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Pirri leads list of ‘Hawks prospects to watch

Aug 16, 2013, 12:58 PM EDT

Brandon Pirri Getty Images

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.

Besides Pirri, there are others that ‘Hawks management is hoping are ready to take the step to become full-timers in the NHL, like forwards Jimmy Hayes, Jeremy Morin and Ben Smith.

“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:

Second-line center spot up for grabs in Chicago

  1. esracerx46 - Aug 16, 2013 at 1:54 PM

    Ive said it before, but as a homer Hawks fan, Pirri is my darkhorse for Calder. Especially if he’s flanked by Sharp and Kane.

    • endusersolutions2013 - Aug 16, 2013 at 3:03 PM

      Your not the only one with that “vision”. He can score, and more importantly, gets a lot of assists. Opponents would have to cover 3 good scorers.

      Altho it could easily be Hossa, Sharp and Pirri, with Bickel playing with Toews and Kane.

      Nice either way;).

      So, I guess you might be pretty excited about the upcoming season as well. Big grin as I’m keying.

      • toews19cup - Aug 18, 2013 at 11:30 AM

        Man oh man would those 2 lines be awesome! Pirri feeding Sharpie and Dat Horsa Guy, and Bickell parking his big body in front of the net while Tazer and Kaner do their thing, ohhh yeah!

  2. blackhawks2010 - Aug 16, 2013 at 3:25 PM

    The cupboard is loaded with talent. Personally, I’m looking forward to watching Pirri and Morin develop into solid players.

    Drop the puck!

    • endusersolutions2013 - Aug 16, 2013 at 4:41 PM

      If my memory is correct, Ben Smith was supposed to get a good look by the Hawks this year if it was not for breaking a hand at the wrong time.

      Does anyone know when the cap will be revised next? I’m really hoping the Hawks have some more cap room to work with net year or after – too many good players to keep.

      • esracerx46 - Aug 17, 2013 at 8:16 AM

        The salary artificially lower than it should have been this year because of the lockout. It deals with annual hockey related revenue. The cap this year was a number mutually agreed to by both parties because, for obvious reasons hockey related revenue went down. Next summer, after a full season revenue is expected to jump substantially, which in turn brings the cap number up. Thats why youve seen some of these crazy contracts like Getzlaf/Perry and Malkin/Letang. Gms would rather deal with atrocious.looking cap hits forone year expecting the cap to go up next summer, rather than lose the player entirely. Not a good situation to be in, hoping the cap goes up in order to keep the the team together. Hawks had that problem in 2010. Tallon gave players who hadnt proven their worth crazy extensions (partly for failing to tender their rfa’s in time) expecting the cap to go up more than it did. When it came time to extend Toews, Kane, and Keith…. they had to purge the the team. Hawks will be in a good position with the cap going up before Toews and Kane are due an extension.

  3. toews19cup - Aug 18, 2013 at 11:32 AM

    The Blackhawks have become the model for the rest of the NHL to copy when it comes to dealing with cap issues. With the talent they have on the roster and the new guys coming into the mix, the Blackhawks should tomahawk their way through the NHL for a few more years.

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