It has been an eventful 24 hours for the Blackhawks with the trade deadline looming on Wednesday. Brandon Pirri was traded for a third and a fifth round draft pick on Sunday. Brandon Bollig signed a three-year extension Monday morning.
Pirri led the AHL in scoring last season and had brief chances with the Blackhawks this season. He was supposed to be the second line center of the future, but struggles in his defensive game kept him out of favor with Joel Quenneville. Pirri didn’t have a spot in the long-term plans of the team so they sent him to familiar trading partner Florida.
The Bollig extension is a three-year, $3.75 million deal. He has dressed in every game this year and has settled on a line with Marcus Kruger and Ben Smith. Quenneville has showed trust in the line shutting down teams best forwards.
I’m not a huge fan on either move but not going to overreact like some fans are doing on Twitter. The Blackhawks have not only built one of the most talented NHL rosters in the league, but they have also done a masterful job drafting and developing a promising group of prospects. Pirri was part of that group and fans were looking forward to see him develop on the big club on a line with Patrick Kane. Jeremy Morin is another player who would probably play on most NHL teams, but is stuck in the minors with the Blackhawks organization. Many Blackhawks fans want to see Morin get a chance and are frustrated that Bollig has a spot in the every night lineup.
However, I can’t get too angry about these moves. The Blackhawks are arguably the favorites to win the Stanley Cup. Trading a minor leaguer that was going to leave in the summer and resigning a fourth liner doesn’t impact the team short term. If the Blackhawks make a deep playoff run, their best players will have to step up. Judging by the past playoff performances, they are capable of winning their third championship in five seasons.