Brandon Pirri gave the Florida Panthers an offense boost after coming over from Chicago last season, scoring seven goals and 14 points in 21 games.
This year, though, he’s had zero impact on the scoresheet — because his name hasn’t been on it.
“We’re all a part of the same team,” Pirri told the Miami Herald following his third consecutive healthy scratch of the season against Ottawa on Monday. “Losses are losses, no one wants to have that. It’s frustrating because I think I can help this team.
“But, at the same time, I’m being the best teammate I can be and just waiting for my turn.”
Given how badly Florida’s struggled to score goals this season — they have just three in three games — it’s a little surprising Pirri hasn’t been summoned yet, and there’s a chance he could draw back into the lineup for Friday’s game against Buffalo. That said, one does wonder how the 23-year-old got himself banished to the press box in the first place, especially after a preseason in which he scored twice in four games.
To give you some insight into new head coach Gerard Gallant’s thinking, consider this: Derek McKenzie, a career checking center that’s never scored more than nine goals in a season, got some rare power play time in a blowout loss to the Devils.
“We weren’t getting people in front of the net causing traffic and working hard and everything starts with hard work,” Gallant said, per the Florida Sun-Sentinel. “So I put those guys on the ice and sure enough they had success.”
That could be Pirri’s answer right there.