One year ago, Brandon Pirri was among the Chicago Wolves team leaders in goals, assists, and points. Today, he’s an NHL regular with the Vegas Golden Knights and that is something his former coach and ex-teammates are all rallying around.
Beginning this season with the Wolves in the American Hockey League, Pirri instantly began building off of last year’s strong campaign. His 18 goals and 24 assists led the team at the time of his mid-December call-up to Vegas, and Pirri hasn’t looked back.
In 27 games for the Golden Knights since his promotion, the Toronto, Ontario native Pirri has registered 11 goals and 16 points and his example is a major source for optimism in the Wolves locker room.
“I think everyone in this locker room is happy about the success he’s having right now with Vegas,” said Wolves forward Reid Duke.
Not only has Pirri scored some important goals since his call-up, Wolves head coach Rocky Thompson said he’s been impressed with his 200-foot game and his ability to respond as well.
“He had a little bit of a drought there, but I thought he’s responded really well in the last couple of games,” said head coach Rocky Thompson. “He’s played some really good games, and he’s helped Vegas particularly in their last game get back in the win column. He’s a big piece of their puzzle now.”
“I watch every game that Vegas plays, and we’re very happy for Brandon. We’re very proud of him too because he was here for quite a while with us. And to see one of your players that you’ve grown close with have success is special. He’s got a great family, and he’s got a little boy here, who I think might even be with him over in Vegas.”
But even for those on the Wolves roster who have yet to capitalize on an opportunity with the Golden Knights, Pirri’s success can be a motivating factor. For example, forward Daniel Carr currently leads the Wolves with 30 goals and 71 points through 52 games this season and perhaps another call-up for him could be on the horizon.
Coach Thompson certainly sees a parallel between Carr’s play right now and the play that saw Pirri earn a prolonged opportunity with the Golden Knights. Carr played six games with Vegas in November, but was sent back to the Wolves after only managing a single point during the brief stint.
“He has to do what he’s been doing, just like Brandon [Pirri] did,” Thompson said. “Carrsy’s [Daniel Carr] doing the same thing that Pirri did. And in my opinion, if needed, he can do it. He can actually take that step to the next level. I believe he can.”
Carr and his Wolves teammates would love to join Pirri with the Golden Knights and while the task may seem daunting in the immediate future, their former mate’s success is proof that hard work and perseverance could eventually pay dividends.