It’s hard to perform any better than Brandon Pirri has when he was finally given an opportunity of late. The veteran forward had nine points in a seven-game stint with the Vegas Golden Knights, including six goals. Still, he’s on his way back to the minor leagues today as the Golden Knights will welcome Max Pacioretty back off of injured reserve. Pirri was still waiver exempt and was the only real choice the team had to make room on the roster unless they wanted to expose another player. That will cost him a job for now, but he’s clearly made an impression on the team. Assistant GM Kelly McCrimmon told David Schoen of the Las Vegas Review-Journal that Pirri “will be back.”
Pirri is one of the most interesting cases of a goal scoring talent that can’t seem to find a home in the entire NHL. Originally a second-round pick by the Chicago Blackhawks in 2009, Pirri went the collegiate route for just one season before jumping straight to professional hockey. He found success immediately at the minor league level and has routinely been among the AHL’s best players whenever he’s there. In fact, through 323 AHL games Pirri has scored 293 points including an incredible 41 in just 28 games this season. The sniper also has produced a fair amount at the NHL level, even posting a 22-goal season in just 49 games for the Florida Panthers in 2014-15.
Still, that offensive upside has come with very real defensive concerns and teams have repeatedly given up on him throughout his career. When he signed a two-way deal with the Golden Knights in 2017, he found himself back in Chicago with the team’s AHL affiliate and worked hard for his recent opportunity. Though being sent down is obviously an obstacle, it’s hard for the team to argue with the production. You can bet with the next injury Vegas suffers Pirri will be back up, perhaps for good this time.
If he plays in three more games with the team, Pirri would need to clear waivers once again. Though it’s obviously possible, given the lack of previous interest around the league, the Golden Knights may not want to risk it.