#7 Prospect: Tyler Pitlick

Winter 2009: NR
Summer 2010: #4

Winter 2010: #7

Tyler Pitlick has all kinds of positive arrows. He’s a big kid (6.02, 194 according to the WHL website) and has a wide range of skills. Most of the scouting services had him inside the first round for the 2010 draft and the names dropped for comparables (Max Pacioretty) have a nice speed/size/skill resume.

Tyler Pitlick continues the Stu (Magnificent Bastard) MacGregor trend away from Coke Machines (big, sturdy items who may or not be able to play the game at NHL speed) and toward hockey players with size (a better list to draw from for NHL teams). Tyler Pitlick has size and speed, but there’s also a hockey player there.

Pitlick’s pre-draft scouting reports are quality.

  • Redline Report: “Began season playing the wing on a scoring line, but spent the last quarter of the year shouldering more responsibility centering Mankato’s third line. Accelerates briskly out of cross-over and blows by defenders. Has an NHL calibre shot right now. Flashed the ability to power through defenders. Can gain separation in corners with sharp twists and can turn on a dime. Patient playmaker. Long-limbed with farmboy like strength. Aggressive and finished checks. Can shield the puck and work it down low, but often gives it up due to his eagerness to come off the wall and attempt to dance around defenders. Work in progress defensively – will come back deep and battle for the puck but lacks awareness in coverage assignments. Green in many facets and was stuck on a Mankato team that was every man for himself, but was a big-time talent.”
  • Bob McKenzie: “Tyler Pitlick is the nephew of former NHL defenceman Lance Pitlick and scored 11 goals as a freshman at Mankato State University. A late 1991 birthdate, he was an offensive player in the Minnesota high school system but will have to prove he can put up numbers with each step up in competition, but he plays a solid enough all-around game to garner first round consideration.”
  • ISS: “A big hard-nosed centerman who can play with finesse and power. It’s that combination of skill and brawn that makes Pitlick such an intriguing prospect. … His hands are quick and smart and he moves the puck quickly with good accuracy. He plays smart all over and shoots the puck very well, with his feet moving.”

In moving Pitlick behind Marincin and Hamilton, much of it has to do with his offense. Early in the season, Pitlick wasn’t helping much and although he’s improved a great deal lately there’s still some questions about how much he’ll score.

When he was drafted, a lot of the information that was made available implied he didn’t get much playing time. However, his early WHL boxcars (21gp, 11-12-23 +4) suggest he may not be an offensive juggernaut. If we post his Desjardins numbers by season (last year’s NCAA season and his current WHL season) we get this per 82gp:

  • Age 17 (NCAA) 11-7-18
  • Age 18 (WHL) 13-14-27

Desjardins NHLE’s in the range among Oiler prospects who played in the CHL as 18-year olds: Toni Rajala (11-15-26), Phil Cornet (11-17-28) and Jordan Eberle (14-16-30). Pitlick still has time and he is definitely improving (in his last 7 games, Pitlick is 7-4-11, +5) but I’m not certain that his offense last season was mostly due to lack of playing time.

One of the ways we can read him offensively is to see when he’s posting offense. If Pitlick isn’t getting a lot of playing time with the man advantage, then his EV number should be strong and therefore his potential would/could be higher.

  • EVS: 21gp: 9-9-18 (.857)
  • PP: 21gp, 2-3-5 (.238)
  • PK: 21gp, 0-0-0 (.000)

That’s a pretty fair EV number. Hamilton (.840) has a similar number. Hmmm. Let’s take a look at the other Medicine Hat skill forwards and see what they’re doing at even strength:

  1. Linden Vey 24gp, 11-16-27 (1.125)
  2. Tyler Pitlick 21gp, 9-9-18 (.857)
  3. Emerson Etem 24gp, 8-9-17 (.708)
  4. Ryan Harrison 24gp, 6-11-17 (.708)
  5. Hunter Shinkaruk 22gp, 5-9-14 (.636)
  6. Wacey Hamilton 24gp, 5-10-15 (.625)

Hmmm again. MBS should just fly to Vegas. He’d own the team by midnight.

There’s a very interesting article on Pitlick here. Anyone looking into the NCAA-CHL battle should read Pitlick’s viewpoint. Here’s one on how he is adjusting to the different styles of play between the two leagues.

No word yet on Pitlick’s chances on making the American squad for this year’s World Junior championships in Buffalo. I’d have to think he has a good chance to make the team in a checking role.

One item that I find interesting is Pitlick’s on again, off again time at center. In the NCAA he spent much of the season on RW, then moved over for (as Redline stated above) the last quarter of the season. This year, he’s also playing on the wing to start the year. It’ll be interesting to see if he moves over to C as the season rolls along.

Pitlick took a lot of shots on goal in the NCAA, but the WHL doesn’t release that information. It causes reefer madness.

If there’s one player I can see getting fast-tracked from the 2010 draft group (aside from Hall) it’s this guy. If he can establish himself as a 2-way player in a tough league like the WHL I think they might take a long look at him next fall.

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