Brandon Pirri appeared to be the favorite to win the second line center job before the season. An injury during the preseason jeopardized Pirri’s chances, and ended with him being sent to Rockford of the American Hockey League. That changed over the weekend.
Pirri was recalled Saturday, while winger Jimmy Hayes was sent down. Michal Handzus had been shuffled in and out of the second line center role, and an open audition has been set into motion. Pirri’s first game this season was spent on the fourth line.
Andrew Shaw, Marcus Kruger, and Handzus will continue to get looks in between stars Marian Hossa and Patrick Sharp, but Brandon Pirri is the best fit, as long as he gets a chance to show it. Coach Joe Quenneville has said that Pirri needed to develop a better two-way game to add defense with his offensive style. Last season in Rockford, Pirri scored 75 points in 76 games, leading the league but there was zero mentioned of his defensive play.
When the 22-year old finally gets slott...