How to grade a player who skated just a shade over nine minutes in ice time this season—that is the eternal question. Forward Rem Pitlick was likely to sign his entry-level contract this season almost from the start of the year when the Minnesota Golden Gopher resumed his torrid NCAA scoring pace, eventually totaling 45 points in 38 games.
On March 22, Pitlick opted to forgo his senior year and signed a two-year, entry-level contract with the team which drafted him 76th overall in 2016. The speedy forward suited up for one NHL contest three days later before spending the remainder of the season in the press box.
Regardless, the coaching staff stressed it was the experience of practicing at the NHL level that would be instrumental for Pitlick’s development moving forward.
Season in Review
Pitlick’s collegiate season was one for the books. In my statistical analysis of the prospect pipeline, he graded out at the top of the list for a few reasons: scoring nearly a primary point per game; scoring regularly at even-strength, on the power play and shorthanded; and, most impressively, driving offense for the Golden Gophers with a staggering 25.08% relative goals-for rate—making him one of the most dynamic NCAA skaters of the season.
In his one game for Nashville, he finished with 9:43 in ice time, a rough 30% Corsi, and a -10.91% Corsi relative to his teammates. But, again, the sample size is so small and he wasn’t on the ice for any scoring events.
While any offensive threat in those nine minutes was negligible, his defensive work was also below average (for context, ideally the ‘Threat’ number here would be negative).
But, again, in nine minutes of ice time this means next to nothing (sometimes you just want to look at multi-color blobs).
For a more behind-the-scenes look at his NHL debut, read Megan Ryan’s excellent piece below:
The sample size we have to choose from is obviously limited for Pitlick, and there are always feel-good moments like a rookie’s first warm-up lap to highlight:
But having the opportunity to skate with Kyle Turris and Mikael Granlund in his debut afforded Pitlick the chance to show off some play-making abilities. Although he didn’t find the score sheet, the pass and awareness demonstrated below was something that stood out in his first NHL game.
Nifty pass from Rem Pitlick to Mikael Granlund, Dubnyk stuffs Granlund pic.twitter.com/ibyUrdLu5d— Paid man gets bored (@cjzero) March 26, 2019
Pitlick wasn’t on the ice for any real events outside of shot attempts. Therefore, I’d categorize his only mention on the score sheet—a two-minute infraction—as his “worst” moment of the season.
I expect Pitlick to challenge for a roster spot in training camp, but the depth chart looks too crowded right now. Time in Milwaukee will be beneficial, but I do believe he could produce well with ample ice time this season.
Nevertheless, I think he’s ready to challenge for the scoring title in Milwaukee right out of the gate and should receive solid opportunities on the power play, too. I’m picturing him and Josh Wilkins flanking a number of the Admirals’ veteran centers to create a terrifying scoring threat.
Pitlick was fine in his one outing. Nothing extremely positive and nothing extremely negative. By default, I gave him a ‘B’, because I’m not really sure what other option to go with.
How would you grade Rem Pitlick’s season in Nashville?
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