Less than a year ago, on draft day, Hawks general manager Stan Bowman was touting Brandon Pirri as his second-line center of the future. But on Sunday, Bowman traded Pirri to Florida for a third-round draft pick this June and a fifth-round pick in 2016.
Pirri, the AHL’s leading scorer last season, had six goals and five assists in 28 games with the Hawks this season, but never showed the all-around game Joel Quenneville wanted to see from him. With highly skilled Teuvo Teravainen in the pipeline, Pirri — a restricted free agent after this season — clearly was no longer a part of the Hawks’ long-term plans.
On Saturday, Bowman spoke highly of Pirri and Jeremy Morin, but said they were still in the minors because there wasn’t a spot for them in the NHL yet.
“I think that’s what we’re trying to do, is give those guys a chance when they’re not in Chicago, to play big minutes and prepare themselves for when the time comes and when they’re here,” Bowman said.
Pirri joins former Hawks prospects Dylan Olsen and Jimmy Hayes in Florida, as well as former Hawks Brian Campbell and Tomas Kopecky. Former Hawks GM Dale Tallon is the Panthers’ GM.