Tyler Pitlick appreciates the anonymity.
Normally a high second-round draft pick would garner a little more attention at his first NHL training camp. However, having been selected after Taylor Hall, Pitlick has gone relatively unnoticed.
“I kind of came in here a little bit under the radar, people don’t expect as much from me, so it’s been good,” Pitlick said. “Those other guys, they definitely have a lot more pressure on them. Taylor Hall is the No. 1 draft pick, he’s expected to be one of the best players on the ice.”
In time, Pitlick may be as well.
The nephew of former NHLer Lance Pitlick, he was one of the biggest surprises at the rookie tournament in Penticton, B.C., scoring a pair of goals for the Oilers.
It’s expected he’ll get an opportunity to suit up for the club in the exhibition season.
“I had no idea what it was going to be like coming here this year,” Pitlick said. “I was coming here looking for the experience and seeing what it was going to be in future camps. I was hoping to do as well as I have been, but I wasn’t expecting it.
“All these guys are great players and I’m just trying to do everything I can to keep up with them.”
A self-professed grinder with hands, Pitlick scored 11 goals and added eight assists as a freshman with Minnesota State University last season.
This year, having decided to leave school for the Western Hockey League, he’ll suit up with the Medicine Hat Tigers once his training camp experience with the Oilers comes to an end.
“I’d say last year was a pretty good year, I grew a lot as a player,” Pitlick said. “I was playing against guys that were a lot older than me. I wasn’t the oldest and biggest guy any more, like I was in high school, and it definitely helped me playing against bigger and older guys. It definitely got better as the season went on, I definitely grew as a player and it was a good experience.”
– Van Diest