THIS FLIGHT TONIGHT

pitlick ferguson

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.

  • **

    If Todd Nelson says he’s NHL ready, then so be it. I have the utmost respect for the OKC head coach. He has done an amazing job developing the youngsters, Marincin is a prime example.

  • **

    Watched an early episode of Oil Change and was moved by Pitlick’s reaction when he was sent back to the AHL. This kid has guts and determination. He deserves a real shot at the big time. I like his grit, style and speed, I also like his attitude. Fingers crossed that he’s the grinder we need. He reminds me of a young #94 – all heart, and WANTS to be an Oiler.

  • **

    They seriously need to deal Lander while his value is high. I think he’s done pretty well with the big club but his size and speed don’t help us right now. Glad to see Pitlick get the call and hope the give Larsen the remaining games to show us what we have there. He can really fly and has a nose for the net. With the right partner he might be worth keeping.

      • **

        Throw him up there… What do we have to lose? An interesting question but highly unlikely as it’s so rare for Dmen to move up. What I wouldn’t give to see a BBurns or Big Buff in Oil Silks. How good are those guys when at any point they give the coaching option of sliding them into D or wing. That’s crazy versatility especially given the size of those guys.

  • **

    Let’s hope Pitlick and Lander are both ready to make the jump next year. Both are in ideal situations to make the team. Pitlick would ideally slot into a role beside Gordon and Hendricks on the 3rd line. Jesse Joensuu is a minor league player who should not be considered for the that 3rd line slot. Lander really has no competition as the 4th line centre. It’s his position to lose, I think.

    • **

      Bachman on goal, Roman Horak, Andrew Miller, CJ Stretch (actual name, not an 80’s toy) Fedun, Hunt and Musil on D. They just might squeak into the playoffs with that lineup.

  • Fatbob24

    Happy for Pitlick.

    Another shaft for Arco. Watching Gagner at 4.8 mil next season with a no trade when we coulda had Arco on the cheep with same production for 1 mil blows. Neithers the answer, but this mismanagement has sent its message that Arco could fill balloons with his ars for all they cared.

    • mesa

      come on you guys.Arco is a nice story but he is not a second line center and neither is Gagner.so replacing a small center with another small center is not the solution.MacT next two moves should be number 1 D and 2nd line center and the price is anybody .the untouchables are hull ,nuge ,shultz, martin marincin, nail and eberle.

      • Marshall Law

        If you’re hoping for them to acquire a #1 D or a #2 C without giving up any of those “untouchables”, you’re going to be disappointed.

        You can’t say “the price is anybody” and then exclude all of the pieces that have value.

    • **

      I’m going to give Mac T the benefit of the doubt to get something done in the off season.

      It looks like Lander could very well take over a centre spot somewhere on the roster, as utility players like him and Hendricks are great to have through the line up.

      Meaning having Arco as an injury call up gives the team some depth at the position, which hasn’t happened in a long long while.

      I hope Pitlick can take over the 3rd line RW position left by Hemsky. But if not then I hope they sign Steve Downie for that particular role.