Peter Chiarelli took care of some housekeeping on Thursday, clearing up the last few restricted free agents the Edmonton Oilers had to deal with. After signing Brandon Davidson earlier in the day, the team announced it had agreed to terms with right wing Tyler Pitlick on a one-year deal.
— Edmonton Oilers (@EdmontonOilers) July 16, 2015
Financial terms were not released by the team, but the Edmonton Journal‘s Joanne Ireland revealed that Pitlick had accepted his qualifying offer:
#Oilers now have their three restricted free agents signed to new deals. Winger Tyler Pitlick has signed his qualifying offer.
— Joanne Ireland (@jirelandEJ) July 16, 2015
If I’m reading the CBA correctly, Pitlick was entitled to a five percent raise on his previous contract in this year’s qualifying offer, which would be an NHL salary of roughly $761,000, but would not be a one-way deal.
Pitlick’s situation is not entirely dissimilar from Davidson’s; like the defenceman, he will need to clear waivers to be assigned to the minors and there are some obstacles to him cracking the NHL roster, particularly if the Oilers opt to run with 13 forwards and eight defencemen.
Eleven forward spots are virtually locked up already, and competition for the two to three remaining spots will be tight, with the following list of players all contenders:
- Rob Klinkhammer. The veteran NHL forward adds size and speed, and has scored more in previous years than he did with the Oilers over a half-season cameo.
- Luke Gazdic. It really depends on if Edmonton decides that it needs an enforcer.
- Leon Draisaitl. Top prospect played a half-season at the NHL level in 2014-15; he may be ticketed to Bakersfield but he may also claim a top-nine job.
- Iiro Pakarinen. Like Pitlick, he’s a reasonably big, reasonably physical checking line right wing.
- Bogdan Yakimov. The mammoth prospect centre is likely going to get a second year in the AHL, but he impressed at training camp a year ago.
- Andrew Miller. Like Pitlick, Miller is a right wing who requires waivers and while neither big nor physical he brings speed and playmaking ability
Even assuming that Pakarinen, Yakimov and Miller are all bound for the minor leagues, Pitlick will have his work cut out for him, particularly if the Oilers end up running just 13 forwards.
Still, he’s far from a lost cause. Pitlick has been plagued by a baffling array of often unrelated injuries; it’s one thing to be injury-prone but items like this are just incredible:
#Oilers forward Tyler Pitlick suffered a lacerated spleen during last night’s game and remains in Calgary for further evaluation.
— Edmonton Oilers (@EdmontonOilers) January 1, 2015
Those injuries may well end up costing Pitlick an NHL career, but if he can stay healthy this year he’s going to be an interesting player to watch. Pitlick has excellent skating, weighs in at north of 200 pounds and at times has looked like a really nice fit as a checking line winger who can chip in offensively. All of those are valuable attributes, particularly for the Oilers who could use an effective fourth-line right winger. Of course, it’s all predicated on him staying healthy.
Update: TSN’s Ryan Rishaug confirms the figures on Pitlick’s deal.
760 over 85 on 2 way for Pitlick
— Ryan Rishaug (@TSNRyanRishaug) July 16, 2015
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