Some not entirely surprising news out of the Oilers training camp today, the four players who were placed on waivers on Saturday evening when the team trimmed its training camp roster by 18 - Ryan Hamilton, Brad Hunt, Andrew Miller and Tyler Pitlick - have all cleared waivers and will be assigned to Bakersfield. Every team in the NHL already has two or three of these players on their roster, so had a claim been made on anyone in this group it would have been more than a little surprising.
Brad Hunt, Andrew Miller, Ryan Hamilton and Tyler Pitlick cleared waivers today and are reporting to @Condors training camp.— Edmonton Oilers (@EdmontonOilers) September 28, 2015
If there is a name in that group that Oilers fans might be a little surprised to see gone from camp so early it’s Tyler Pitlick. Not many would have had Pitlick penciled in for a spot in the opening night roster but most were probably hiopin to see a little more from him during camp, maybe enough to make the coaches at least contemplate some options to keep him on the roster. I guess posting a -2 and recording just one shot on goal in three games wasn’t enough to make that happen.
Pitlick’s early demotion might have caught you and I off guard but it likely comes as no shock to Scott who ranked him at 23rd in our most recent edition of Top 25 Under 25, when everyone else on our panel took a much rosier view of his prospects and/or position within the organization and helped push him up to 14th overall. This is Scott’s explanation of his ranking:
Pitlick will be 24 in November and isn’t yet established as a fourth line / press-box option at the NHL level. Offensively, he’s past the point where we usually see the most improvement and he hasn’t ever reached a level in the AHL where you’d expect him to become a top-nine player in the NHL. At this point, a better-than-average-but-not-outlandish outcome would be a career like Rob Klinkhammer’s; more than that would be a real surprise. That has minimal value to me, enough to put him ahead of the players I think of as longshots, but not enough to put him ahead of anyone that I think has significant potential. If anything, I think I may have him a touch too high.
There is still time for Pitlick though. Anton Lander, who was drafted a year before Pitlick, didn’t establish himself as an NHL player until last season and there’s certainly a chance that Pitlick could do the same this season. Unfortunately for him though he’s shown himself to be less capable at the AHL level than Lander and it seems as if he gets injured every time he starts to get his game going in the right direction. One step forward, two steps back has been the theme of Pitlick’s pro career.
He’ll be a restricted free agent at the end of the season and it doesn’t seem like he turned any heads during camp. That makes me wonder if we just watched Pitlick’s last best chance to establish himself with this organization.