Pitlick Break Out

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.

  • jadeddog

    Before we start talking about Pitlick in the AHL next year, I’d FIST like to see him continue dominating the WHL. He’s only been playing at a high level in the WHL for a few weeks now. If he’s well over a PPG by the end of the year, then I’d start thinking about the AHL next season.

    • misfit

      I’m not convinced Pitlick will even play center at the NHL level.

      We should definitely draft a centerman if that’s the best player available. Heck, we should draft nothing but centermen if the wingers, goalies and defensemen aren’t as good as the centers on the board when we pick.

      • Mikey "miraclehands" - Team FIST

        It’s really to bad pitlick wont be playing at the WJC.Be able to tell alot about how his game is comming along against some really high caliber teams. I wouldn’t go as far as saying he’ll never play center in the NHL considering we are hurting for any center that can win a face-off and put the puck in the net but I’m in agreement that we need to address our future number 1 center and a top notch defenseman either with ur top 5-10 pick or need be trade but yes best player available would be my draft plan come the oilers pick in 2011.

  • MJM

    Seen a lot of the Tigers this year, and Pitlick certainly has had some flashes of brilliance. As an Oilers fan I’m definitely pulling for him, but even with the EV/PP comparison to Etem, I think Etem has shown to be a much better player this season.

    As far as linemates, Etem has a little better of a partner in Vey than Pitlick has in Hamilton, while Harrison is more of a 2-way guy and Shinkaruk is a rookie that will show a lot of flash in this league as he matures.

    Pitlick looks like he takes a lot of shifts off… or maybe not “takes them off”, but rather, doesn’t bring it totally at both ends of the ice. Etem had some of those same critiques last year, questioning his battle level, but this year I’d say Etem has really stepped it up a notch, and of course Pitlick is still feeling out the league a bit.

    Etem has frequently seen the opponents top lines and pairings (including Marincin against PG), for as much line matching as there is in the dub, which isn’t much.

    They might be pretty close in the numbers, but in my “seen him good” opinion, Etem is miles ahead of Pitlick right now.

  • Jadeddog, way to do a FIST the right way. You’re an excellent example for all who would aspire to FIST one day.

    As for Pitlick, he’s one of those prospects that you are just try to puzzle out as either a second or third line forward. Does he have enough offense to play a role on a second line? Or will he be a checker that chips in a little from the second line? Either way, his secondary attributes (physicality, size, face-off ability) are enough that at some point, he will likely take someone’s job. Unless players like Lander gets there first and eat his lunch.

  • SumOil

    The surprise production from Vey and him having a slowish start definitely got him demoted to the second line on the Tigers. It definitely looks like the guy is not getting much PP time.
    With Vey and Etem both gone, this is a golden opportunity for the guy.
    Furthermore, I cannot help but think whether the Americans would have been better off with him. He is a gritty player and the kind of team Canada is putting up this season, they could have used a guy like Pitlick. They beat us with their speed last time around, but this time Canada has an extremely mobile squad with enough grit spread around. Many compared Pitlick to Backes and every team can use a Backes

  • What kind of expectations should we be looking at for Pitlick in this season?

    Top 10-20 in WHL scoring shouldn’t be out of the question if this guy is going to be a player should it?

    I know he’s a late birthday and was just drafted, but this would basically be the guy’s 4th year of junior if he had been a Canadian kid, and he won’t be eligible for WJ20 next year.

    If you look at the season’s of player the Oilers drafted out of the WHL they all had strong seasons at 19. Brodziak finished 3rd in scoring, Stoll missed some to injury but was on a top ten pace, and Eberle owned the league.

    If we are expecting him to bring any kind of offence to the NHL, then top ten in league scoring, is a fair place to set the goalposts?

    • Lowetide

      I think it depends on things like the PP. Also, he’s still a rookie in the WHL so I think it’s more difficult to expect him to dominate this early.

      Having said that, Marincin IS dominating.

      Pitlick is tied for 41st with 31 points. Curtis Hamilton is in a tie for 9th with 42 points. i don’t think it’s a stretch for us to expect him to be at or near the top 10 by year’s end (barring injury).

  • Lowetide

    Further to the point, Pitlick’s EV scoring bodes well for him offensively. When Rob Schremp posted a 75-point season in his draft year, 47 of those points came on the powerplay. So, the year he was drafted, Rob Schremp went 14-14-28 at evens.

    That was a tell we should have identified. To my knowledge, no one figured before Tyler Dellow:

    http://www.mc79hockey.com/?p=3199

    When projecting these kids, even strength scoring is important.

  • John Chambers

    I think a good way to judge if he will be a player was already shown to us. He is on pace with a first round draft pick from his draft year. A player that was drafted for his offense and has already played a full year in the WHL. So Pitlick keeping pace with Etem and outscoring him at EV is a great measure of his future potential. Plus outside of skating ability and this is still a strenght, Pitlick has better size and hockey sense than Etem. I feel that both prospects will be NHL players and solid players at that.

  • John Chambers

    Pitlick is taking a longer development path that the average top prospect. He’s learning to execute new aspects of the game, play a longer season, and adapt to more physical play.

    If we see him in the NHL, it probably won’t be until at least ’13-’14, including a couple years of AHL seasoning, but for the moment he’s demonstrating that he’s able to work hard and adapt. All the tools seem to be there.

    Patience pays off with certain players.

  • Clay

    How much will Pitlick’s development be set back by not playing center for a whole year? His value to the Oilers is as the right-handed centerman we’ve need since Stoll left town, no?

    Does he get an asterisk beside his boxcars for this year because he’s not playing his natural position?

  • Death Metal Nightmare

    Pitlick was one of the best players in camp. i doubt it takes him as long as most people are projecting. his size and smarts will get him places before a “slow burn” route, especially with how ‘Vag this teams centers are.

  • Quicksilver ballet

    Gudbranson, is there a chance that this could fall apart with Dale Tallon? He pretty much made the team in training camp and then decided to go back to junior. Is there enough tension there to have things unravel for him there in Florida, have to wonder how far they are apart they are if it’s just simply a money issue.

  • Death Metal Nightmare

    Sounds like we need to go alternate route for a centerman . The draft route may be too long a process . We still have a glaring size issue on our projected forwards thats going to have to be addressed if we want to become a legit contender in the future . Can’t expect the drafting to take care of all that , and defence and goaltending as well in a reasonable amount of time !

    • Death Metal Nightmare

      Drafting a #1 center is too long of a process? Is bringing along Hall, Eberle, and Paajarvi too long of a process? This year the Oil should be in a position to nab either Couturier, RNH, or Strome, all of whom could pair with Gagner to form a great 1-2 center punch in a few seasons. If there’s one hole the Oil should be able to fill with the draft, it’s the center position.

    • D-Man

      To be honest our drafting should be BPA – Best Player Available… To focus on a centerman or a defensemen now would be a bit narrow-minded; especially considering the fact that there’s a good chance we might not be getting a top 5 pick… The teams in the east below us (Toronto, Florida, NYI and New Jersey) have more severe problems than we do; even with Hemsky and Horcoff out – I can see us going 3 – 5 (in December) before Hemsky is back and then 5-8 (in January) before Horcoff is back… At this clip, we might have an outside shot at the #5 pick… Most drafts aren’t deep enough to say anything after the 2nd or 3rd pick are a ‘sure thing’…

      Unless the Magnificent Bastard pulls another Eberle or Tambo makes some huge trade, I can’t see us drafting another piece to our immediate roster… Our draft will most likely play in junior for one more year. We continue the rebuild with making roster spaces for at least one (maybe two) rookies on the point (maybe Petry and/or Plante??), and find roster room for either Omark or O’Marra…

  • Horcsky

    Reporters from both the Journal and Sun are claiming the Oilers demanded a review of their shots in last nights game to avoid the bad press of a franchise low for shots in a game. After the alleged review, the Oil were supposedly credited with another shot after the fact.

    If this is true, I’ll need some tinfoil, stat!

  • Horcsky

    A Pitlick breakout? Sounds painful and itchy.

    Great article LT, you bring what others don’t. It seems like the Oil have all the pieces that they need in the system – with 2 exceptions. They have a 3/4C – Hamilton, Lander, Pitlick. They have a puck-moving D – Petry, and another steady d-man in Plante. What we don’t have in the system?
    Do we have an Erik Gudbranson in the system? MBS says no.
    Do we have a 1C? Not unless we go lottery this year for RNH and Couturier.
    Maybe you could include our needs in a special article.

    • D-Man

      Don’t we have a Gudbranson in the system named Maricin?? He’s playing his first year in the WHL and playing well… The guy is 6’5″ and has alot of room to muscle out…

  • Ducey

    Our draft will most likely play in junior for one more year. We continue the rebuild with making roster spaces for at least one (maybe two) rookies on the point (maybe Petry and/or Plante??), and find roster room for either Omark or O’Marra……… Hey don’t try and use any of that fancy logic stuff with Madjam, it won’t take.

    I agree BTW. Especially now that the Oilers have a good farm team and some good prospect depth. At forward, a new draft would have to jump over Pitlick, Martindale, Hamilton, and Lander who will likely be sent to the AHL next season, and VV, Hartikanen, O’Marra, and Omark who will have played a year of AHL/NHL. And any top 6 type is in tough anyway. Hall, Eberle, MPS, Gagner, Hemsky, and Penner are locks. Omark is there too in case Hemmmer is traded. On D, there is Petry, Belle, Plante, Chorney, with year(s) of pro experience and Marincin and perhaps Davidson/Blain to overcome. Whomever the Oilers get in June won’t be suiting up for them for at least a year at the earliest. BPA.

  • D-Man

    I see the cheer team is announced. Shall we pick a new name: The Pipeline Posse, The Bitumen Babes, or The Crude Chicks?

    Any other suggestions? Softs hands may have a couple…

  • misfit

    What’s worse…

    1) The players racking up a meagre dozen shots on goal in an NHL regular season game?

    or;

    2) The management actually demanding a recount to get that same shot total to 12?

  • Mikey "miraclehands" - Team FIST

    haha I’m still laughing about Joe Rogan going off on that old doctor during the GSP – Koschek fight.

    “wait! What!! Who is this Kris Kringle dude!? Uh Oh!! Get him outta here. He’s gonna stop the fight! Somebody get that Kris Kringle dude OUTTA THERE!” hack cough scratch..

  • Ducey

    Seen Musil play twice now on t.v. and impressed me both times . Has Marincin even been seen on any junior team roster for upcoming Worlds ? I know Musil is slated for the Czechs .

    Gagner , Cogs , Omark and swap of our first round pick for Malkin , Thornton or Iginla a fair trade ?

    • Tha Legion

      As I’ve said, I can completely see a future third line 2-3 years down the line of Hamilton Lander Pitlick, all big defensively responsible players, I doubt that will come to fruition

  • I’ve yet to see Marincin play . If he was on Slovakia’s World team before he obviously did not impress me or i’d have noticed him. I don’t see him on their roster for this years tourney so far . He was drafted 46th this year , and most of you make out he is an automatic star come early as next year . What kind of logic are you using to assume he will make the club ? PLANTE WAS DRAFTED 15TH AND STILL NOT ON CLUB . As for others most of you are so high on , what makes you think any of them will be a solid contributor anytime soon ? Looks like Pitlick going way Plante went after we drafted him , OMark unimpressive most of time so far , and O’Marra still not overly impressive .

    I’m not trying to be combative here with you . that’s just the way i feel about what we have so far – i think the majority over rate what we have in system .

  • Lowetide

    The Cougars released this about two weeks ago:

    The Cougars are also proud to announce 18 year old defenceman Martin Marincin will play for Team Slovakia at the 2011 IIHF World Junior Hockey Championship, which runs December 26 – January 5, 2011.

    Article is here:
    http://thepulse.ca/node/4131

    The Slovaks may have changed their minds, but logic suggest that if he is not on their WJ roster it’ll have more to do with politics than bpa.