Less than two weeks after losing forward Jerry D'Amigo, another crack in the foundation is looming for the RPI Engineers.
Sources tell Yahoo! Sports that star centre Brandon Pirri is set to play with the Rockford IceHogs in the AHL this season and that he has already agreed in principal to a three-year entry level contract with the Chicago Blackhawks. Like D'Amigo, the signing would end his NCAA eligibility after one season with the Eastern College Athletic Conference school located in Troy, New York.
The news comes less than two weeks after RPI lost ECAC rookie of the year D’Amigo -- who left the school after signing a contract with the Toronto Maple Leafs. Right-winger Jordan Watts also left the program recently over ice time and transferred to Division III Adrian College.
According to sources, Pirri has already told RPI head coach Seth Appert of his intention to leave school and sign with the Blackhawks.
Appert did not reply to an email request for an interview.
Pirri was the team’s second leading scorer behind Chase Polacek, with 11 goals and 32 assists for 43 points in 39 games. The Toronto native was drafted in the second round, 59th overall, by the Blackhawks in the 2009 season. It was thought that Pirri might have joined the Ontario Hockey League’s Saginaw Spirit – who hold his junior rights -- this season, but the Blackhawks appear to be giving a number of their young, talented prospects a shot at pro hockey.
The 6-foot, 170 pound forward was the second line centre at RPI and is a talented playmaker, who was among the top scorers in the ECAC.
Sunaya Sapurji is the Jr. Hockey Editor at Yahoo! Sports.
You can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org and on Twitter @SunayaS.