FINALLY!

Lowetide
October 25 2013 05:07PM

 

I've written an article about Tyler Pitlick over 40 times since he was drafted, which means I'm either diligent or a sucker for punishment. Pitlick's career progression is a reminder for all of us: these prospects rarely go in a straight line, and sometimes they lose one or two useful things along the way. 

Pitlick had a solid year in Medicine Hat, then turned pro in the fall of 2011. Pitlick's AHL career (113, 11-25-36) didn't give us much to talk about in terms of an NHL future, but the scouting reports always said "he'll play in the NHL" and he "has size and speed." 

In conversations with various Barons onlookers over the last 2+ seasons, I've been able to cobble together a vision of him as a player in my mind's eye: The coach and management always liked the player, his physical style and effort, but the results lagged and overall the performance left them wanting. These are my words, but that's the thrust of what I've been told many times in these months. 

A NEW SET OF EYES

Part of Pitlick's problem was offense, and his shooting percentage has been butt ugly since turning pro:

  • 2011-12: 7 goals on 130 shots (5.38 shooting percentage)
  • 2012-13: 3 goals on 76 shots (3.95 shooting percentage)
  • 2013-14: 1 goal on 10 shots (10.00 shooting percentage)

Pitlick shoots the puck from anywhere past center ice, and I think that's a major reason for his low pro percentages. This begs the question: why on earth doesn't he get closer before shooting? That might be the key to unlocking him offensively in pro hockey. 

The big break for Pitlick happened this training camp, when Dallas Eakins (who himself has been coaching AHL players for some time) saw the size/speed in Pitlick and liked him right away. 

  • Eakins: "I keep trying to send him down and he keeps playing like that. Every time I turned around he was running into somebody. I grabbed him after the second period and asked him if he wanted to play in the NHL because if he keeps playing like that, it won't be too long until he is. He needs to keep the fire lit and he bought himself another game tomorrow."

If there's one thing the recall of Pitlick shows all of the men in the AHL playing for the Barons, it's this: work your ass off, because the coach notices. What kind of inspiration does that represent for Martin Marincin or Ryan Martindale or Curtis Hamilton? One of their own--a guy drafted the same years as they were taken--is in the NHL. 

WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN?

Way back on June 26, 2010, Robin Brownlee had the story. Pitlick: "I'm a big guy who's not afraid to use his body. I make a lot of hits and stuff like that, but I've also got some skill to make plays and score goals, so..."

Tyler Pitlick made it to the NHL, age 21. After 28 months as an Oiler curio, he's an overnight sensation. And an inspiration. 

(Photos of Pitlick by Rob Ferguson, all rights reserved)

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Lowetide has been one of the Oilogosphere's shining lights for over a century. You can check him out here at OilersNation and at lowetide.ca. He is also the host of Lowdown with Lowetide weekday mornings 10-noon on Team 1260.
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#51 Jordan Nugent-Hallkins
October 26 2013, 09:30AM
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@madjam

No way Nurse singlehandedly wins us those 3 games. Is he gonna score three goals a game for us?

Dubnyk still would've been a seive, Yak would still be struggling, Hall would've still been a turnover machine. One rookie defenseman wouldn't have changed any of that.

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#52 oilerman53
October 26 2013, 09:35AM
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Jeremy wrote:

Dude, you lost me at Sutton on top line. Lol. Seriously, lol. And the "motives" of management? Huh? Really?

Having a guy like Sutton play top line minutes isn't out of the realm of possibility for a team that once put Lennart Petrell up there. A monstrous guy who is known as a fringe goon type player protecting our two top guys isnt a bad idea. I know I wouldnt like to be a goalie having to look around Sutton during an attack. And for some reason he was taking more offensive risks during his time here and made some good rushes. I guess were the smartest team ever in pro sports, smarter then a Chicago Bears team who put in a coke machine sized lineman to punch in footballs from two yards out. Guys playing outside their comfort zone doesnt apply to a team thats been seven years in the toilet. Were just not willing to take the risks.

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#53 Jordan Nugent-Hallkins
October 26 2013, 09:41AM
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oilerman53 wrote:

Having a guy like Sutton play top line minutes isn't out of the realm of possibility for a team that once put Lennart Petrell up there. A monstrous guy who is known as a fringe goon type player protecting our two top guys isnt a bad idea. I know I wouldnt like to be a goalie having to look around Sutton during an attack. And for some reason he was taking more offensive risks during his time here and made some good rushes. I guess were the smartest team ever in pro sports, smarter then a Chicago Bears team who put in a coke machine sized lineman to punch in footballs from two yards out. Guys playing outside their comfort zone doesnt apply to a team thats been seven years in the toilet. Were just not willing to take the risks.

A motivated Penner could've been perfect there. Pancake and donair jokes, and whatnot.

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#54 15w40
October 26 2013, 09:42AM
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The same people that are complaining about sending Nurse back to junior and not keeping him here for 35 games are the same people that would be ripping the management for letting him blow his first year of an entry level contract to play half a season.

I'm not an Oilers cheerleader or an apologist for management but there are a few posters on this site that would complain because they didn't win the cup in 4 straight games.

This team has lots of holes and there have been a fair share of missteps in this so-called rebuild.

From my standpoint they still need to make about 5 to six more roster moves to have even a sniff at being a winning franchise.

One or two of #4, #14, #93, #64, or #89 will need to be moved to facilitate this. Arcobello has been a revelation and may also be traded along with a couple of the really promising blueliners that are up and coming.

The roster as it is does not have enough sandpaper and just filling out the 4th line with some to play 6 minutes a night is not enough.

Goaltending is still a question mark. Lots of work left to do for sure.

IMHO.

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#55 madjam
October 26 2013, 09:42AM
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Jordan Nugent-Hallkins wrote:

No way Nurse singlehandedly wins us those 3 games. Is he gonna score three goals a game for us?

Dubnyk still would've been a seive, Yak would still be struggling, Hall would've still been a turnover machine. One rookie defenseman wouldn't have changed any of that.

Lets not be ridiculous here , we agree to disagree . Defence is about preventing a goal or two , more so than can he add 3 goals . He was also very adapt at getting puck and transitioning it out of zone far better than most we have on squad now . I feel it was a mistake not to give him a 9 game stint bare minimum .

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#56 Jordan Nugent-Hallkins
October 26 2013, 09:46AM
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@madjam

I actually argued in the pre that he should get 9, there we agree. But come on, our GAA is what, over 4? He'd have to be all-world to drop our GAA by one or two. In a couple years, just maybe. But now, as an 18 year old? I don't see it.

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#57 Jordan Nugent-Hallkins
October 26 2013, 10:01AM
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And DSF, you know full well if the Oilers kept Nurse on the big club, you'd be ranting about their poor player management and giving examples of how the top D men in the league all played an extra year in junior/AHL before joining the show.

Good day, sir.

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#58 Jeremy
October 26 2013, 10:09AM
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@abbeef

Yup, hence the comma btw the F, and the period separating them from the D.

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#59 OnlyOil
October 26 2013, 10:12AM
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Joel k wrote:

LT,

A little off topic but if you were asked today if you had a chance to take Monahan or Nurse with your draft pick. Would you pick Monahan 100% ?

Yes we will wait for 5 yrs

We could use both of them really, I think we need a big stud dman worse, so I'm hoping and believe Nurse is that player. Just love how he plays the game.

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#60 OnlyOil
October 26 2013, 10:22AM
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@DSF

No there isn't a LONG list of 18yr old dman in the NHL. It's on thing to play in the NHL and it's another to have an impact. Especially dmen. The oilers did the right thing with Nurse, everybody knows they rushed kids in the past, and I'm glad they didn't with this kid. It's better for the player and the organization. It's about damn time they did the right thing

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#61 Jeremy
October 26 2013, 10:23AM
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15w40 wrote:

The same people that are complaining about sending Nurse back to junior and not keeping him here for 35 games are the same people that would be ripping the management for letting him blow his first year of an entry level contract to play half a season.

I'm not an Oilers cheerleader or an apologist for management but there are a few posters on this site that would complain because they didn't win the cup in 4 straight games.

This team has lots of holes and there have been a fair share of missteps in this so-called rebuild.

From my standpoint they still need to make about 5 to six more roster moves to have even a sniff at being a winning franchise.

One or two of #4, #14, #93, #64, or #89 will need to be moved to facilitate this. Arcobello has been a revelation and may also be traded along with a couple of the really promising blueliners that are up and coming.

The roster as it is does not have enough sandpaper and just filling out the 4th line with some to play 6 minutes a night is not enough.

Goaltending is still a question mark. Lots of work left to do for sure.

IMHO.

You absolutely nailed it, sir.

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#62 DSF
October 26 2013, 11:07AM
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Jordan Nugent-Hallkins wrote:

And DSF, you know full well if the Oilers kept Nurse on the big club, you'd be ranting about their poor player management and giving examples of how the top D men in the league all played an extra year in junior/AHL before joining the show.

Good day, sir.

When did I suggest the Oilers should have kept him on the roster?

I think they made the right decision.

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#63 15w40
October 26 2013, 11:14AM
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@DSF

So then you are arguing for the sake of arguing then?

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#64 Jordan Nugent-Hallkins
October 26 2013, 11:50AM
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15w40 wrote:

So then you are arguing for the sake of arguing then?

Exactly this, not sure why I even responded...

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#65 Romulus' Apotheosis
October 26 2013, 12:23PM
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15w40 wrote:

So then you are arguing for the sake of arguing then?

No. His point isn't that the Oilers made the wrong decision to send him down.

His point is that "He's not good enough."

And, he's absolutely right. You are the one arguing with him, because you are used to arguing with him. It's like a routine.

Where he is dead wrong, though, is his strange and ahistorical sense than it is common for top 10 D draft picks to play in the NHL at Nurse's age.

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#66 Wax Man Riley
October 26 2013, 12:38PM
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Quicksilver ballet wrote:

Coffey and Lowe seemed to do alright. What part of this D grade team in a B market team doesn't scream developmental caliber to you? The goal is still to put more pucks in the opponents goal every night, correct? So don't give me the game has changed BS.

Hall, Hopkins, Gagner, Yakupov....all ready for the show right out of junior. All 18 yrs old, much like Coff and Vicious were. They all made a developing team as well. Ugh, I just don't get some of you people.

Wow you are on fire today, Quicks.

Seriously? I know you can't actually believe what you are writing.

If you think Nurse is better served in the NHL then, man am I glad you have nothing to do with this team.

You named a bunch of forwards that made the NHL at 18. Were they ready for it? Debatable.

Half the reason you are so angry with this team is that they have teenagers running it.

You and DSF are prime examples of the flip-flopping fan base that will dis every decision made by this team, no matter what.

If Nurse was in the NHL you would be complaining that they are rushing him, and if they send him back, you bitch that it is hurting the team.

You've changed man. I don't even know you anymore.

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#67 Jeremy
October 26 2013, 01:59PM
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Double post

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