Pitlick has been on the Kraken’s radar for some time now, especially after the Arizona Coyotes shipped goalie Adin Hill to the San Jose Sharks for a draft pick last week. The Minneapolis, MN native spent just one short season in the desert, recording 11 points in 38 games with the Coyotes. Of course, it’s entirely possible this selection is part of a bigger plan, but at face value, let’s look at what the newest NHL franchise got with this selection.
Measuring in at 6-foot-2 and 201 pounds, Pitlick knows his way around the right side, but the former second-round draft pick offers the Kraken some depth at a reasonable price, considering he has one year remaining on his deal with a cap hit of $1.75 million next season.
Pitlick is a perfectly serviceable middle-six forward who has the ability to produce between 20-30 points per season if the conditions are right, and a change of scenery to the Emerald City may be just what the doctor ordered for the 29-year-old American. It’s fair to say he hasn’t quite lived up to his billing just yet, though he’s battled some injuries as of late that have truly prevented him from finding his stride.
Pitlick just missed out on being a first-round selection in 2010, as the Edmonton Oilers drafted him 31st overall (which was the first pick in the second round at the time). He was thought of as a strong skater with solid two-way play, but with the ability to grind and win the battles in the trenches.
He was projected as a fringe first-round candidate, listed as high as 18, and as low as 35, so it really didn’t come as much surprise when he was selected at 31. After the draft he spent one season with the Western Hockey League’s Medicine Hat Tigers, where he notched 62 points in 56 games, before moving on to the American Hockey League.
Pitlick jumped to the AHL’s Oklahoma City Barons, where he recorded a combined 33 points in 106 games, though he demonstrated a flair for the dramatic in the playoffs, notching 13 points in 29 total postseason games. He made his NHL debut with the Oilers in 2013-14, recording one goal with the club in 10 total games played. He’d go on to split time between Edmonton and the AHL before finding a full-time roster spot with the Dallas Stars in 2017-18.
From there, he spent two seasons with the Stars and one with the Philadelphia Flyers before ultimately signing a two-year deal with the Coyotes prior to last season. Though his season was cut short this year because of a lower body injury, he was expected to return to a middle-six role with the club next season.
It’s reasonable to think he will fill the same type of role in Seattle, given his playmaking ability and that he’s still in the prime of his career.
Pitlick has the opportunity to start his career fresh after posting average-at-best numbers to this point in his career. He has twice recorded 20-point seasons, in 2017-18 with the Stars (27 points in 80 games), and 2019-20 with the Flyers (20 points in 63 games). Provided he can stay healthy, there’s no doubt the once-promising prospect can make an impact in Seattle as a role player.
The Kraken have solidified a top need with a reasonable person — a player that may just need the right opportunity to thrive. Like any team, Seattle needs to fill the role positions with the right fit, and Pitlick could certainly fit that bill.