Where to begin?
Forward Brandon Pirri has earned seven points in just six games with the Golden Knights this season. Five goals. Two assists.
Let’s get deeper. His Corsi For in four out of those six games is above 62 percent. His average high-danger goals percentage is 69.5.
Actually... let’s just watch him for a second.
Pirri is 27 years old and has yet to find himself a secure spot on an NHL roster. That has to change. He has to be a Vegas Golden Knight for the long haul.
This isn’t about any of the other players. This isn’t about, “Well, when Pacioretty returns...” or, “Who do you send down to clear waivers?” Frankly, it shouldn’t matter. This is about Pirri’s quality of play every time he’s on the ice.
If anything is holding Pirri back from a more permanent spot on the Vegas roster (and the NHL as a whole), it’s his skills on defense... or lack thereof. Both the forward and Gerard Gallant have admitted that defense isn’t his strong suit. Scoring goals is meaningful, obviously, but in a season that’s seen a lot of defensive struggles, the Golden Knights may want players who can play the full 200 feet.
That’s a fair take, but at this rate, Pirri’s productivity on offense goes above and beyond to the point where it doesn’t matter. Not to mention, Pirri is improving. Against the Los Angeles Kings, the only game that he didn’t earn a point, he forced a turnover that directly led to a Golden Knights goal.
GOAL. Vegas takes advantage of a Kings turnover and Alex Tuch picks up his 13th goal of the season. pic.twitter.com/axJNovMnAR— Ryan Quigley (@RP_Quigs) December 29, 2018
Of course it’s more complicated than just keeping Pirri around. Who would the Golden Knights send down? Oscar Lindberg and Ryan Carpenter are the two popular choices. Lindberg has played well the last 15 games, making things happen on offense with six assists. Perhaps Carpenter would be the odd man out?
Where would Pirri go when Pacioretty returns? It’s been said he can only fit in on the second line, but that’s been said of Pirri as well. No. 67 had great chemistry with Cody Eakin when they were on the same line. Perhaps the third line is the place for him so Pirri can stay on the second line. Then again, putting a goal scorer on a line that isn’t known for goal scoring could provide more depth, so Pirri might work great on the third line.
But we don’t need to justify this to you. Nothing matters except Brandon Pirri. Golden Knights, do the right thing. We’re not begging, but... please?