Yesterday, the playoff bound Nashville Predators signed star NCAA forward Rem Pitlick to a two-year entry level contract.
A speedy, high-scoring center, Pitlick has a lot of attributes that Predators fans should be very excited about. Plus, Preds fans may see him sooner than they think.
Listed at 5’9″ and 196 lbs, the 21 year-old Pitlick just finished his 3rd season playing for the Minnesota Golden Gophers (the University of Minnesota). Rem is the son of 400 game NHL veteran Lance Pitlick and the cousin of Dallas Stars forward Tyler Pitlick.
Three years after being drafted in third round (76th overall-2016) Rem signed a two-year ELC with Predators, worth $925k per season.
Pitlick has performed well in all leagues he’s played in, most notably in the USHL (105 points in 103 games played) and NCAA (108 points in 112 games played). Pitlick had fantastic totals with Minnesota this year, putting up 45 points in 38 games for 5th in NCAA scoring, ahead of highly touted (and recently signed) prospects Ryan Kuffner (signed-DET), Adam Fox (Drafted CGY-traded-CAR), Max Vérroneau (Signed-OTT), Joel Farabee (Drafted-PHI), and teammate Quinn Hughes (Drafted-VAN).
Vérroneau (OTT), Kuffner (DET), and Hughes (VAN) are all on their respective teams’ roster to finish the current NHL season. Once again, all performed worse than Pitlick.
Dobber Prospects’ Matthew Somma adds praise to Pitlick’s game, saying that talent is undeniable, but lists size as a concern for the speedy scoring forward. Niko Salminen, also of Dobber Prospects, elaborates on more drawbacks of Pitlick’s game, saying that his defence is a large concern but praises his speed and creativity with the puck.
The chart above, also from dobberprospects.com, uses PNHLe (a graphing system used to predict NHL potential) to predict that Rem Pitlick could be a 2nd line forward in the NHL. PNHLe is based upon the average production of NHL players who had similar scoring (to the focus player) in their respective junior leagues (in this case, the NCAA).
Taking into account Pitlick’s speed and offensive tendencies, as well as his exceptional scoring ability, it is not unbelievable that he could make the NHL this coming season.
Pitlick, much like many other recently signed prospects, will most-likely sign an amateur tryout contract with the Preds’ AHL club (Milwaukee Admirals) to close out the season.
If Pitlick jumps into the Preds’ lineup next season, I would expect him to be sheltered on the 3rd or 4th line but get top power-play minutes. This setup would theoretically improve Pitlick’s production while lowering his quality-of-competition.
Rem Pitlick is an exceptional skater, whom expresses tremendous offensive senses, fits the mold of the ideal NHL player in the current style of the game. Furthermore, Pitlick would most certainly be a welcome addition to an already stacked Predators team as soon as next season.
Stats and resources retrieved from dobberprospects.com, elite prospects.com, uscho.com, cap friendly.com, and thehockeywriters.com
Featured Image Photo Credit – Nikos Michals