The Case For Brandon Pirri As Chicago Blackhawks' Second-Line Center

By Paul Chancey
Rob Grabowski-USA TODAY Sports

Thanks to their recent struggles, the Chicago Blackhawks are looking to change their lines up. With recent revelations that Patrick Kane is not producing with Michal Handzus, Marcus Kruger will be moving up to the second line center role. However, this might not be such a good idea. With his recent selection to the AHL All-Star Game, there’s one name that should be considered for the job: Brandon Pirri.

Yes, him. Sure, he’s been written about plenty of times on this website, but the situation once again demands that he be brought up. Head coach Joel Quenneville and his coaching staff have been mishandling Pirri’s situation for for too long, and are risking losing him to a trade or free agency. It’s hard to believe that Pirri was the AHL’s leading scorer in 2012-2013 with the way the coaching staff has been treating him.

Of course, given that Pirri is out with a lower body injury, that’s not going to happen right this instant.

Still, looking at his numbers with Kane shows that Pirri might be the answer. In the 171:53 that the two have been on ice together, Kane has three goals and seven assists. Compare that with no goals and six assists in 222:44 with Handzus. Since playing with Handzus is holding Kane back, it’s only necessary that he plays withe someone else, especially since he is chasing a scoring title and Hart Trophy.

However, considering that Teuvo Teravainen could possibly come over from Finland after this season is over, it might make the situation difficult. If this is the case, Pirri will need to establish a place on the team and fast. The mishandling of Pirri’s situation by the coaching staff makes the situation more desperate for him, unless you have the opinion that this could be good incentive for Pirri to perform better for the Rockford Icehogs.

Add to that the defensive issues that led him to being sent down in the first place, and you can see that time is not on his side.

There is one suggestion that I personally like. When Pirri is healthy , he should be called up and center the second line with Marian Hossa and Brandon Saad, while Kane should play with Jonathan Toews and Patrick Sharp. Pirri can work on his defense with Saad and Hossa, while Kane could be on possibly the best offensive line in the NHL. With Handzus possibly on his last legs and Teravainen on his way here, it’s only natural that the Hawks give Pirri another chance.

As the hashtag says, #FreePirri.

Paul Chancey is a Chicago Blackhawks writer for Follow him on Twitter at @ChanceyPaul and add him to your network at Google+.

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