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 TSN 1260.
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#51 madjam
October 26 2013, 06:57AM
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Racki wrote:

Apparently no one has told you about the long development curve required for a defenseman. It's stupid to think that Nurse is going to come in at 19 and run the D show here. Comments above just go to show the damned if you do, damned if you don't situation when it comes to deciding if a player should be in the NHL now or not. There may be questions about whether Yak or others were rushed, but the Oilers made the right decision with Nurse by letting him develop where he should develop. The NHL isn't a development league and the Oilers shouldn't potentially hinder one guy's career in a wasted hope to make this team better.

The Oilers need Nurse at around age 23 or so (just to guess), not Nurse at 19. They can't all play at 18, man! That's why he didn't make the team. Ungh. I don't get some of you people.

I don't agree with your analysis. Many young defenceman coming out of junior are playing once again this year successfully and making a difference in a positive way on their teams .Even the years before this . Jones and Ristolainen just for example . He was more ready than some of our other ones . Your thinking is old school , Nurse could not be added because of cap space more than most other excuses . He is already better than most our defenceman as results show us at bottom of league in that department . What"s he going to learn going back to juniour where he dominates once again . To me that represents probably arrested development in some cases . I think your out to lunch on your assessment of defenceman and Nurse in particular .

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#52 abbeef
October 26 2013, 07:07AM
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@Jeremy

You know that Lowe and Coffey played defence right?

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#53 Quicksilver ballet
October 26 2013, 08:21AM
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@Jordan Nugent-Hallkins

Lol. We're talking about the Oilers here. Who on this club would be clearly a step up from Nurse?

I'm thinking he's getting top 3 minutes with this bunch, 18 mins a night till Christmas and then he goes to the World juniors. Give him what he needs. Let him play the game (40 games max) with men for as long as possible before sending him back to play with a bunch of Kids.

Things haven't exactly been all world here without him we can surely see.

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#54 Mullet Man
October 26 2013, 08:33AM
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@Hair bag

Special teams goals and penalty shots do not affect your +/-

Example Omark scores 2 powerplay goals, 1 goal on a penalty shot, 1 even strength goal, = a rating of +1 so far.

However if Omark was on the ice for 2 even strength goals against (-2). He would finish the night with an overall rating of -1

http://theahl.com/stats/game-summary.php?game_id=1011198

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#55 madjam
October 26 2013, 09:25AM
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Jordan Nugent-Hallkins wrote:

QSB, I see your mouth moving but all I hear is 'DURRRRR'. Seriously. Do you really think Nurse playing 8 minutes a night on the 3rd pairing of a bottom feeding NHL team would be better for his development than playing 25 minutes a night - and dominating - at evens, PP and PK in junior?

There's also the fact that the Oilers save a year of his ELC by sending him to junior. We're not winning the cup this year, so why not give ourselves an extra year of Nurse before having to pay him big bucks?

Good gr- I mean, hogwash!

Are you naïve enough to think he would only play 8 minutes a night on third pairing when our top defenceman do not offer what he did . He was sent back early so as they could give more time to incumbents . It's hypothetical either way , but I believe if we had kept him for a nine game stint that we might quite likely have had 3 more wins at this stage , and at least been in competitive position at this stage . At ninth game we may have decided we were better off keeping him . You look at our current record on defence , worst in league , and I doubt that he would not have made us more better . It could not only have been beneficial to keep him at least for nine game stint , from what I have seen of him and with our early bad results , I feel it would have been beneficial for club and his development .

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#56 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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#57 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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#58 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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#59 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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#60 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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#61 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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#62 Hair bag
October 26 2013, 01:27AM
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Rob... wrote:

4 freakin goals for Omark tonight in a 5-4 OKC win and he was -1 on the night. Gosh +/- is a great stat, I sure hope someone uses it to compare players from other teams against the Oilers players again sometime soon.

Is it not impossible for him to be -1 if he had four goals himself and the other team only scored four - the worst he could be is even....maybe that's your point that the stats guy f'ed up.....

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#63 Slats
October 26 2013, 08:19AM
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Lowetide wrote:

I would take Monahan. that's not a shot at Nurse, who I like a lot. Monahan was ranked higher at the draft and imo has maintained that position.

on the other hand, Nurse has 2 goals tonight for SSM :-)

I was hoping fLames would some how feaster that pick, we'd take him and trade Gags and Hemsky in summer for stud dman.

. . . .dare to dream . . ..

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#64 Quicksilver ballet
October 26 2013, 08:36AM
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@Jordan Nugent-Hallkins

Everything the kid needs to make real progress is right here in Edmonton. Intense competition, better training/coaching. That's why it was worth keeping him for 35 games before sending him back to the OHL.

I don't deny sending him back is the best thing for him long term, but from the camp he had, how could he have not helped this apple dumpling gang hanging around for a 10 week taste/apprenticeship period. How much worse could it have gotten, 3 points out of last overall without him? One could make a case the Oilers may be doing much better with him in the lineup.

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#65 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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#66 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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#67 Jeremy
October 26 2013, 01:59PM
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Double post

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