The Bakersfield Condors will be welcoming a handful of forwards to their roster this fall who are making the transition to the professional game.
Among those players is Tyler Tullio, one of the players that the Oilers took at the 2020 NHL Draft when they selected exclusively forwards with all six of their picks.
Tullio will be an interesting player to watch this season. He was described as one of the more complete forwards available heading into his draft but wound up falling much lower than expected largely because of a concern that he wasn’t big enough to play his game at the NHL level.
We’ve seen many examples in the past of players getting overlooked due to their size and the hope for the Oilers is that Tullio can do that as well. The first step will be finding a role on the Condors as a rookie in the AHL.
Position: Centre / Right Wing
Nationality: Canada / United States
Date of Birth: April 27, 1999
Drafted: 2020, No. 126 overall (EDM)
Height: 5’10” / 178 cm
Weight: 165 lbs / 75 kg
Tullio was selected by the Oshawa Generals with the No. 11 overall pick in the 2018 OHL Draft. In his rookie season in the OHL, Tullio scored 42 points across 60 games, and he followed that up by scoring 66 points over 62 games for the Generals in his second season.
A high OHL draft pick who had two productive showings in his pre-draft OHL seasons had Tullio ranked as a prospect who would go early on the second day of the NHL draft, but he wound up falling all the way to the fifth round.
It was quite shocking to see Tullio go this low in the draft, given his production and the fact scouts praised him for having a very complete game for a young player. Before the draft, Tony Ferrari of Dobber Prospects suggested that Tullio was quietly one of the more complete forwards in the class…
“Tullio is quietly one of the most complete players in the draft class. He can play in all situations and anywhere in the top-nine. He has good awareness at both ends of the ice and brings a creativity to the offensive zone that makes him dangerous anytime the puck is on his stick. He is crafty with his stick and strips opponents through the neutral zone with consistency. Tullio engages physically despite being a bit undersized thanks to a non-stop motor. A versatile forward who can get under the opponent’s skin.”
Tullio didn’t have an opportunity to prove teams wrong in 2020-21 as the OHL’s season was derailed due to COVID-19. He wound up finding a gig playing professional hockey in Slovakia, where he’d score 13 points across 19 games.
In 2021-22, the OHL played a full season and Tullio broke out with a career-high of 42 goals and 86 points over the course of 65 games. He was the best player on a middling Generals team that wound up losing in the first round of the playoffs.
This season will be Tullio’s first look at the professional game in North America. While other forwards who will be joining the team as rookies this season such as Xavier Bourgault and Carter Savoie will be pushing for offensive roles, Tullio is a multidimensional player who could thrive as an agitator in a checking role.
Before the draft, Tullio said that he models his game around Brad Marchand, the NHL’s infamous pest…
“I try and model a little bit after Brad Marchand, not the dirty side. He’s a small guy like me, he’s offensively gifted, can shoot, make plays, has great hockey vision and uses his body. He’s gritty. He has all the things I have in my game as well.”
Skepticism over whether Tullio could play such a style at the NHL level given his size resulted in him falling to the Oilers in the fifth round of the draft. It’ll be interesting to see if he can prove teams wrong for passing on him, much like Marchand and others have done in the past.
For reference, players who I consider to be “prospects” for this countdown are those who have played fewer than 50 NHL games and are 23 years old or younger at the start of the 2022-23 season.
Previously in this series…
- Prospect Countdown – No. 11: James Hamblin
- Prospect Countdown – No. 12: Mike Kesselring
- Prospect Countdown – No. 13: Phil Kemp
- Prospect Countdown – No. 14: Jake Chiasson
- Prospect Countdown – No. 15: Olivier Rodrigue
- Honourable Mentions: Luca Munzenberger, Filip Engaras, Noah Philp, and Ryan Fanti
- Graduates and Departures From Last Year’s List