During the holidays, a conversation got going about Jean-Francois Jacques and his AHL success, and using that as a backdrop to compare his boxcars to Tyler Pitlick. I think the key difference in the two rookies is how they were used.
If we break each player’s rookie season down into disciplines we get this:
Jacques as an AHL rookie by discipline:
overall: 65, 24-20-44
EVENS: 65, 11-10-21
PP: 65, 13-9-22
PK: 65, 0-1-1
Pitlick as an AHL rookie by discipline:
overall: 62, 7-16-23
EVENS: 62, 4-13-17
PP: 62, 3-3-6
PK: 62, 0-0-0
I don’t see a tremendous difference at even strength, and you can’t blame a guy for not getting PP opportunities. This season, Pitlick’s quality of ice has been cut back even more, because the lockout dumped minutes eaters like Jordan Eberle and Taylor Hall in the collective laps of these prospects. In an ordinary season, those two plus maybe Hartikainen are in the NHL, so Pitlick would be getting the push.
I think its too early to give up on him, and expressed it here.
- 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.
Worthy of a follow: @tweetneal and @Artful_Puck who are sending great info about OKC Barons our way daily. Terrific and worthwhile blogs too (you can click through from their twitter page). Anyway, via Patricia at Artful Puck comes news the Barons have called up Erick Lizon, who is a fair comp for Ogie Ogilthorpe. Suspect this has to do with all of the kneeing and targeting of Hall/Eberle that’s been going on lately.
I don’t know where Pitlick and Hamilton and even Martindale will play tonight–Martindale may not play, he often doesn’t–but I do think we need to wait and see what they do with 500 at-bats before throwing them overboard.
Even if that means waiting until next season when the NHL is back in session.