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)
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
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.