The Kids Are Alright

This is Tyler Pitlick in a Medicine Hat Tiger uniform. The town gave us Lanny McDonald, Donny Murdoch, the Gassoffs, Ken Holland, Jim Nill, Tom Lysiak, Pete Peeters, Jay Bouwmeester and the legend that is Stan Weir; how is Pitlick doing in the town where you cannot get a ticket to a game?

Throughout the season I’ll post updates on prospects and see how they’re progressing. I’ll pick between 5-10 whose arrows are heading one way or another. Around Christmas, I’ll post my annual top 20 (both here and at the LT blog). One thing is already clear: despite the trio of prospects who made the grade this fall, there’s still plenty bubbling under.

  • Tyler Pitlick, Medicine Hat (WHL): At first blush (5gp, 2-0-2 -5) Pitlick’s numbers are poor, but the entire team appears to be struggling. Emerson Etem (5gp, 2-0-2 -4) scored 37 goals a year ago and the entire team is averaging just 2.4 a game so far (3.83 a year ago). If Pitlick is still struggling a month from now we’ll have a story, but based on his TC with the big club there’s likely not much to be concerned with in regard to Pitlick.
  • Anton Lander, Timra (SEL): A couple of things. We need to remember that this player is in a pro league, so the offensive numbers are never going to be eye-popping compared to junior numbers. Also, his resume reads like a modern Doug Jarvis so there’s much more than boxcar numbers when it comes to evaluating him. With that in mind, I’ll lead with his time-on-ice: 17:39. That’s impressive for a kid who is barely shaving (although he was at about the same number a year ago). His offense (9gp, 1-3-4 E) is solid too. Nice range of skills, described as a "responsible player".
  • Martin Marincin, Prince George (WHL). Marincin’s numbers (7gp, 2-2-4 -1) include both goals on the PP and an impressive 17PIMS. His 4 points is tied for the league lead among rookie defensemen. A very nice start for the lanky kid from Slovakia.
  • Ryan Martindale, Ottawa (OHL). A solid start (5gp, 3-3-6 E) has him 2nd in team scoring. This is his 4th OHL season (Martindale has played in over 200 games in the OHL, including playoffs) and should post excellent offensive numbers this season.
  • Curtis Hamilton, Saskatoon (WHL). The most impressive start in the group (7gp, 4-7-11 +6) has me thinking MBS may have done it again. Hamilton is healthy, playing at a new level (first time above a point-per-game in the dub) and ranks in the top 10 in league scoring.
  • Toni Rajala, Ilves Tampere (SM-Liiga). Scoring well (5gp, 2-4-6 -1) and appears to be on a feature line. He did play in their most recent game and was productive, this appears to be a much better offensive player than Jani Rita or Tony Salmelainen at the same age. Rita at 19 (same league) went 50gp, 5-10-15 and Salmelainen (same league) at 19 went 26gp, 3-10-13. Rita played on the more gifted offensive team, too. Anyway, Rajala looks like he might be a player. And of course we don’t have TOI for each player. Either way, he’s tracking well.

Next week I’ll have a look at the Oklahoma City Barons. They played last night and were clubbed by Houston. Teemu Hartikainen scored, Shawn Belle was +1 (tough to do in a 6-1 loss) but there were lots of negatives (Vande Velde -3, Gerber’s SP was .769). Having said that, one game is a very small sample size so we’ll give it the week.

    • ubermiguel

      Strictly defensive forward (i.e.: not awesome offensively too like Kurri)? He’s probably the best. MacT was great too. Those two could win the draw or pin the other team in their own end with a smart forecheck. I can’t remember too many others like that. Never saw Linseman play. Stoll had his moments.

  • NoPantsTuesday

    I’m really interested in the dynamics between Lander and Paajarvi. I never followed how Timra did, but does anybody know if these two played on the same line much? And if so how did they fare together?

  • Max Powers - Team HME Evans

    Is the best defensive forward Edmonton has ever dressed Todd Marchant? Maybe. I think he could be. I’m sure Jari Kurri would generate some debate though, I heard he was pretty underrated. I never actually watched any games from the 80’s so it’s tough to really understand how good/bad defensively some of the older guys were, like Esa Tikkanen. I did watch a lot of Marchant though and he was probably the best since I’ve been watching. Mike Grier would get an honorable mention.

  • Lowetide

    Actually, the year the Oilers put Marchant on the 1line he had 50 points (or maybe I’m dreaming but it was quite a few). And when he came up that one season Marchant ripped off about 10 goals in 5 minutes.

    I’d be thrilled with a Marchant career from Cogliano, but Marchant made intelligent plays.

    • ubermiguel

      Marchant’s a career 0.5 points-per-game guy. Had 60 points in 02/03, but he’s been under 40 every other year. He was a nice surprise for a 7th round draft pick.

      You’re right, Cogliano’s got to smarten up before we can even entertain the thought that he might have game similar to Marchant’s.

  • Lowetide

    You guys get many things wrong at this sight, but I would hope that if you hold Stan Weir in such high esteem you would know that Mr. Weir is from Ponoka. But then again facts are not always important here at Oilersnation.

    • C-DOG

      One game on a contending team reasured you? where mistakes won’t be tolerated as much if he was on a rebuilding team and playing a posotion thats harder to break in the league with, not to mention 1 less year expierence, but O.K.

  • Max Powers - Team HME Evans

    Obviously the Marchant stat is a made up one, but I think the best measuring stick to someone’s career would be the amount of time they stuck around. Obviously injuries play a big part in someones career too.

    • ubermiguel

      Marchant can’t be judged on his offensive skills. He’s made a long career out of a good forecheck, being defensively responsible and being good at faceoffs. You’ll find plenty of video showing that.

      Cogliano hasn’t show much ability in any of those areas. The only similarity between the two players is speed. I doubt he’ll be able to make the switch to defensive forward. Hopefully he gets his offensive game up to the NHL level instead.

  • Max Powers - Team HME Evans

    Honestly surprised about Pitlick. Thought with his showing at TC that he’d be able to dominate this year, although he still has time. Any idea what’s going on in the Hat? Maybe it’s a new system they’re learning or something. New coach?

  • Lowetide

    baai: Rajala had to serve a mandatory 12 month hitch with the Finnish military. He can do that while playing in the SM-Liiga and get it out of the way before turning pro.

    • Shapeman

      It’s actually just six months.

      Rajala missed some games due to a shoulder injury, but as you said, he was back in the lineup on Saturday. He’s averaging 14:13 of TOI per game (according to official SM-liiga website) and has mostly played on the same line with veteran Pasi Määttänen and… wait for it… everyone’s all-time favorite first round draft pick, Jesse Niinimäki!

  • Lowetide

    Easy Oil: Yeah I’ll have a look at college and USHS at some point, but will probably wait awhile. Troy Hesketh has played three games for Chicago (Fargo traded him) so we’re getting there.

  • Max Powers - Team HME Evans

    I realize the Oil are only into game 2 of the season; however, Cogliano just doesn’t seem to fit into the new scheme and IMO wastes one position. He also pulls his line down.

    He is rated as a C, but was transferred to the wing during game 1.

    Surely the GM and coaching staff are completely aware of his limitations. Better to either have Omark or another player in OKC with the big team to appraise their ability to be an NHLer. Or find a real C from the UFA unemployed pool.

  • EasyOil

    Great article as always LT. Are you going to keep an eye on every single prospect in the system or just the ones of note? Was just wondering as I believe it sounds like Kellen Jones got off to a good start at college and even good ol’ Robby Dee is off to a hot start at Maine. Small sample sizes but still.

    Talking of Dee, any word on whether the Oil still even consider him their property? Many sites have him listed still as a prospect but he said last season he had barely heard from management.

  • Lowetide

    Dave: Agreed. Cogliano is going to get another season’s worth of at-bats (unless they trade him) and then a decision will have to be made. Too many players are passing him on the depth chart.

    • Reggie

      Maybe they need to dig into the Oilers video archives and find Cogs about 50 hours of “the best of Marchant” for him to open his eyes to a new possibility.

      My bet is he won’t be on this team past Christmas.

      • Good luck finding 5 minutes of “The best of Marchant”

        I remember him streaking down the wing once but that’s about it…

        Cogs will figure it out, anyone who can play 3 years without missing a game will be valuable to someone.

        • Max Powers - Team HME Evans

          So someone who can play 82 games a year is valuable but Marchant wasn’t any good?

          Come on man. You’re making it sound like Cogliano has value because he doesn’t get hurt and that Marchant is a bum. Marchant has had a better career than 75% of people who played the game. He just doesn’t have the stats to back it up…. besides games played.

  • Max Powers - Team HME Evans

    I was impressed with Pitlick at camp. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Lander on the Oilers as soon as next year. He is another that may make Cogliano expendable.