Saturday, December 27, 2014

Tyler Pitlick Autograph Card

After scoring a huge check of my Habs Numbers Project with this Scotty Bowman card 48 hours ago, I decided to check #68 off of my Oilers Numbers Project with a player who has a link to my Sens Numbers Project, Tyler Pitlick, with this card from Panini's 2013-14 Contenders set (#223 in the collection, part of the Rookie Ticket and Dual Rookie Class sub-sets, signed on-card in thin blue sharpie and showing him in the Edmonton Oilers' classic blue - now home - uniform):
As you've probably guessed, Tyler is Lance Pitlick's nephew, and while Tyler is a center and Lance was a defenseman, the elder Pitlick - who now runs a stick-handling-oriented hockey school and training program - says his nephew has a lot more offensive talent than he ever did. I liked Lance a lot, and I respect his opinion.

The 23-year-old's statistics at every level show that he was among the good players for the Minnesota State University, Mankato Mavericks before being a better-than-point-per-game producer in the WHL, and has progressed very well in the AHL as well, from 23 points in 62 games in 2011-12 to 22 points in 39 games last season (with 10 games in Edmonton) to 9 points in 14 games this year.

At 6'2'' and weighing over 200 pounds, the right-shooting pivot may soon become a hot commodity should he start really keep developing at the top level; centermen his size that shoot right-handed are relatively rare, even more so when it comes to those who can play on a team's top-9 or top-6.

I personally don't think the second-round pick will become a 60-point man in the NHL as a few experts had predicted when he was chosen 31st overall in 2010, but he's pretty dependable defensively, and I think he can man a third line on a deep team that only uses its fourth line to check opponents, or he could be a 40-point man on average (30-to-45 for maybe 4 or 5 years) on a weak team's second line where he'd get plenty of ice time, like the Arizona Coyotes or Carolina Hurricanes.

The last couple of years, I thought he and Mark Arcobello might switch second- and third-line duties in Edmonton for the foreseeable future (or both on the second line with one of them playing right wing), but in all honesty, Leon Draisaitl looks more like the perfect candidate for that position at this point.

But the kid has heart, and he likes to initiate contact. He's not afraid of hanging around the front of the net. He just might need to shoot more, but those types of opportunities come in due time when the effort level's there. He's got the balls to wear Jaromir Jagr's jersey number, so here's hoping he can match Grandfather Time's intensity level. He seems to know what it takes to stay in the NHL at this point. I can only wish him the best.

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