Tyler Pitlick turned pro in the fall of 2011, and since that day he has been matriculating toward an NHL job. After multiple injuries over multiple years, he finally emerged this season and posted a strong (almost) first half of the season. Does anyone have a list of injuries? I do, but it may not be complete. It is impressive, I will say that much.


  • 2010-11 REGULAR SEASON. Pitlick was injured later in the regular season (he played in 56 games), suffering an ankle injury. I spoke to Bob Ridley (Tigers PBP man) spring 2011 and he stated Pitlick could be back if the Tigers had a playoff run. They did not, and he did not.

In the 2011-12 season, Pitlick turned pro, and for the third time in three seasons was playing at a different level of hockey.

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  • Tyler Pitlick: “College was pretty physical, but I don’t think it really compares to this level. It was a step up for me last season in Medicine Hat, and I think I handled it well. It’s been another step up here in OKC, but I think I’ve done well adapting to this, too. That’s one area, but there are a lot of other things I’ve had to work on as well.”

I asked Jim Byers (a true pro, just like Ridley) several times over that first season about Pitlick as a PF, and he maintained he was a big kid who could hit people and had a heavy shot. That is an important bit of information, as that is exactly what we have seen these five years later.

  • 2012-13 REGULAR SEASON: He had some injury issues beginning late October 2012 (I have a note that says concussion) and then ripped ligaments in his knee mid-January 2013. It was a substantial and serious injury, absolutely impacting his career progress. He did make it back for the playoffs and performed well (16, 2-4-6).
  • 2013-14 REGULAR SEASON: Received his first NHL call when Ryan Smyth was forced to fly back to Edmonton with an injury. He played in Montreal and scored in his third game—a highlight for fans who had patiently waited to see him at the NHL level. While with the team, he sustained a sprained knee and missed 19 games (it was a tough collision), but he did get into 10 NHL games this season.
  • 2014-15 REGULAR SEASON: Joanne Ireland: He left the New Year’s Eve game with a lac­er­at­ed spleen and will spend the next three months avoiding any con­tact. For the next month, he will not be al­lowed to work­out. No weights. No car­dio. No ex­cep­tions. 
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  • 2015-16 REGULAR SEASON: Concussion, other maladies played only 37 games during the 2015-16 season, all in Bakersfield.

If you can add to the list, please let me know in the comments section. Spleen, knee, ankle, concussion, and of course the news today.

What a terrible turn for Pitlick. Absolutely terrible injury, and it seems completely unfair to ask a player who has rehabbed more than played to do it again. He will do it, and has a chance to find his own way (qualifies as a UFA this summer, due to a combination of age, experience and lack of NHL games) beginning July 1. We wish him well, and hope he returns as an Oiler.

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Bob Ridley and Jim Byers described him perfectly early on and his AHL coach Gerry Fleming gave a very good description of what he brings and why he has value.

  • Gerry Fleming: When ‘Pitter’ is at his best, he’s on loose pucks, he’s moving his feet, he’s protecting the puck, he’s going to the net. The biggest part of his game is his physicality. He hits like a train, and when he’s hitting and starting and stopping on pucks, he’s an effective player. I think he’s starting to grasp the concept of the way he has to play in order to be effective and that’s using his speed on the outside, protecting the puck, and bringing it to the net. It comes back to his physicality. When he’s finishing his checks, being physical in front of the net, and winning battles in the corners, he can help the team and be an asset.” Source

Godspeed, Tyler Pitlick. See you in the fall. Photo by Mark Williams, all rights reserved.