Tyler Pitlick activated, Andrew Miller reassigned to OKC

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The Edmonton Oilers made a move on Monday, activating winger Tyler Pitlick off injured reserve and re-assigning Andrew Miller to Oklahoma City to make space on the roster for him. 

We might as well start with the man on his way back down to the minors. Miller originally joined the Oilers’ organization as a college free agent (he’s a Yale man) in the summer of 2013. His rookie pro season was decent, but because of his age (he’ll be 27 in September) there was legitimate reason to be concerned about his ability to improve upon it. This year, he managed it, putting up 56 points in 58 contests for the Barons, and going from eight goals a year ago to 25 this season.

That strong play put Miller in the mix for an NHL recall, and he did a pretty nice job of proving he deserved it. He scored six points in nine games, mostly playing on a line with Anton Lander and Taylor Hall, and scored a lovely first NHL goal:

Miller wasn’t perfect, and as an undersized forward who is long in the tooth for a prospect he’s always going to have some hurdles to overcome if he is to establish himself as a full-time NHL player. But these nine games with Edmonton undoubtedly helped his cause; he showed that he could survive at this level and his skating makes him dangerous. 

Miller is a restricted free agent this summer and the Oilers have some tough decisions to make, but he’s made a strong case for himself on a two-way deal. 

Pitlick has been the forgotten man the last while, thanks to yet another injury. This is the story of his career so far; if humanity ended today Pitlick’s legacy would be as a perpetually promising young player who got hurt every time it looked like things were on track.

He’s going to be a fascinating guy to watch over the remainder of the season, however. He has decent size (6′, 202 pounds), blazing speed and a creditable physical game; if he can ever stay healthy for a season or two we might be surprised at how good he is. Now he’s playing with his old centre and under the supervision of his old coach from Oklahoma City; these last three games afford him a real opportunity to convince the Oilers that he’s worth a roster spot next season. 

One item working in Pitlick’s favour is the schedule. Edmonton plays Los Angeles tonight, San Jose on Thursday and Vancouver on Saturday. The Oilers have struggled against their own division, and don’t match up well in terms of size; Pitlick’s skillset is the kind that could really stand out in these remaining games. 

RECENTLY BY JONATHAN WILLIS

  • Reg Dunlop

    I have always liked Pitlck, going back to his 1st training camp appearance. Like a young Bob Bourne. Damned injuries. Stay healthy young man, and good luck.

  • pkam

    Tonight’s game is a very rare only win situation.

    King’s win – Flames have harder time making playoffs.

    Oilers win – Kings have harder time making playoffs.

    Honestly I want to see Calgary make the playoffs so I don;t have to worry about them winning the lottery. It would also be crazy if the Kings did not make it.

    The really important game tonight, however, is the Pens Sens game. A week or so ago I went on a tirade about how there is no way the Pens don’t make the play offs. And now that is a real possibility. I take back my rantings, and am now firmly on the band wagon in hopes Pens do not make it.

    Can you imagine if both Kings and Pens don’t make it in. I guess Suter is right, “it’s harder to make the playoffs than win the Stanley Cup.”

    • pkam

      I have been praying to hockey god that Pens miss the playoff and win the lottery. From their track record, they are very good at it (remember Crosby?).

      That’s how I channel all my energy towards something positive.

      And I couldn’t care who makes the playoff in the west. I just wanted the Oilers to beat the Flames at least once and sadly they disappointed me.

      That comment by Sutter is only applicable to the Kings, I think.

      • pkam

        I heard Doughty said he wanted them to win the game against Vancouver so they’d have home ice advantage. Is he aware they have not clinched a playoff spot yet?

        If the Pens missed the playoffs, and won the lottery, at least no one could say the lottery was rigged. Because in what world would the NHL want the Edmonton Oilers to have both the 1st and 3rd overall pick this year?

        Surely though, if that happened, the Oilers would have to trade that third pick for a top end D man.

  • HockeyHaven

    Both are on 2 way contracts and Barons need Miller for the playoffs plus he was an emergency call up. Oilers need a good look at Pitlick right now – they know what Miller has to offer. Good luck to both of them.

      • Just a Fan

        Let him be picked up on waivers. One less piece of flotsam to deal with.
        What is classic about the Oilers is their utter disregard for the people who invest money and time on this team.
        No way that this AHL roster shoud be playing tonight.
        Make every effort to win every game.
        The endless cycle of prospects has been nothing but forcing Edmonton fans to be treated to the worst hocky in the NHL for a decade.
        MacTavish could have a least had the self respect to not abet the outright tank this year.
        Playing Pitlick tonight is just another example of asking Edmonton fans to ensure an never will be AHL player at NHL prices.

      • Just a Fan

        Let him be picked up on waivers. One less piece of flotsam to deal with.
        What is classic about the Oilers is their utter disregard for the people who invest money and time on this team.
        No way that this AHL roster shoud be playing tonight.
        Make every effort to win every game.
        The endless cycle of prospects has been nothing but forcing Edmonton fans to be treated to the worst hocky in the NHL for a decade.
        MacTavish could have a least had the self respect to not abet the outright tank this year.
        Playing Pitlick tonight is just another example of asking Edmonton fans to ensure an never will be AHL player at NHL prices.

  • pkam

    Yes it will be interesting to see how he does. I personally don’t think he’ll do much. 3 games is to short a period to get up to NHL speed. IMO he’s a next year guy!

  • hagar

    Besides the crazy odds that the pens pick wins the lottery, it’s just amazing what that pens first overall is turning into!

    I can’t imagine that trade happening like it did if the pens thought they would be this low in the standings right now.

    Even without a lottery win, it’s still super cool what the Peron trade is turning into.

    • pkam

      Wow, even if they get in, there’s a good chance that pick falls down to 15th overall. Now personally I’d still take Perron over this year’s 15th overall pick. But I do agree the team is better without all the jumbling on the wings. Keeping lines together has improved play dramatically, and it was hard to find the ice time for Hall, Poulliot, and Perron.

      Here’s hoping the Pens fall out of the play offs, and end up somewhere around 13th overall.

        • hagar

          Perron was obviously another “no way around it” kind of trade.

          I liked Perron a lot, but he spoke his mind, and everyone knows Kevin “the fuhrer” Lowe doesn’t let that sh’t fly around here.

          Keep your head down and play with what you are given… otherwise, pack your bags.

          Someone mentioned the other day that it’s ridiculous to think that Klowe is causing players to not want to come to Edmonton. I would present this “say anything, and you lose your job” mentality, as case in point, number one.

  • hagar

    This is a dtisgrace.
    Why demote an actual prospect , who actually contributed, to the Oilers cause in the last three weeks for an absolute write-off?
    Pitlick is utterly useless.
    I defy anyone to make a case for him. He was a mistake five years ago when he was drafted , and has done nothing since to alter that characterization.
    Forget the excuse of injuries. Real players don’t spend all of their carerr on the injured reserve list.
    I don’t recall him ever making or taking a real pass in the games wasted on him.
    How stupid can the Oilers be?

    Fire MacTavish tomorrow.

  • T.J.F.M.

    I assume management thinks that this change is enough to win the game vs LA.

    We can probably expect two or three more of these “tweaks” before next season, as we just “need more seasoning and developing”

    Gawd im sick of this team. Its like being addicted to heroin (not that i know from experience).

      • T.J.F.M.

        Im just being sarcastic. Plus, what MacT says publically sometimes does lead me to believe that he is perfectly content staying status quo for another season.

        • pkam

          I think MacT has already said we need to add 3-4 bodies this off season. But it doesn’t mean you can get it done because you want to.

          From what I read, MacT had tried to sign Roy last summer and Roy chose the Preds for less money. Same with Hendricks and Clarkson. I don’t even know how many more chose somewhere else than Edmonton for less money.

  • Dwayne Roloson 35

    I really like Pitlick. He plays with heart. Really unfortunate how often hes injured. Wasnt his last time on the IR because his insides exploded?

  • Just a Fan

    Someone, answer this question:

    If there was one ‘perfect’ player that would be the ‘perfect’ fit for the Oilers, whom would that be?

    Justify your answer.

    – W.W

    • YFC Prez

      Pietriangelo- Weber

      Do I really need to justify!?

      Not one player on the roster I wouldn’t trade for either, I can dream.

      (Psst Giordano would be awesome too. If he were 6 years younger.)

      Just don’t tell those flames fans who misspell their handles that.