ME AND PAUL

ryan hamilton ferguson 1415

Among the Oilers cuts last night were four players who found the waiver wire this morning. NHL prospects and suspects who are trying to make the NHL as regulars only get so many training camps to show their stuff, and Brad Hunt, Tyler Pitlick, Andrew Miller and Ryan Hamilton just lost them one. How far is the gap between Tyler Pitlick and Rob Klinkhammer? 

Ryan Hamilton has been everywhere, man. He played for the Burnaby Express of the BCJHL and the Moose Jaw Warriors (WHL) at age 16 and has been receiving his education in the cities of two nations for the entire century. Now 30, he is in the second year of his current contract (I believe it’s the most lucrative of his career) Hamilton’s education no doubt holds him in good stead today. If he doesn’t get claimed by the other 29 teams, Hamilton will mentor Yakimov, Chase and others who spent the last 10 days trying to beat him out for a job. It’s a strange position to be in, but that’s the game. 

hunt ahl numbers

Brad Hunt  

is pure madness offensively in the AHL. It’s clear he belongs in a higher league but the question is, which one? He’s an adventure defensively but the offensive potential is exceptional. His NHLE for his AHL career so far is 82GP, 9-20-29 . That’s very good for a defenseman and this year he was scoring at even strength too. Brad Hunt is an elite-level offensive talent in the AHL, I’m comfortable with stating it as fact. His NHL looks have been chaotic and that’s keeping him outside the NHL. Will another team take a chance? Will the Oilers trade him in a minor league deal, preferring to audition Joey Laleggia and Jordan Oesterle in the offensive defenseman role?



miller capture

Andrew Miller  

may have paid dividends for the Oilers organization already. I spoke to Tom Lynn on the Lowdown last winter, he told me the number one thing college kids are looking for in signing with an NHL team is opportunity. Lynn said a team (like Edmonton) that gives opportunities (and NHL minutes) to college free agents after signing them gets noticed. I think Miller has a decent chance of getting a recall this season. 



pitlick ferguson 1415

Tyler Pitlick  was supposed to be an established NHL player by now, but injuries and lack of offense have him here. Pitlick’s offense in junior looked good but he hasn’t posted the kinds of AHL numbers that suggest he’ll have an NHL career. Last season, at age 23 he scored 14GP, 3-6-9 (.643 points-per-game) in the minors, by far his best number so far. At the same age, Rob Klinkhammer posted 72GP, 10-14-24 (.333 points-per-game) and hadn’t played an NHL game yet. The lesson? Stay healthy, keep going. Pitlick’s NHL career may not look as we thought it might in 2010 but all is not lost. If he can play a full schedule in the AHL, things could be different a year from now. 

WHAT’S NEXT?

For these four men, waivers ends tomorrow and then they are (likely) off to Bakersfield for training camp. The AHL Bakersfield Condors begin their season later in the fall and all four players would be substantial members of the team if it works out that way. 

It’s also possible that all four men see the NHL again this season. More cuts to come and only 23 spots available, the most difficult choices are ahead. 

Most of the men who were waived today will get another chance, and can look to Anton Lander—himself on waivers last fall and now a part of Edmonton’s roster—for inspiration. Willie Nelson’s “Me and Paul” should also offer comfort, if a talent like Willie couldn’t get on the stage in Buffalo it tells you more about Buffalo than it does Willie Nelson. 

I don’t know Pitlick, Miller, Hunt or Hamilton. If I did, I’d tell them to keep on trucking, exhaust every opportunity until you’re sure it’s gone or you’ve lost interest in the pursuit. Whatever comes after, it’ll very likely be a lesser dream for these men. 

(Ryan Hamilton and Tyler Pitlick photos by Rob Ferguson, all rights reserved).

  • I tried it at home

    Honestly speaking, I really have to wonder where these plyers would be if Eakins wasnt the head coach last year. Hamilton espcially. With a better caoch to give them guidance and structure, they might just make it over the hump. Good luck to them all.

    • Strange Tamer

      Hamilton wouldn’t be in the Oilers organization, he was an Eakins’ guy. And like his coaching abilities his talent evaluations were very suspect: ie Scrivens, Acton, Fraser and the rest of the Marlie rejects he brought in to play. It was so comical when Eakins strutted in like he was god’s gift to hockey and was going to reinvent the wheel, and then tried to pull a Gene Hackman in The Replacements and bring in a bunch of flawed long shots and turn the franchise around.

      It was even funnier that no one in the main stream media had the stones to call him out on it at the time, and now just try to pretend he never existed.

      Funny how an established coach like Maclellan hasn’t brought in any of “his guys”.

  • I tried it at home

    It’s nice to be worried about losing good players because you don’t have a spot for them on the big team. If they insist on having an offensive Dman, I’d still rather have hunt than Schultz,

      • Randaman

        I just say that because you’d get over a 3 mill cap savings and an actual threat of a shot from the point. Id rather have neither of them… Just saying if they insist of having an offensive Dman that can’t play defence, I’d take Hunt

        • justDOit

          you’d get over a 3 mill cap savings

          Nope. Only about $900k comes off the cap, and it’s been this way for a few years now. It’s the ‘Wade Redden’ clause in the CBA.

        • For Pete's Sake!

          The really sad thing is that there really hasn’t been much difference between Hunt and Schultz in how bad they have played defensively in the NHL the last couple of years.

          And both are pretty close to each other in the amount of offense they create.

          Schultz’s main advantage is that he’s 6’2″ and skates a bit better.

          Hunt’s advantage is that wicked shot from the point.

          If Hunt was 6’5″ and 220 lbs he would be exactly what the Oilers need, i.e. “Dougie Hamilton.”

  • Randaman

    Hunt is a career AHL player,

    Hamilton is a career AHL player,

    Pitlick was a wasted pick. Sorry but it’s true. Sometimes it just doesn’t work. Not all draft picks play in the NHL obviously. Injuries played a huge role here unfortunately. I hope somebody picks him up and gives him another shot.

    Miller has the game but the golden ticket has changed everything at Center. Great call up option in the short term. He could be useful via call up or trade.

      • camdog

        Well take a screen shot of my comment and have a look at it in 3 years. These guys will not be on the Oilers…all the trashes are probably from the same guys who gushed over Parjarvi,Schremp,Omark and Tkachev…and where are they now??

  • Joe Mamma

    All four of these players should clear waivers.

    1) Brad Hunt – as far as bubble players, he’s behind Nurse, Reinhart and Davidson and that is a great thing. If Hunt is no the NHL team, the team is just not good enough. We will soon be past by Musil, LaLeggia and Osterle (if he hasn’t already).

    2) Pitlick has been outplayed by the veteran Klinkhammer. Tyler likely has a higher ceiling but Klink is a solid 4th liner/13th guy that can be trusted by the coach. Tyler still needs to find some consistency in his game and in his health.

    3) Andrew Miller – I like this player. He showed well in the NHL last year and in the exhibition games this year. He is a nice depth forward if injuries start to pile up.

    4) I have almost no thoughts on Ryan Hamilton – he’s not an NHL quality player.

  • YFC Prez

    Pitlick is so disappointing.

    This really was his last real opportunity to show this team he can play in the NHL and he did diddly squat in camp. He wishes he had done squat, no he did diddly squat!

    He’s just lucky he plays on the right side. If he were a left winger he would be burried behind Slepyshev and they way that kid is playing I doubt he would ever see NHL action again with the depth in front of him.

    Pitlick will see NHL games when injurys hit, he’s probably first call up after Klink. . I hope he makes the best of it. I’m one of the biggest Pitlick supporters but Hes not making it easy on his fans anymore.

  • justDOit

    Brad Hunt is unable to complete an honest self-assessment. That’s on him. If he did, he’d come to the same conclusion as Lowetide, and would leave to greener pastures in Europe.

    • For Pete's Sake!

      The thing is, smaller defensemen can play great in the NHL if they play smart. Look at Jared Spurgeon.

      Hunt has a ton of talent but he hasn’t learned to adapt to the “heavy” NHL game. It’s too bad. I really can see the potential McTavish saw in him.

    • Brad Hunt is going to make $150K at the AHL level this year, and more if he gets any NHL action. He played 11 NHL games last year and was an AHL All-Star.

      If I were him, 27 years old and making good money, I’d probably be just fine with taking a chance and trying to push my way into the NHL. There’s no need to give up on the dream, and there will always be money to be made in Europe next year if that’s what I want to do.

      It wasn’t all that long ago that smart people were saying that Mark Arcobello might as well pack it in and head for Europe, and I’d bet he’s glad he didn’t.