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Tyler Pitlick: Fourth Line Delight

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In which we ask Tyler Pitlick, “what’s good?”

NHL: Vegas Golden Knights at Dallas Stars Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Six games is not a terribly large sample size, but I’m prepared to say that the signing of Tyler Pitlick was a positive one for the Dallas Stars. Pitlick has spent the last six years in the Edmonton Oilers organization, up and down between the big club and their AHL affiliate, the Bakersfield Condors. He has not played a full season in the NHL, but it looks like much of that last season was due to an ACL injury in December that ended his season.

But, he looks to have made a full recovery, and I’m excited to see what this season brings for him. He checks a lot of the boxes left empty in the wake of Ryan Garbutt and Ales Hemsky, without Garbutt’s recklessness.

Because of our small sample size, there’s not a lot of stat evidence to show you how good he’s been on that fourth line with Antoine Roussel and Radek Faksa, but I do have a few.

from hockeyviz.com

First, Pitlick goes to the net. On a team that seems to specialize in outshooting their opponent with 60 foot wristers, Pitlick (and his line) drive to the net and tend to get really good scoring chances. This hasn’t resulted in a goal for Pitlick yet, but he’s also got a hilariously low PDO at this time (along with the rest of the Stars). This should regress to a mean at some point (hopefully soon).

from hockeyviz.com

Again, very small sample size. At the start of the season, Hitchcock tried a combination of Martin Hanzal and Devin Shore with Pitlick, which resulted in a lot of red on that 5v5 Goals Against graph. Since being placed on a hard checking line with Roussel and Faksa, everything’s improved pretty dramatically.

I posted this video in the recap for the game against Arizona last night, but I’m going to share it again here because honestly, it’s a thing of beauty. Tyler Pitlick battles well for the puck, doesn’t get reckless while doing so, and maintains a lot of control in tough situations. All demonstrated here in a puck battle with Oliver Ekman-Larsson:

And we’ve got all this for three years at three million, which I feel safe predicting won’t be a bad return on investment.