The Chicago Blackhawks have once again decided that center Brandon Pirri is better off in the minors, sending him back to the Rockford IceHogs after acquiring Peter Regin and Pierre Marc-Bouchard from the New York Islanders on Thursday night.
After the move was announced by the Blackhawks, there was plenty of speculation on the web as to whether or not the deal was the death knell for Pirri’s time with the Blackhawks. After all, the Hawks picked up not one but two centers in this deal with the Islanders, and with New York picking up half of the salary of each player, they are both more attractive options from a salary cap perspective than Pirri.
To that end, TSN’s Bob McKenzie had this to say about Pirri’s future in Chicago:
Brandon Pirri, demoted by CHI after Regin trade, may be dealt by March 5 deadline. CHI getting calls on him. For right offer, he could move.
— Bob McKenzie (@TSNBobMcKenzie) February 7, 2014
Trading Pirri would make sense both for the Blackhawks and for another team looking for help up the middle. Pirri clearly wants to be on an NHL roster, and his continued inability to stick with the Blackhawks is likely becoming a frustrating burden for the youngster. When you add to that the fact that the Blackhawks have so many potential centers in their organization, from Teuvo Teravainen to Mark McNeill, then the writing on the wall seems to be even clearer when it comes to Pirri’s future with the club.
NHL rosters are set to freeze on Friday afternoon due to the Olympic break, so it seems unlikely that the Hawks will move Pirri before then. Once the team hits the ice again on February 27th, the countdown to the trade deadline will really begin. The Hawks would have until March 5th to decide whether or not to retain Pirri, or to ship him out for more help as the team tries to win a second consecutive Stanley Cup.
To Pirri’s credit, he has done everything that the Blackhawks have asked of him during his time in the Windy City. He has worked hard on making himself a better defensive center, and he has emerged as an excellent playmaker who is capable of facilitating offense by moving the puck effectively around the ice. If he can carry those abilities with him to another club, then he should finally get the long-term shot at an NHL roster that he has been so desperate seeking.