Summer is over and the New York Rangers have gotten back to work. It was a long summer if you were a Rangers fan since they were embarrassed in the first round by the eventual Stanley Cup champions the Pittsburgh Penguins.
The Rangers got busy in the off-season to retool the team and give it a different look. They traded away Derick Brassard, they signed Michael Grabner and Nathan Gerbe and they let Keith Yandle walk. The best signing in my mind was that of Brandon Pirri. A versatile hockey player who has speed, can create plays and more importantly put the puck in the back of the net. The other magnificent thing, he’s only 25.
Pirri is considered to be one of the under the radar type guys who may give you great production and also not. After one preseason game, Pirri is the real deal as far as being one of the best free agent signings the Rangers did this off-season. He has a multitude of talent and he showed it in the preseason game vs the New York Islanders Tuesday night at Madison Square Garden.
On what looked to be an unbelievable power play unit for the Rangers, Pirri used his speed a passing skills to set up a beautiful power-play goal for fellow new comer Mika Zibenejad. He showed his skill. When I asked head coach Alain Vigneault about Pirri’s play in the game, it was nothing but high praise, “I thought he had a really strong game. He is one of those versatile players who can play more than one position and I really like his skill set”.
Indeed, Pirri has a skill set and could be a force this season for the Rangers. Last season, Pirri played in 61 games and registered 14 goals and 15 assists. He missed a few games after he was dealt to the Anaheim Ducks from the Florida Panthers because there was no room in the lineup. Its beyond mind boggling there was no room for him. Granted it was one preseason game last night but he seemed comfortable. I have a feeling we’ll be hearing Sam Rosen mention his name a lot during this upcoming season.
If Pirri somehow doesn’t make this team out of training camp, then I’d have to question the judgment of both the coaching staff and the general manager because this kid has serious talent that not a lot of people get to pick up on and that’s due in part to being in Florida last year and barely getting a chance within a stacked Chicago Blackhawks team he started with.