This is Tyler Pitlick. After a slow start to his WHL season, the young American forward is heating up. He ranks third in points among WHL rookies and is one of the reasons Medicine Hat is one of the hottest clubs in the eastern conference.
Pitlick’s offense (28gp, 13-18-31) is being produced (for the most part) at even strength. One of the reported reasons for Emerson Etem’s selection for the USA world junior team was his impressive offense. It’s interesting to compare the two Medicine Hat teammates and when they’re creating goals:
- Etem at EVs; 31gp, 8-9-17 (.548)
- Pitlick at EVs: 28gp, 11-12-23 (.821)
- Etem on the PP: 31gp, 8-4-12 (.387)
- Pitlick on the PP: 28gp, 2-6-8 (.286)
- Etem on the PK 31gp, 4-1-5 (.161)
- Pitlick on the PK:28gp, 0-0-0 (.000)
Pitlick appears to be playing on a 2line with center Wacey Hamilton and LW Hunter Shinkaruk. Etem plays mostly with Linden Vey and LW Ryan Harrison, although it seems as though the Tigers shuffle their lines a lot. The Americans chose Etem for good reasons, but offensively Pitlick is "in the range" with Etem. His EV scoring would have to be considered superior to the winger from California.
Pitlick should get plenty of powerplay opportunities between now and the Christmas break. Vey, Etem and Shinkaruk are either at their respective WJ camps vying for spots or will be soon. That should leave the Oilers draft pick with a great opportunity to pump those PP numbers.
Pitlick said earlier in the fall (the story is here) that the speed and skill of the WHL is comparable to NCAA hockey, but the physical nature of the WHL game took him some time.
Pitlick’s splits prove he has adapted to the WHL style:
- First 14 games: 4-8-12 -1
- Next 14 games: 9-10-19 +4
Pitlick is an older birthday (a ’91, he turned 19 about 6 weeks ago) and I think there’s a chance this will be his only WHL season. The Oilers have the option of playing him in the AHL in ’11-’12 and the organization has shown a willingness to fast track their best prospects.
Tyler Pitlick is showing signs that he can impact the WHL game, and we’re not yet at Christmas.