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The Pirri Dilemma

(Photo Credit: Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

When Brandon Pirri isn’t scoring what does Gerard Gallant and the Golden Knights organization do with him? Well, we got one answer last night when Gallant healthy scratched Pirri in Detroit, the first game he’s missed while on the active roster.

While filling in for injured top six forwards, Pirri was as hot as any player in the NHL, but that dried up in a hurry.

First 9 Games
10 Points (6 Goals, 4 Assists)
4-Game Point Streak (5Pts)12/20-12/27
5-Game Point Streak (8Pts) 12/30-1/11
2 Game-Winning Goals
2 Power Play Goals
29 Shots on Goal (3.22 per game)
+10 Rating
9 Games Played
Team Record 6-1-2

Last 9 Games
2 Points (1 Goal, 1 Assist)
0 Point Streaks
0 Game-Winning Goals
0 Power Play Goals
19 Shots (2.38 per game)
2 Games With No Shots on Goal
-4 Rating
8 Games Played/1 Healthy Scratch
Team Record 3-5-0 *Healthy Scratch 1-0-0

As you can see, the 27-year-old forward’s production has dipped significantly. If he’s not adding offense, he’s hard-pressed to find a place in the lineup. Neither the club or the player wants that. If Pirri continued his point pace, it solves a roster spot, adds desperately needed third line scoring, and the flexibility to pass on a possible rental at the deadline. But if he doesn’t, because he doesn’t kill penalties, he’s not used in a defensive role, and he often can’t be trusted to help protect a lead, George McPhee might be forced to find a replacement.

I feel like Nashville and Winnipeg will be the most aggressive. Then I would rank it Vegas next, Calgary, followed by San Jose. -Pierre LeBrun, TSN Winnipeg

First 9 Games This Season
16.5 Shifts Per Game
127:42 Total Minutes
14.5 Minutes Per Game

Last 9 Games This Season
18 Shifts Per Game
107:45 Total Minutes
13:43 Minutes Per Game

It’s clear the team was giving him every opportunity to produce but may have been frustrated after Pirri’s last two performances. Against Florida and Tampa, the third line winger had a combined zero shots on net. Zero.

If a scoring forward isn’t scoring that’s one problem, but when he’s not generating shots it’s hard to justify being in the everyday lineup. Which is why Pirri watched from the press box in Detroit.

Is it bad puck luck? Did he need a night off, and Gallant recognized it? Maybe, but whatever the reason, Pirri is struggling and the team has 17 days to find out if he’s a full-time player. Heck, maybe the team likes what they’re seeing from Valentin Zykov. Either way, if Pirri can’t get back to form and add offense then there’s a good chance the bottom six gets addressed.

I’d take the paycheck but I’m glad I’m not an NHL GM.




Top Line Reboot


  1. Knight 2 remember

    you left out the real reason. Pirri was working great with the second line, then the first line when Smith was out. Then, he was put on the 3rd line with nobody to set him up with a pass. He does not mesh well with Eakin, but 67 does…..THAT is why he went dry. Pirri should be back with Tuch and Stastny, and Patches should be put back with Eakin, as they worked well together when Stastny was out. But ego and contracts always take precedence, not the good of the team, so Turk has 2 scoring lines instead of three.

    • 6 of Pirri’s last 8 games were played on the 1st line with Marchessault and Karlsson. (Worst 6 games that line has probably ever had.)

  2. Bent Hermit

    Smith has been the playmaker for the 1st line so when they put Pirri on that line it wasn’t a surprise that they didn’t play good. Pirri is not a playmaker. He’s like Patches in that he finds the open space and shoots. The beginning of last season they tried Eakin with Smith on the 1st line and that was a big failure. So again no surprise that Smith, Eakin and Pirri didn’t work. If Haula isn’t coming back this year then they need to figure out a way to get Pirri and Eakin going if they don’t want to have to make a trade. Because let’s be honest Carp, Lindberg and Nosek aren’t going score. I don’t think Smith or Patches are moving off their lines. So that leaves Tuch and Zykov. If you’re looking for balance and scoring with the top 3 lines then I think Tuch might be the guy. He’s a playmaker, which both Eakin and Pirri need, and he has chemistry with both of them. They could then put Zykov on the 2nd as the power forward. He’s not going to be as good as Tuch but it would get the 3rd rolling and save the need to make a trade.

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