Tyler Pitlick’s second AHL season has involved a crowded house on the wing, another healthy dose of depth minutes, bad puck luck and a concussion. Can’t wait for the second half!
Tyler Pitlick is starting to remind me of Colin Mcdonald. Don’t know why I didn’t see it before. McDonald was a bigger winger with a big shot and some jam, and the scouting report on draft day said “if he can score goals” he’d be a player. By the time McDonald figured out the American league he was beyond prospect status, and Tyler Pitlick may end up heading down the same road. However, McDonald was 22 as a rookie pro in the AHL (73, 12-11-23) and Pitlick was 19 when his AHL rookie season (62, 7-16-23) began. That is a significant gap in age, and its reasonable to suggest Pitlick has some room to grow.
He does some things that make him unique–bigger body, aggressive, works hard in the corners and he has a very good shot. NHL teams often find roles for such a player, but that solid scoring season in the WHL (22 even strength goals) is miles away. Despite his ranking at #9, Pitlick is the first player on this year’s list who will need a little luck to make the grade.
Summer 2012: #11
Winter 2012: #9
ISS: 20; Redline: 30; Bob McKenzie: 25
- 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.
- Redline: 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.
- 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.”
- Coach Todd Nelson, pre-season: He has to play in a top-six role, that’s where we have him slotted. He might play in a line with Josh Green. We’re just kind of looking at things. To go through our whole lineup you can go through multiple combinations and I don’t think that we’d miss a beat. We’re very deep at forward and having Justin Schultz come help us out on defence is certainly a bonus. Tyler Pitlick, we feel that he’s a top-six guy and he’s going to get an opportunity to prove that and play in that role.
That was September. We are now in November, and the wingers with more points than Pitlick are Jordan Eberle, Taylor Hall, Teemu Hartikainen, Magnus Paajarvi, Dane Byers and Curtis Hamilton. If he returns to health and the lockout ends, there may be time to save this season. If not, we’re probably looking at something resembling a lost season. I still think there’s a player here but the 2012-13 season looks like a doppleganger for one of those “shared AHL teams” the Oilers were farming kids to during the Prendergast era.
I’m encouraged that Jonathan Willis had a helluva tough time sussing out Pitlick too and I generally agree with his take (somewhere between Josh Green and Colby Armstrong). However, Pitlick’s entry level deal is halfway done and lets face it there are prospects ahead of him for the scoring and secondary roles.
- December 2004: G Devan Dubnyk
- December 2005: L Tony Salmelainen
- December 2006: D Jozef Hrabal
- December 2007: G Devan Dubnyk
- December 2008: D Cody Wild
- December 2009: L Teemu Hartikainen
- December 2010: C Anton Lander
- December 2011: R Tyler Pitlick
- December 2012: R Tyler Pitlick
Why then, do I have him at #9?
- TOI and role currently suggests his offensive numbers don’t reflect real ability. The offense this season isn’t terribly askew compared to last season. Pitlick’s even number a year ago (62, 4-13-17 .274ppg) isn’t that far ahead of his current number (14, 0-2-2 .143) and a two assist night in his next game would bring him to level. We don’t have TOI totals, but based on visual evidence I’m going to say he has not taken a step back offensively. His rookie numbers were disappointing, but it was his first season against men. We don’t really know if he could have made a step forward against normal AHL depth. Which leads to….
- Pitlick is the first of the Barons prospects we’ll talk about in the top 20 who are in real danger of losing a full season of development due to the lockout. He wasn’t getting any ab’s in the heart of the order when in the lineup. Damn shame, I wish Pitlick would ask management if he could play in the ECHL in order to get feature minutes because 8 minutes a night again this season isn’t going to do him any good at all.
- Pitlick is a shooter, and despite the wasteland that is his score sheet continues to rip it. So far in his pro career, Pitlick has 156 shots and 7 goals. That’s 4.49%, which is piss poor. How much of that is luck? No clue. However, I think its a reasonable bet that he’ll improve that number as he matures. Pitlick is still a kid, he has time.
The fact that Pitlick is #9–despite a disappointing season + in the AHL–reflects the quality and depth of the current 20 and my belief there’s a player here. “Saw him good” isn’t my lead or fallback position, but I do believe there’s much more here than we’re seeing currently.