Aug 16, 2013, 12:58 PM EDT
Since 2008, when the Chicago Blackhawks took Kyle Beach with the 11th overall pick, the highest they’ve drafted is 18th. Which is to say, they’d be excused if their system wasn’t chock-full of top prospects.
But after a championship season in which home-grown youngsters like Brandon Saad (43rd overall in 2011) and Andrew Shaw (139th in 2011) played key roles, there could be even more of those stories in 2013-14.
Brandon Pirri is one name ‘Hawks fans can expect to hear often during training camp. Drafted 59th overall in 2009, the 22-year-old center is coming off an AHL-high 75-point season with Rockford.
“Brandon has done everything we’ve asked him to do,” ‘Hawks GM Stan Bowman said in July, per the Chicago Tribune. “He’s slowly grown his game each year. He’s not just an offensive guy, he played in all situations. To lead the whole league in scoring as a 21-year-old — it’s pretty impressive. (It) showed he’s got a lot of talent. We’ve brought him along slowly and we’re excited about what he brings.”
Pirri is one of the candidates to grab the open second-line center job. However, that’s traditionally a role that demands responsibility at both ends of the ice, not just a points producer.
“One of the things we really worked on in Rockford the last three years is his defensive responsibilities in his own end and when he doesn’t have the puck, just trying to make him into a well-rounded two-way player,” said IceHogs coach Ted Dent, per ESPN Chicago.
“We’ve built this team for the most part from the ground up, adding a few pieces from the outside,” Bowman said in June, per the Sun-Times. “Really, the core from this group came from drafting. We’d like to continue this process.”
More Blackhawks day on PHT:
- Kings’ Dustin Brown: ‘We got our [expletives] kicked’ 11
- Feeding frenzy: Sharks devour Kings to take 2-0 series lead 20
- Canadiens push Lightning to brink of elimination with 3-2 win 26
- WATCH LIVE: Los Angeles Kings at San Jose Sharks (Game 2) 0
- Bruins handle Red Wings 4-1, tie series 1-1 41
- Flyers overcome two-goal deficit to finally win at MSG 67
- NHL suspends Seabrook three games for charging into Backes 91
- MacKinnon, Avs shine against Wild, take 2-0 series lead 27
- Video: Roenick says MacKinnon is more dominant at 18 than Crosby was 28
- Blue Jackets gain first-ever playoff win, tie series with Penguins 1-1 49
- Video: Seabrook ejected for charging Backes; will face hearing (update) (150)
- Video: Lucic spears DeKeyser from behind (116)
- Flyers want to ‘punish’ McDonagh (113)
- Bad luck strikes twice: Lightning goal waved off, Stamkos takes knee to head (108)
- That’s a raise: Flyers sign MacDonald to six-year, $30 million extension (91)