pitlick fergusonfive

It’s been four years since the Edmonton Oilers invested a high second-round selection on Tyler Pitlick. He made his NHL debut last season, and showed some flashes of NHL ability. What are his chances of making the team this season? Have they improved over summer?


There are 10 jobs (I believe) that are locks for opening night among Oiler forwards:

  1. Taylor Hall
  2. Ryan Nugent-Hopkins
  3. Jordan Eberle
  4. David Perron
  5. Benoit Pouliot
  6. Teddy Purcell
  7. Nail Yakupov
  8. Boyd Gordon
  9. Mark Arcobello
  10. Matt Hendricks

There’s a chance Edmonton would tweak this group before training camp—if they needed extra money to sign a free agent or take on a big contract—but it would seem this group of 10 are the heart of the order for 2014-15.


  1. Luke Gazdic, L. Luke Gazdic has a 100% chance of making the Oilers. Once healthy, he’ll be inserted into the lineup as a regular. The idea of a 4line featuring Gordon and Gazdic is a non-starter in my mind, the two played together at 5×5 a total of 14 minutes in 2013-14.
  2. Leon Draisaitl, C. Draisaitl has a 90% chance of making the Oilers. I’d put it at 100%—especially after the Gagner trade—but there’s a chance he appears slow and ineffective in the final pre-season games. I would not bet against him making the team.
  3. Anton Lander, C. Lander has a 75% chance of making the Oilers. He is signed to a one-way deal for 2014-15, signaling his arrival as an NHL player. The contract is for $600,000 and I don’t think he sees Oklahoma City again. If Lander doesn’t make the Oilers, I suspect he’ll be traded. 
  4. Tyler Pitlick, RW. Pitlick has a 50% chance of making the Oilers. He signed a two-way deal with the Oilers recently for next season, but is waiver eligible. Based on Dallas Eakins comments on the player, the fact they brought him up (twice) last season and (most importantly) the club did not add a Daniel Winnik in summer, I think he makes the team. 
  5. Jesse Joensuu, LW. Joensuu has a 50% chance of making the Oilers. He did not play well last season, but is signed to an NHL contract for 2014-15 at $950,000—it’s unlikely Edmonton will bury that contract unless Joensuu’s performance is ghastly. The chances of trading him are very good, however.
  6. Will Acton, C. Acton has a 10% chance of making the Oilers. He played 30 games a year ago, and Eakins knows him—that’s a big deal for a fringe player. He was wildly unpopular among Oiler fans I talked to and his possession stats were a disaster. He spent half of his 5×5 NHL time with Luke Gazdic, so I’m not certain he is as bad as the Corsi suggests. Still, not a strong option.
  7. Iiro Pakarinen, RW. Parkarinen has a 10% chance of making the team. A veteran of 230 SM-Liiga games, he scored 20 goals last season. Elite Prospects describes an interesting player: An energetic player with good
    skating and a nice frame. Possesses a good sharp, wrist shot and is a
    solid finisher. A hard worker and versatile player who can also play as a
  8. Steve Pinizzotto, RW. Pinizzotto has a 10% chance of making the team. He showed well as a late callup from the farm, and the Oilers gave up a prospect of note in Ryan Martindale to get him (although Martindale wasn’t doing much at the time). He’s 30, and that’s late to get an NHL start, but I bet he does something early to get noticed (like running over someone in the first pre-season game) and takes it from there.
  9. Bogdan Yakimov, C. Yakimov has a 5% chance of making the team. The fact that he’s on the list at all may come as a surprise, but the big Russian was impressive at the WJ’s and held his own in the KHL in 2013-14. A long shot for sure, but not impossible.

My guess is the final spots go to Luke Gazdic, Leon Draisaitl, Anton Lander and Tyler Pitlick, with Jesse Joensuu hitting waivers. 

(Tyler Pitlick photo by Rob Ferguson, all rights reserved).

    • Lowetide

      I have Pitlick as not having to clear waivers. 22 years old, only 10 NHL games, 4 years since signing his ELC.
      Doesn’t add up as a player who has to clear waivers….
      Capgeek agrees.

      • Basshole39

        Agreed!!! He’s got a lot of what we lack and appears to have some hands. I’d be surprised not to see him make the club unless Pitlick really has a great camp.

    • To think I feel Acton will make the cutbut it makes me shudder but I agree on your first 4 and with Gazdic out it may mean Acton or we give Nurse his 9 games making 8 “D” staying . For me that’s more acceptable .

    • If Pitlick is not exempt it may be him who stays so if Nurse is to get his 9 games we can only carry 13 forwards as we can’t afford to loose a “D” player .Guessing Gazdic misses at least 9 games so either Leon or Nurse or perhaps both go back . Then they can move Klefbom or any other (Acton,Joensuu) up or down as needed

    • HardBoiledOil 1.0

      How good does Leon have to look to make the cut? Cuz last year Nurse looked like our best dman and was sent back? I’m all for sending the German back to junior and giving him more time to grow and develop

      • "Frank the dog"

        I think Darnell was sent back because A. he is a defensemen and B. he was still filling out the frame.

        At 210-215 Leon doesn’t have that problem. So it will be just a matter of can he skate? And does he make himself look like a retard playing in the NHL. If both pass he iss good to go imo.

        • "Frank the dog"

          I also recall him being borderline hurt by a crushing hit between the numbers. Wouldn’t be surprised if that influenced them to make the right decision.

          Just as well he wasn’t on the team anyway with all the injuries and the goalie collapse.

      • Lowetide

        I have him 8th. As to why Joensuu is ahead, two reasons. One, salary. NHL owners don’t like it when the GM sends down a big contract, although Katz has done it before so maybe it’s no big deal for the Oil.

        Second, Pinizzotto is 30 and that’s a tell. I liked him as an Oiler, but age makes him a super long shot.

        • "Frank the dog"

          I understand the logic but I “Saw him good” when he played, and I’ve lost faith in Joensuu due to his unsolvable injuries.

          I suppose having someone like Pins so far down does indicate some level of call-up depth though, so that is probably a good thing on a way.

        • "Frank the dog"

          Since when is 30 a major flaw in the NHL?

          Hes 30, not 38. I loved what I saw from him on the 4th line towards the end of the year. That being said whoever plays the best should get the job regardless of age

          • Basshole39

            Lowetide suggests being 30 and never playing in the NHL is a ‘tell’ that something is amiss. There are very few players who are overlooked for 10 years and suddenly improve well enough to make the league. And if there is a kid with equal skill, you would always take the kid because there is considerably more potential for him to become something better. GMs have to play potential in a cap world (and 50 contract world). They have to keep an eye on the future and Pizzo isn’t the future. Pitlick could be.

      • Sevenseven

        I think because Pinizotto is a rw? Hell, if he was a left wing i’d have him ahead of Gazdic. With the oilers signing all these big free agents, I wonder if a guy like Gazdic is needed. If the oilers arent getting pushed around so much they move him down to OKC for a more effective player.

        • bwar

          I’m pretty sure that Pinizotto can play left wing than Gazdic can play left wing.

          Anyone done a comparison to see if the Oilers are better short-handed than with Gazdic on the ice?

    • Sevenseven

      Acton did not show as well as Lander and Arcobello at both the ahl and nhl level. I think it would take Draisitl not making the team and an injury for him to make the team.

    • "Frank the dog"

      I’d much rather Pinnizotto over Pitlick and Joensuu. We need some men on this team that intimidate the opposition. He also can play too, for me I’m hoping he wins the job with Gordon and Hendricks

    • HardBoiledOil 1.0

      Everytime I see Arco and Landers making this team , I want to raise the white flag in surrender for another dismal bottom finish . Two things on MacT’s list that needed the most upgrade to get this team going upward he has yet to accomplish . A 1-2 center and same for a defenseman . Until he does we are not going to be headed upwards nor have our young stars make major advances . . Makes you sick to your stomach .

        • Lowetide

          Can appreciate the sarcasm Nomad and agree top 2 dman and 2nd line centres should be easy to find, GM’s around the league just give them away. Keep the path MacT and grow your own.

        • Lowetide

          Being most active and being most effective are often not in sync . Most active usually implies team personnel is far from adequate to begin with and rebuild is in order . Being effective is filling those holes adequately . More often than not , it is the poor clubs that are in the habit of being most active . We are active , but I would not go so far as to say we are going to be much more effective with some major holes to yet be filled . We even lost out on Ribero among others as an example – so I doubt Oilers are pleased with the thought of having to run Arco and Landers that did little for us last season . Draisaitl might ease that gap , but for now we do not know .

    • Basshole39

      I think there is enough to this team to finish 8-10.

      I don’t think Gadzic should see more then 20 games this year. He is defensively responsible, and your not looking for more offence out of him. You would like to see Eakins be able to actually roll for lines some nights, and Gadzic is not enough a player to escape being hemmed up in his own zone.

      Im hoping for something out of Joensuu. I think if he shows the training camp Joensuu rather then the the JF Jacque Joensuu, then I think hes got a job to loose.

    • HardBoiledOil 1.0

      Gazdic making the team is fine. He has some useful qualities. But he should only be dressing for maybe half of the games. I wouldnt bother puting him in the lineup for any of the smaller Eastern teams.

      Joensuu should be put on waivers. Id much prefer to have Pinz taking his place on the roster for the other half games where Gazdic doesnt dress.

      This is Landers last opportunity to make this roster, and i did not like him in his offensive role last year. He certainly did not compliment the skill in the top 6. He is either a third line winger or a bust. he hasnt mastered the AHL yet, so if we ended up trading or losing him on waivers, i wouldnt cry.

      Leon and Nurse should both go back to Juniors. And both would benefit from a season under nelson in OKC. He has proven he is strong at developing players.

      There has been a lot of comments on ON lately about Yakimov and his potential to make this team. He is probably the most interesting prospect, to me at least, come training camp time. He could be a huge surprise.

      • Basshole39

        Man with your thinking, I am glad you are not the GM! You have to many preconceived ideas about players before you even see what they can do in camp, you probably would have sent Crosby back to junior!

        • Spydyr

          Comparing Crosby to Leon or Nurse is ludacris. My opinions on Gazdic, Lander and Joensuu are not based on a small or non existent simply size. It’s based on what they could and couldn’t achieve last season.

          Do you believe Lander can be a top 6 centre?
          Is Gazdic worthy of a full time roster position?
          Is Joensuu a lock to make the team? Did he show enough last season to even be considered an NHL player?
          And what exactly is the negative from sending Leon and Nurse back to junior? If they fight their way onto the roster, then fine. But I see zero negative to being patient with both and letting them season before making the NHL.

          • Basshole39

            Really that’s what I was doing? Who said anything about a comparison, according to you any player drafted could benefit from more time in the juniors!!

            All I’m saying is let him show you whether he is ready or not there smart guy!!!!

            • Basshole39

              You said that i would send Crosby back to junior. I suggested that Nurse and Leon may be better suited to return to junior. That would be a comparison.

              And i never said that they would benefit from a return to junior. I simply suggested that it may be the better option then forcing them to play above their heads in the NHL. Sometimes returning to junior wouldnt be best for their development, but it would prevent them from reuining their development by playing in the NHL. There is a huge difference between the two leagues. Best option would be AHL for a year but thats not possible.

              Yes, they both may surprise. But my point was that they should force the coaches to give them a roster spot rather than get one because we lack depth in either area.

              How you can take that as “according to [me] any player drafter could benefit from more time in juniors!!!” is laughable.

              Maybe re-read what i wrote before you comment on it. “If they fight their way onto the roster, then fine. But i see zero negative to being patient with both and letting them season before making the NHL.”

      • HardBoiledOil 1.0

        I have no problems with Lander on the wing with Gordon and Hendricks. Talk about an impressive mentorship. He has the size, smarts and skating to do it

        • nuge2drai

          When did Lander learn to skate. It was the knock on him as junior, its why people question if he will ever have a career.

          I love the compete, but I really hope the kid prooves me wrong.

        • Joy S. Lee

          That’s where lander should be. Also on the PK.

          Hell i hope he can play the horcoff role on the power play.

          I think lander caught TBT last seas9n. (The Belanger triangle.)

    • Quicksilver ballet

      The current traditional training camps are just a gong show. How can progress be made with 20 or so alsorans in the way of all the guys with NHL contracts. So much time wasted with 65+ players getting in each others way the first couple weeks.

      Real progress could be made from day 1 of camp with only 40 skaters plus goaltenders. Get down to that final group asap. Hold a 10 day rookie camp, and bring the best performers from there (4-6 players) to the main camp.

      Training camps have become nothing more than a PR stunt/opportunity.

    • Hey everyone, let’s give the 30 year old journeyman every opportunity to make the team but this year must be the very last chance to make the team for the 23 year old who has improved every year he’s been with this franchise.

    • bwar

      I think Pinizotto makes opening night roster but thats only because Gazdic is unlikely to be available. I also expect to see Yakimov in an Oilers jersey at some point this season but not for opening night.

    • Basshole39

      For good or bad : Oil Change has been cancelled apparently for this season . No more BOYS ON THE BUS series . Cheers for it ending ,and Trash if you wanted it still on .

    • "Frank the dog"


      Look reasonable at center with Ennis , Hodgson , Grigerson , Grigerenko and Reinhart who should make club this season . .
      RWINGprojected top 4 – Gionta , Stafford , Stewart and emerging J.Armia .

      LWing they are weak with basically only Moulson and Foligno .

      Defence they could be incredibly strong with the likes of Georges , Myers , Meszaros , J.McCABE , A. Benoit , M.Pysyk , R. Ristolainen , and Zadorov .

      Goaltending not as strong without Miller – mediocre at best . Expected to remain last overall unless they can get a couple of more LWingers of note . Using their very good youngsters seems viable considering others on squad offer little help . Could end up last again despite gains , and hope N.Y.I. finish only one above them giving them an excellent shot at Eichel and McDavid .

      Oilers have LW depth to trade with this club if they so choose to . Opportunity perhaps ?

      • Joy S. Lee

        This is not a bad suggestion, at all, to deal our LW strength for some of Buffalo’s abundances. However…

        Buffalo is loading up for the McDavid/Eichel sweepstakes, and they have a plan to dominate the NHL with an 80’s Oilers model of high-end skill.

        They are actually doing quite nicely on it, and what they have given up to obtain tons of high-quality prospect chips in the game has been very calculated. Once they add a superstar like McDavid, they are poised, big time.

        I don’t think they’re going to give away anything of their youth group unless they feel the return is a better youthful option. I believe they are clearly aiming for a very young, talented team, but they have also built most of the core that should support the extreme talent, already. And it’s young, too, so it can grow along with their best players.

        Mark my words, the Buffalo Sabres are poised to be a dominant NHL force. They took the Oilers model, but are doing it properly, for a youth movement – where they are building depth, and then adding the superstars. The Oilers tried to add superstars, and then build depth. One way works much better, you guess which.

    • HardBoiledOil 1.0

      where is John McCarron in all this? he’s 22 and just completed his 3rd season in college. is he going to be at camp, or spend yet another year in college?

    • HardBoiledOil 1.0

      If Yakimov is close for center the Oilers should risk his development curve rather than Drasaitl’s. If Yak2 makes hay as rookie he becomes unexpected asset. If he fails and goes into developmental tailspin then Oilers cut their losses albeit a smaller loss. Send your top tier prospect back and roll the dice on your second tier prospect.

    • HardBoiledOil 1.0

      SIZING UP NBR.29 Florida .
      Center -Barkov ,Bjugstad , Pirri , Bolland , Shore , Howden , MacKenzie . Big , young and improving .
      L WING- Huberdeau , Bergenheim , Fleischman , J. Jokinen ,S.Thornton and Upshall . Very well stocked and strong .
      R.WING – B.Boyes , T.Kopecky , J.Hayes . Weak on right side and not much in system either . This needs serious attention if they hope to advance up the standings .
      Goalies – Luongo , Montoya and Ellis is a very strong tandem .
      Defence – Campbell , Gudbranson , Mitchell , Kulikov , expected Ekblad , Petrovic and Robak should give Florida pretty good defence even with a drop off from top 5 on into system .
      Florida will be stronger this year , and how far they go will probably be how well they can do to make up for RWing weaknesses .

    • Basshole39

      SIZING UP NBR. 28 Oilers :

      Center : Hopkins , Gordon , Hendriks , Draisaitl , Landers , Arcobellow , Yakimov . Several to choose from but requires Draisaitl to impress to receive a rating beyond mediocer . Seems to be rather weak crew if Draisaitl does not pan out , not a position of strength as yet .

      LWING – Hall , Pouliot , Perron and several others including the system makes this a strong contingent . Loaded at this position thru out .

      RWING : Eberle , Purcell , Yakipov , Pinzotto , Pitlick . If Yakipov pans out with Pitlick this could be another are of strength , but in system help minimal .

      Goalies : Scrivens and Faste . Unproven as first choices , and thus doubtful beyond mediocre . May still be a weakness compared with most others in conference .

      Defence : Petry , Schultz , Aulie , Nikitin , Fayne , Ference , Marincin , Klefbom and Nurse . Good group strength but need a quarterback for top 1-2 to emerge .

      To many things have to go right for this club to move forward to any degree , but getting closer no doubt . One or two big additions and this club could rise rapidly .