THIS FLIGHT TONIGHT

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Tyler Pitlick is in an ideal situation. The physical winger has a very good opportunity in Edmonton, as the club is in search of his player-type. The Oilers recalled him today, and this audition will have a major impact on his future.

WHAT ARE THEY LOOKING FOR?

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Looking ahead to next season, Edmonton has the following wingers under contract and are committed to them at the NHL level:

  1. Taylor Hall
  2. Jordan Eberle
  3. David Perron
  4. Nail Yakupov
  5. Matt Hendricks

They also have Luke Gazdic (rfa) and Jesse Joensuu (signed for next year, but not a lock) on the current roster. Ryan Smyth and Ryan Jones are UFA’s who may or may not return, and Anton Lander got a head start on the audition process that Pitlick will likely start tomorrow night against Buffalo. 

There’s a job or two there. Third line LW/RW alongside Gordon and Hendricks; and another one on the 4line depending on how Joensuu plays in the fall.

Pitlick is an RFA, and based on his previous cup of coffee in the NHL is a player Edmonton wants to see before making a decision. Chris Westcott at oilers.nhl.com wrote an insightful article on prospects today, with OKC coach Todd Nelson saying, “I see this guy as not being back in OKC next year. I see him playing in the National Hockey League,” and that’s a strong letter of recommendation.

Pitlick showed well during a callup earlier this season, and then suffered an injury. He’s been working his way back since then, and has been scoring at a .696 point per game clip.

PITLICK SINCE JANUARY 1, 2014 IN OKC

  • Overall: 23, 7-9-16
  • Power Play: 23, 3-1-4
  • Penalty Kill: 23, 0-0-0
  • Even Strength: 23, 4-8-12

Most of the boxcars have been at evens, and there’s no surprise. Pitlick did get a push on the power play, and cashed in three goals. I doubt he’ll see much duty in Edmonton with the man advantage, and many of his goals were scored with third-line types, which is the slot he’ll fill in Edmonton if he makes the grade.

WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN?

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This is too close to call. Tyler Pitlick spent much of his entry-level deal injured and ineffective, but has turned the corner this season. Coach Todd Nelson said “He’s taken his game to a whole new level and he’s ready to play up there.”

If the Oilers can solve their 3rd line RW problem via Oklahoma City, and not have to go out searching to fill the job via free agency, it’s one less problem to solve. These next 12 games are important to both team and player. Pitlick’s competition (Lander, Joensuu, maybe Horak) isn’t overwhelming and there’s a real NHL job within reach.

We’ll know this fall who wins the job, but Pitlick has a chance to grab it beginning tomorrow.

  • mesa

    Mesa nailed it when he said that neither Gagner or Arcobello are the solution at 2C. The Oilers must come out of the draft with a 1C or 2C prospect (Reinhart, Bennett or Draisaitl).

    While we certainly need top pairing D men, history shows that many of them are drafted below the top 5 in their draft year. On that basis the percentage move by the Oilers is to focus on a centre at the draft and either develop or trade for the D men they so desparately need.

  • Millerrr

    Rundblad was picked up for a second rounder, solutions are out there if you have a decent management team in place. Those are the kinds of deals that MacT needs to start focusing on a bit more in the future now that he sold off Hemsky for peanuts.

  • Zarny

    Patience has worn thin with many Oiler fans. Im not one of them. For years we saw the team improve for a short period before going on a 20 game drop of doom. We are finally seeing consistency and success. It hasn’t been 10 games; its been 18, and the team is still holding strong. This is enough proof for me that the drops will only become smaller and smaller over the next couple of seasons. I believe in Mac T.

    Hendricks, Gazdic, Gordon, Ference, Fraser. Proof #1. These players have made a difference, some in very big ways, for this team.

    10-4-3
    Proof #2. The 4th best record in the NHL since January 26. How can some of you fans not be optimistic about the coming years?

    I don’t care that Arco is not playing. I don’t mind if Yaks is taking too long to come around. Whatever it takes to turn the ship. Its working. Lets not allow ourselves to stay used to the losing mentality.

  • DieHard

    I think this team will be better next year. Playoffs? Not too sure. It depends on what MacT can do. It’ll be tough. I really believe we’d be chasing the playoffs (out by 6-8 points) this year if not for our goalies early on. I still have some faith. Let’s just keep winning or just not be so embarrasing.

  • Zarny

    The premise of the “rebuild” was to build from the draft. So far the 1st overall picks are the only ones contributing.

    Marincin looks like a win. A nice payoff for Riley Nash. Klefbom, Pitlick, Lander, Hamilton etc. Some of these kids need to start contributing or else trading away all the vets for picks was pointless.