Ahhh, the old Blackhawks connection strikes again. Its scored the Panthers quite a few names, including Tomas Kopecky, Brian Campbell, Dylan Olsen, Kris Versteeg, Jack Skille and Jimmy Hayes. You can now add Brandon Pirri to that long list, as Panthers GM Dale Tallon swung a deal to acquire the 22-year-old center from the Chicago Blackhawks in exchange for a third-rounder in 2014 and a fifth-rounder in 2015. Pirri was a second-round selection in the 2009 NHL Draft for the Blackhawks, which was Tallon's last draft in the Chicago front office.
Pirri is a young center who has played some dominant minutes at the AHL level the last couple of seasons. He's stuck behind an absurdly-deep NHL talent pool in Chicago, and likely would be toiling away in the AHL for the next couple of seasons. This is a pretty low-risk deal for the Panthers as Tallon can restock several of those picks in the supposedly upcoming "firesale" of the team, and Pirri is a talented player who should compliment the upcoming talent in the Panthers lineup quite nicely. As always, the jury's out until we see Pirri suit up and contribute, but at the moment this looks like a good deal for the Cats.
In the final year of his current deal, Pirri is set to become an RFA after this season ends. The Panthers will have an opportunity to sign him for reasonable value, or use his rights to sweeten another larger trade. My guess is that with the youth movement, Pirri stays with the Cats and competes for a job come training camp next fall. The Blackhawks, with next to no cap room at the moment, free up some cash in the offseason to sign other important pieces, something they might not have been able to do with Pirri. In exchange, they bolster their draft pick pool for the next two seasons and keep filling that endless pipeline of talent they seem to have.
In another minor deal, the Panthers sent forward Eric Selleck to the St. Louis Blues in exchange for forward Mark Mancari. Selleck will report to the St. Louis AHL affiliate in Chicago, while Mancari will likely suit up for San Antonio in the short term.
Update: In an AHL deal, defenseman Doug Janik was sent to the Chicago Wolves for future considerations.