. While his offensive skill set is fantastic, his dedication to defense and wont to work in the corners to fight for pucks will need drastic improvement if he wants to make a push for the NHL.
(Photo: Richard Wolowicz – Getty Images)