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Brandon Pirri signs one year deal with the Rangers; A sign of a trade to come?

Bobby Bevilacqua

brandon pirri

Photo courtesy of the Florida Panthers.

Jeff Gorton made another clever depth signing, adding to the already impressive group of forwards he’s assembled. Former Florida Panther Brandon Pirri has inked a one year deal with the Rangers worth $1.1 million, and could factor into the middle of their lineup.

Pirri split time with the Panthers and Ducks this season, scoring 14 goals with 15 assists in a total of 61 games. Back in the 2-14-15 season, he scored an impressive 22 goals in just 49 games, playing mostly with Jimmy Hayes and Vincent Trochek.

It’s important to note that he did bounce around the lineup this past season, never really settling into a set spot on a line or with teammates. He’s not a lock to score 20 goals again, but in a more solidified role, Pirri could see his offensive production increase.

When diving into the more advanced stats, Pirri’s possession and shot suppression numbers are average, nothing super impressive there. But he is truly an elite shooter, scoring at a clip of 1.31 goals per 60 minute, a very high rate. To put that into perspective, Pirri has a higher G/60 rate than Evgeni Malkin, John Tavares, James Neal, Brad Marchand and Zach Parise over the last three years. That’s impressive.

And to top it all off, he’s just 20 days older than Chris Kreider and will be an RFA after this season.

I watched a lot of Florida Panthers games in the 2014-15 season, and Pirri was exciting. The Rangers haven’t really had a guy who will just fling the puck on net, and Pirri loves to shoot. It helps that it’s pretty damn good one at that. Putting him alongside some playmakers like Jimmy Vesey and Kevin Hayes could mean he gets a lot of good looks and a lot of chances to score.

This is a “show me” contract for Pirri. He’s talented and young, but hasn’t really found his way in the league yet. The Rangers could be giving him the chance to prove himself and earn a roster spot on a team that’s full of talent at forward. If he does well, Pirri is an RFA and just 25 years old, which is good news for Gorton trying to sign him to an extension, if he chooses to do that.

The Pirri signing means two things. The first is that Jeff Gorton almost guaranteed another 30 points into the Rangers lineup. That’s something that Pirri is definitely capable of, and a reasonable number to expect from him. But there’s also the potential of him hitting 20 goals again, which is worth a $1.1 million gamble.

The other thing this means is that we can expect a trade in the near future. With 15 or 16 forwards good enough to compete for an NHL spot, Gorton can afford to move some pieces and get some help on defense. There’s the constant talk of Rick Nash being traded, and some recent speculation that Mats Zuccarello could be on the move.

Personally, I don’t expect either of them to be traded. I would expect the Rangers to package two minor forwards, like an Oscar Lindberg, Nicklas Jensen or Jesper Fast, maybe combine that with a guy like Kevin Klein (Girardi and Staal really aren’t moveable), and get someone that can play in their top four.

The Pirri signing alone is exciting, because the Rangers just got ANOTHER young, cost-controlled forward that can help out offensively. But it’s also intriguing because it seems to signal a trade on the horizon…

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Posted on August 25, 2016, in Rangers Updates and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. Strange, but good signing. It could mean one of Hayes, Buchevnich, Pirri or Vesey is moved to the 4th line. Of course, your suggestion of a trade seems plausible, but that remains to be seen. Looks like Pirri is on the 4th line at the outset, not sure what happens after that, but a decent signing none the less.

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  1. Pingback: Reasonable expectations for the Rangers 2016-17 Season |

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