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Top 40 Countdown: No. 16

Shortly before the 2017-18 season began, the young man who owns the No. 16 spot on our Chicago Wolves Top 40 Countdown, presented by Jewel-Osco, told his agent to find a way to get him on the Chicago Wolves roster.

That young man, Brandon Pirri, wanted to work in the toddlin’ town he has called home for years — and his choice turned out to be a great thing for the Wolves over the last three seasons.

During his first season with the Wolves, Pirri stacked up a career-high 29 goals in just 57 games. Perhaps a bigger highlight: he and his wife, Elyse, welcomed their son, Luca, into the world. At the end of the season, Pirri also was recalled from loan by the Vegas Golden Knights…and he gave them a taste of his talents with three goals in two games.

Then came the 2018-19 season. While the Wolves defended their Central Division title and climbed all the way to the Calder Cup Finals, Pirri only helped the first half of the season. Shortly before Christmas, he led the AHL in scoring with 17 goals and 24 assists in just 28 games. That earned Pirri another recall from Vegas, where he scorched the nets for eight goals in his first 11 games and earned an NHL spot for the rest of the year.

Pirri returned to the Wolves midway through the 2019-20 season and stacked up 15 goals and 20 assists in 38 games before the season was canceled due to COVID-19. In the offseason, Pirri was traded to the Blackhawks, which enabled the Toronto native to stay in his favorite city.

During his tenure with the Wolves, he stacked up 62 goals and 67 assists in just 124 games — one of the highest goals-per-game and points-per-game rates in franchise history.

Want to enjoy more of the countdown?

No. 40: Gage Quinney
No. 39: Tim Breslin
No. 38: Nathan Oystrick
No. 37: Ben Simon
No. 36: Curtis McKenzie
No. 35: Kamil Piros
No. 34: Mark Mancari
No. 33: Simon Gamache
No. 32: Guy Larose
No. 31: Wade Megan
No. 30: Shane Harper
No. 29: Michael Davies
No. 28: Karl Stewart
No. 27: Cory Larose
No. 26: Pat Cannone
No. 25: Brian Wiseman
No. 24: Colin Stuart
No. 23: Brian Noonan
No. 22: Tim Bergland
No. 21: Joey Crabb
No. 20: Jordan Lavallee-Smotherman
No. 19: Dan Currie
No. 18: Dan Plante
No. 17: Bob Nardella