Friday, September 10, 2010

Hawks go Pirri on the Potulny

Brandon Pirri and Ryan Potulny

The Blackhawks made two pretty tame signings in the last two weeks, inking prospect Brandon Pirri and former Edmonton center Ryan Potulny to contracts. Normally, these signings aren’t really blips on the radar, but it’s slow in the Hockey world and there isn’t much more to follow in Chicago.

Pirri is a 19 year old, 6’0” 160 lb, center from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, and former second round draft pick, from 2009. The Hawks signed him to a 3 year entry level deal, last weekend, worth an anual cap hit of $648,333, according to Red Rising Blog. Not a great deal is known about him, but his scouting report says the following:
"His puck handling and play making skills are by far his strongest attributes as he combines both of them with excellent decision making. He is a good skater and can beat a defender one on one at either full speed of half speed."
Sounds to me like a Steve Sullivan type of player, which worked well here in Chicago. Sullivan was shorter in stature, but also weighs in about 12 lbs heavier. Pirri has been a very successful goal scorer at every level, which is promising. I would expect to see him playing in Rockford, but if things don’t pan out right away, he could end up in the CHL with the Saginaw Spirits. The past two training camps he has been pointed out as a bright spot, so I’m hoping he’ll be playing in "The A" this winter. My gut feeling is that he’ll be an NHL player in a year or two, after he bulks up, a little.

Potulny was a bit of a surprise, but not really what I'd call shocking. I guess Bowman saw something in that Oiler team that he wanted to bring to Chicago, although it wasn't wins. He signed a cheap 2-way deal that really isn't any risk to the Hawks. If he works out, he'll be a bargain 3rd or 4th line center, and if he doesn't, he'll be a productive character player in Rockford. Potulny is a 26 year old, former third round pick of the Flyers in 2003. The guy has been a standout at all the lower levels, and scored 38 goals in his last full AHL season. Last season, with Edmonton, he had 15 goals and 32 points for an injury ravaged and talent depleted Oiler team. Of course, someone had to eventually score for that team, and Potulny did a time or two. Even though he's a center, he's roughly the same size, and his numbers look slightly better than the numbers Patrick Sharp put up in the Philly system, before he came to Chicago. I'm by no means calling him the next Sharpie, but he has a knack for the net, and some penalty killing speed. Ladd, and Sharpie were once unknown players who broke through here, so lets hope Mr. Potulny can, too.

Here is a little spin-o-rama goal from a shootout in the AHL, last year

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