Nashville Predators

Nashville Predators: Examining The Underrated Signing Of Rem Pitlick

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.

Player Info

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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.

Statistics

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.

https://nhlrankking.com/Dobber/?id=199968

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).

Possible Utilization 

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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.

Conclusion

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

United States

Top Ten Drafted Prospects Vol. 2 – United States

Welcome back to my international top 10 drafted prospects series.

As we’re doing this by nation, last time we took a look at Canada’s top ten drafted prospects. This list was highlighted by defenseman Cale Makar (COL), forward Cody Glass (VGK), and forward Morgan Frost (PHI). Today, we’re going to head south of the border and check out who the future of the United States has to offer. Without further ado, let’s dive in.

10. Josh Norris (C, Ottawa Senators – 1st Round, 19th Overall in 2017 to SJ)

Touted as one of the main pieces in the trade that sent Erik Karlsson to San Jose, Norris is looking like he could be a very solid piece for the Senators in the future. While he unfortunately had to undergo season-ending surgery, he finished off his campaign with 19 points in 17 games for the University of Michigan and he also had a strong World Junior showing with six points in seven games.

9. Oliver Wahlstrom (LW, New York Islanders – 1st Round, 11th Overall in 2018)

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Wahlstrom got off to a slow start with Boston College of the NCAA, but he quickly turned things around and is now back to a solid scoring pace with 15 points in 29 games. The 6’1 winger will likely spend a few years playing for Boston College but he will be a legitimate scoring threat with the Islanders someday.

8. Ryan Poehling (C, Montreal Canadiens – 1st Round, 25th Overall in 2017)

Although he was always a good prospect, Poehling really started to make headlines at this year’s World Juniors where he put up eight points in seven games for the USA. He’s also having a very good season with St. Cloud State University, having put up 27 points in 29 games thus far. For a Montreal Canadiens team that lacks a heavy offense, Poehling will be one of the pieces that will fix that.

7. Jeremy Bracco (RW, Toronto Maple Leafs – 2nd Round, 61st Overall in 2015)

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In the 2015 NHL Draft, the Leafs drafted more skilled players than the organization had ever seen before and Bracco was a part of the crop. He’s had a steady development and truly broke out with the Toronto Marlies this season having put up 56 points in 56 games so far, good enough for third in the league for scoring. If he keeps playing like this, the Maple Leafs might have no choice but to call him up despite the amount of offense they already have.

6. Bode Wilde (D, New York Islanders – 2nd Round, 41st Overall in 2018)

Wilde is a 6’4 right-handed defenseman who’s effective at both ends of the ice and is currently torching the OHL with 63 points in 54 games thus far. Why he slipped to the second round is unknown, but the Islanders certainly aren’t complaining. Wilde has one more year of eligibility in the OHL, but he also has the option to play college hockey next season. Either way, he will have at least one more year of development unless the Isles feel he’s ready for the NHL next season.

5. Joel Farabee (LW, Philadelphia Flyers – 1st Round, 14th Overall in 2018)

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With all of the prospect depth on the back-end the Flyers have, Farabee provides some hope for the Flyers’ future offense as well. He’s playing for Boston University this season and has not disappointed, putting up 29 points in 32 games thus far. The 6’1 New Yorker will certainly get a close look from Flyers’ brass if he keeps producing like this.

4. K’Andre Miller (D, New York Rangers – 1st Round, 22nd Overall in 2018)

For the longest time, prospect depth didn’t exist within the New York Rangers organization. Now with Lias Andersson, Vitali Kravtsov, and Miller among others, they quietly have a very good farm system. Miller, who just turned 19, is having an amazing season with the University of Wisconsin with 22 points in 26 games so far. He has good size and is good in both ends, so he could definitely be a prospect worth keeping an eye on for the Rangers.

3. Thatcher Demko (G, Vancouver Canucks – 2nd Round, 36th Overall in 2014)

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Demko is a little bit older than the rest of the prospects on this list, but he’s closer to becoming a regular NHLer than anybody else. While the Canucks added another intriguing goaltending prospect in Michael DiPietro this year, Demko has the edge as of now given that he has three years of AHL experience under his belt. He currently has a record of 8-5-0 with a goals against average of 2.58 and a save percentage of .911 with the Utica Comets this year. He only has three games of NHL experience under his belt, but will almost definitely see more games after this season.

2. Adam Fox (D, Carolina Hurricanes – 3rd Round, 66th Overall in 2016 to CGY)

Midway through the season, it’s safe to say the Flames got the better end of the trade that sent Elias Lindholm and Noah Hanifin to Calgary in exchange for Dougie Hamilton, Micheal Ferland, and Fox. Granted, Fox is looking like he could be a steal for the Canes. The 21-year-old currently playing for Harvard University and has 38 points in 28 games thus far. These totals are very, very good and could almost force the Hurricanes to give him a look at the NHL level next season.

1. Quinn Hughes (D, Vancouver Canucks – 1st Round, 7th Overall in 2018)

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Hughes’ younger brother Jack may get most of the attention considering he’s projected to go first overall in the 2019 Draft, but Quinn is no slouch himself and will almost certainly become an elite defenseman for the Canucks. The elder Hughes is currently playing for the University of Michigan and has 33 points in 29 games so far this season. It’s safe to assume the Canucks will give him a look in the NHL to start next season.

Thanks for reading! Tune in next time when we’ll go over the top ten drafted Russian prospects.

stats from eliteprospects.com

featured image photo credit – Pixabay.com

31 in 31: Top Ten Prospects Vol. 6 – Carolina Hurricanes

Welcome back to my 31 in 31 top ten prospect series.

Yesterday, we went to the province of Alberta and took a look at what the Calgary Flames are dealing with in the pipelines. Their balanced prospect pool consisted of a wide variety of players such as Juuso Valimaki, Dillon Dube, and Andrew Mangiapane. Today, we’re going back south of the border to have a look at the Carolina Hurricanes and who they’ve got in their farm system. Without further ado, let’s dive in.

1. Martin Necas (C, 1st Round, 12th Overall in 2017)

In some mock drafts, Necas was projected to go in the top ten. But he slipped down to 12th where the Hurricanes happily capitalized and brought him into their organization. Necas lit it up at all levels last season including an incredible world juniors performance and a great season with HC Kometa Brno where he put up 17 points in 24 games. In his first season in North America, Necas has put up 13 points in 20 games for the Charlotte Checkers and also dipped his feet into NHL waters, where he has two points in a seven-game stint.

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2. Adam Fox (D, 3rd Round, 66th Overall to CGY in 2016)

The Hurricanes acquired Adam Fox from the Calgary Flames before the 2018-19 season in the blockbuster that sent Dougie Hamilton to Carolina with Noah Hanifin and Elias Lindholm going back the other way. Fox is currently lighting the lamp playing for Harvard University of the NCAA with a whopping 20 points in 11 games. Expect Fox to get a taste of NHL action in the near future.

3. Jake Bean (D, 1st Round, 13th Overall in 2016)

Bean was drafted early in 2016 after an incredible offensive season in the WHL with 64 points in 68 games. He played out the last of his junior career last season and is currently in the middle of his first AHL season with the Charlotte Checkers. Bean currently has 12 points in 23 games and has two NHL games under his belt. He has a real chance to be one of the better offensive defensemen in the league in his prime.

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4. Stelio Mattheos (RW, 3rd Round, 73rd Overall in 2017)

It’s obviously much too early to tell, but the Hurricanes may have struck gold with the selection of Stelio Mattheos back in 2017. The Winnipeg native is currently playing for the Brandon Wheat Kings of the WHL and has 42 points in 27 games thus far. Acting as captain of the team this season, Mattheos has the option to either play for the Checkers next season or go back for one more overage season. If he continues to produce, it’s more likely he makes the jump to pro.

5. Janne Kuokkanen (C, 2nd Round, 43rd Overall in 2016)

Kuokkanen has been steadily improving his game every year since he’s been drafted and shows no plans of slowing down. A former London Knight, the 6’1 Finn is having an amazing season with the Charlotte Checkers in which he’s put up 23 points in 24 games. With 4 NHL games already under his belt, he could be one of the next call ups the Hurricanes make.

6. Aleksi Saarela (C, 3rd Round, 89th Overall in 2015 to NYR)

Acquired from the New York Rangers back in 2016 in a deal that sent Eric Staal to the Big Apple, Saarela is a fellow Finn drafted after the first round and is more or less in the same boat as Kuokkanen. He’s currently in his second full season in North America and he’s doing very well, putting up 16 points in 24 games so far.

7. Morgan Geekie (C, 3rd Round, 67th Overall in 2017)

Geekie just wrapped up his final season playing for the Tri-City Americans of the WHL, and after lighting the lamp offensively with 84 points in 68 games, Geekie has been given a shot with the Charlotte Checkers and he’s off to a good start, putting up a respectable nine points in 21 games. He joins a Hurricanes pipeline that’s stacked with centres, so Geekie will have his work cut out for him.

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8. Warren Foegele (LW, 3rd Round, 67th Overall in 2014)

While most Canadian prospects spend their draft seasons playing in the CHL, Foegele took a somewhat unheard of path, playing high school hockey in his draft year. The Canes saw potential him, however, and then he eventually continued his development playing in the OHL. The Markham native has been with the Hurricanes all season and has put up five points through 27 games.

9. Julien Gauthier (RW, 1st Round, 21st Overall in 2016)

Standing at a hulking 6’4 and 225 lbs, the most attractive part of Gauthier’s games to scouts and brass is the combination of size and his ability to score goals. Gauthier is currently in his second full AHL season and so far he’s put up 7 goals and 12 points through 24 games.

10. Alex Nedjelkovic (G, 2nd Round, 37th Overall in 2014)

A native of Parma, Ohio, Alex Nedjelkovic is standing his ground as the Hurricanes’ best goaltending prospect. He’s currently in his third full pro season and he sports a record of 12-4-0 with a goals against average of 2.90 and .894. With the uncertainty in the Hurricanes net, Nedjelkovic has a better chance at scoring a spot in the organization than other goalies do.

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Thanks for reading! Tune in tomorrow where we’ll go over the Chicago Blackhawks farm system.

stats from eliteprospects.com