from Ted Kulfan of the Detroit News,
Expected to be a key part of the second line, part of a group that would be needed to provide secondary scoring, Hirose has been largely silent. In 21 games, Hirose has seven points (two goals, five assists) with a minus-9 rating, and has been a healthy scratch five times.
The late-season surge Hirose showed in March, after signing as an undrafted free agent out of Michigan State, just hasn’t yet been duplicated.
“With Taro’s size and speed, he has to really learn how to be unbelievably crafty,” Blashill said. “It’s hard for him because he’s getting outmuscled (along the walls). He has to find ways to be unbelievably crafty to make sure he keeps possession of the puck. That’s something that takes time.
“He’s somebody, if he’s anything, he’s going to be an offensive player. (And) he’s a very smart player, smart defensively. I never have any worries putting him on the ice against anybody.”
Specifically on the power play, in the season’s opening weeks, Hirose was making similar plays to last March, finding teammates for quality scoring chances.
But this season, unlike last, the pucks didn’t go in the net.