It is time for our annual discussion about Tyler Pitlick. When we last left the conversation, I was saying this blog will be the last outpost to give up on him—while acknowledging that the injury history and stalled offense made it probable he would not return. Incredibly, both Pitlick and the Oilers are willing to risk another winter on each other—and from the team point of view there are some good reasons for the investment.
TYLER PITLICK 14-15
- 5×5 points per 60: 0.58
- 5×4 points per 60: 0.00
- Qual Comp: 16th toughest competition among all forwards (fourth line)
- Qual Team: 11th best teammates among all forwards (fourth line)
- Corsi for 5×5 %: 50.4%
- Corsi for 5×5 % REL: 9.9
- Zone Start: 40.2%
- Shots on goal/percentage: 18 shots/11.1%
- Boxcars: 17GP, 2-0-2 .118
- (All numbers via Stats.HockeyAnalysis.com and BehindtheNet.ca)
This is Pitlick in the NHL in 2014-15, showing a reasonable possession number (very small sample size) and an inability to take advantage of the weak opponent offensively. Team game of course, but you would like that number to be stronger (5×5/60) based on opponent.
PITLICK PER 82 AHL GAMES: 12-24-36
These are Prospects Stats numbers, and Pitlick—when healthy—outperformed a rather tame group of offensive wingers. If we add Taylor Beck, things take on a slightly different view:
Pitlick’s offensive numbers are not far from Beck, and I believe both men will be in the mix for NHL time in 2016-17. One reason Beck could end up playing more than Pitlick? Injury. It is a major factor whenever we discuss this player.
TYLER PITLICK BAKERSFIELD RE: 40GP, 10-10-20 .500
TYLER PITLICK NHL RE 16-17: 10GP, 1-0-1
- What will his role be in Bakersfield? He will play 2 or 3line, but he does have offensive ability at this level. Last season, among those men who played RW some or all of the time, the estimated Primary points-per-60: Tyler Pitlick (1.906), Andrew Miller (1.814), Matt Ford (1.71), Anton Slepyshev (1.502), Greg Chase (1.439).
- Where do you project him on the depth chart? For me, the non-NHL depth chart is about even between Pitlick, Taylor Beck and Iiro Pakarinen. The possibility exists that all three will be pushed to Bakersfield by Jordan Eberle, Nail Yakupov, Jesse Puljujarvi and Zack Kassian. Anton Slepyshev can push all of the AHL crew down the depth chart if he plays as many believe he can.
- What has changed since his draft day? Pitlick turned pro in 2011 fall, one year after he was drafted. Since then, he has played (combined leagues) 62, 44, 49, 31 and 37 games in total over those five seasons. Injuries have been such a big part of his career it is really impossible to project him as a player.
- What does Pitlick need to work on? Staying healthy and being consistent. Pitlick has a nice range of skills and if he could just plant an entire year we might be talking about the future with some confidence.
- What one thing will get Pitlick to the NHL? I think he needs to prove that there is some offense in his game and that he can stay healthy, while also playing his physical style.
- Anything else? Two things: He always looked like an NHL player to me, and if you count the number of men who emerged this season from the 2010 draft perhaps there is still hope. Among those who did are Alex Petrovic, Calvin Pickard, Oscar Lindberg, Stephen Johns, Bryan Rust, Joonas Donskoi and others. Maybe there is hope for Pitlick, too.
- What will keep him out of the NHL? Two things: Injury and an inability to score. He left junior with some ammo (22 even-strength goals in Medicine Hat) but hasn’t been seen since.
- What does his coach say? Gerry Fleming: When ‘Pitter’ is at his best, he’s on loose pucks, he’s moving his feet, he’s protecting the puck, he’s going to the net. The biggest part of his game is his physicality. He hits like a train, and when he’s hitting and starting and stopping on pucks, he’s an effective player. I think he’s starting to grasp the concept of the way he has to play in order to be effective and that’s using his speed on the outside, protecting the puck, and bringing it to the net. It comes back to his physicality. When he’s finishing his checks, being physical in front of the net, and winning battles in the corners, he can help the team and be an asset.” Source