At 31: Worth the wait?

Robin Brownlee
June 26 2010 01:39PM

LOS ANGELES, CA - JUNE 26: Tyler Pitlick, shakes hands with team personnel on the floor after being drafted in the second round by the Edmonton Oilers on day two of the 2010 NHL Entry Draft at Staples Center on June 26, 2010 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

LOS ANGELES -- The Edmonton Oilers were contemplating selecting a big centre named Tyler going into the NHL Entry Draft. They got him Saturday morning in the form of Tyler Pitlick.

Pitlick, 18, the nephew of former NHLer Lance Pitlick, won't ever be mistaken for silky smooth Tyler Seguin, but the six-foot-two, 195-pound pivot fits the bill for what the Oilers wanted from the 31st pick -- he's big, gritty and has some skill. Not mad skill, but not hands of wood, either.

"I'm a big guy who's not afraid to use his body," Pitlick said. "I make a lot of hits and stuff like that, but I've also got some skill to make plays and score goals, so . . ."

A lot of hockey people projected Pitlick, who is leaving Minnesota State to play for the Medicine Hat Tigers of the WHL next season, as a first-round selection. He was rated 18th among North American skaters by CSS.

That made for a bit of tossing and turning Friday night when he didn't go in the top 30. He's over it.

"I was a little disappointed," Pitlick said. "I was really hoping I would have gone that day, but I'm here today and I went first, so I can't really be too unhappy. I'm excited.

"It was a little tough because I really wanted to go in the first round. It's been a goal of mine since day one, but I'm here now."

With his freshman year at Minnesota State done and a ticket to Medicine Hat for next season already set, Pitlick figures he'll end up challenging for a roster spot with the Oilers sooner than later.

"I'm hoping to take a year," Pitlick said. "It depends on how my season goes next year. Maybe I'll get called up, maybe not. Hopefully, in the next year or so I'll be in the NHL."

Pitlick interviewed with the Oilers at the NHL combine, but he didn't get any real inkling they were after him -- then again, he wasn't expecting to be around when they picked to open the second round.

"Before that, I think I filled out a questionnaire and did a few tests online, but other than that, I really hadn't had too much contact," he said. "It (interview) was pretty much the same as all the other ones. I thought it went well. I felt they definitely showed a little bit of interest."

Pitlick played mostly on the wing for Minnesota State, scoring 11-8-19 with 27 penalty minutes in 38 games. But school, says Pitlick, takes a backseat to hockey, so he's headed to the WHL.

"I think it'll help my offence," Pitlick said. "I didn't show as much offence as I had in the past last year. Being at Medicine Hat, I'll have some help to show a little bit more offence.

"Last year, I was one of the youngest guys in college hockey and I showed a physical presence. It's part of my game . . . it's tough for me to balance hockey and school. Hockey is my main focus, my main passion. It's the only thing I really want to do. I want to play hockey."

Edmonton seems a fit. It's not like Pitlick is looking at a set line-up with the Oilers, even with so many prospects on the way in the next season or two. He'll get a shot.

"It seems like they're trying to build the team and make it better," he said. "We'll see. Hopefully, I can help them out. Hopefully, I can get there as soon as possible."

Listen to Robin Brownlee Wednesdays and Thursdays from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. on the Jason Gregor Show on TEAM 1260.

Aceb4a1816f5fa09879a023b07d1a9b4
A sports writer since 1983, including stints at The Edmonton Journal and The Sun 1989-2007, I happily co-host the Jason Gregor Show on TSN 1260 twice a week and write when so inclined. Have the best damn lawn on the internet. Most important, I am Sam's dad. Follow me on Twitter at Robin_Brownlee. Or don't.
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#1 MattL
June 26 2010, 01:42PM
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Are you filing your CP copy through Oilersnation? Awesome! We need more datelines here...

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#2 Gerald R. Ford
June 26 2010, 03:05PM
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Hey, is that gallery button new? Nifty. Oh, and good pick. Although, he might not have to wait a year, considering our depth chart at centre...

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#3 It's Hall Over!
June 26 2010, 08:26PM
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A big centre added to the depth chart. Maybe Nate Full of Hate has stopped crying.

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#4 WallyWallcakes
June 27 2010, 09:26AM
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Let's see how he transitions from college to the 'Dub.

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#5 Robin Brownlee
June 27 2010, 09:31AM
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WallyWallcakes wrote:

Let's see how he transitions from college to the 'Dub.

I believe you're going to be pleasantly surprised with what he does in Medicine Hat.

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#6 RossCreekNation
June 27 2010, 10:40AM
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Robin Brownlee wrote:

I believe you're going to be pleasantly surprised with what he does in Medicine Hat.

Yeah, I'm thinking they got themselves a bit of a steal with him. Not necessarily 1st liner steal, but a steal nonetheless... like getting Jarret Stoll 36th. He should be a player.

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#7 Homie
June 27 2010, 10:18PM
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Great pic at 31. I was afraid that they were going to take McFarland, but Pitlick should turn out to be a good pro. Look forward to seeing him in the dub this year.

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