Photo by Steven Christy
Following Andrew Miller’s resigning only hours prior, our attention shifted towards Tyler Pitlick and Curtis Hamilton. Issued qualifying offers, and likely “spreading their wings” just a bit, they eventually re-signed with the Edmonton Oilers for another season. Both have struggled to stay health in their early careers. For Hamilton it’s the knees, and for Pitlick it’s the shoulder. There is still a bit of a question mark attached to both players for the very reason mentioned in the previous sentence – health. So why re-sign these fellas?
Tyler Pitlick has only had one pro season (in three outings) where he played over 50+ games. That was his rookie season, and arguably a dandy of a first outing. This past season both Eakins and MacTavish liked him coming out of camp, but injury sidelined him quickly. His return to the farm was pretty impressive notching 22 points in 39 games. Not mind-bending for a third year pro, but a step in the right direction. His re-signing is a coin flip, but a less risky one than that of Curtis Hamilton.
Curtis has shown flashes of being a really good player. We just don’t see him flashing enough. Under fifty points in under 150 games has me curious as to where he might go from here. Back to the flashes. When we did see him good it typically occurs in small spurts, and then fades either with knee issues or lumpy play. Drafted the same season as Pitlick, the two aren’t comparable in terms of what’s under the hood. Hamilton is more of a third line forechecker with a quick foot. Handles the puck well, and isn’t afraid to rattle off offense, but he would rather play “in the trenches”, a role that Todd Nelson likes him in the most. Add to the list his penalty kill skills, and you have the makings of a pretty entertaining player. Again, we just have to see it more often.
With both players I think the question marks aren’t necessarily in what they can do, but if they can do it. You know what you are getting with each player, they just have to show us the things that make them 2010 semi-high draftees. I think I’ve seen enough, but I’m hopeful for the future. Fingers crossed.
Signing Miller, Pitlick, and Hamilton is wise in terms of warm bodies. They are capable players that contribute when able. That allows for all the younger players in the quiver to survive as pros at least one more season before being asked to shoulder the load. As colleague Eric Rodgers points out, they re-sign these fellas, and the protection begins for others. Agreed. This also points to the more prospect-friendly model that Craig MacTavish lauds as opposed to the Steve Tambellini model that protected prospects with seasoned veterans. MacT’s way of things gets things done a bit more cost-effective, and it also allows for ELC+ guys like Pitlick and Hamilton to perhaps up their value just a bit.
The season is rapidly approaching, and there might be some time to add a defensive vet to the OKC squad. THAT might be worth paying for in this environment. The speculation of ECHL-AHL-NHL placement has begun, and we will do our best to handle those with precision here on the site. Stay tuned.