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2019-20 Player Review: Tyler Pitlick, one season wonder

A nice run while it lasted.

New York Islanders v Philadelphia Flyers - Game Seven Photo by Mark Blinch/NHLI via Getty Images

Next up on the season review series docket here we’ve got Tyler Pitlick and his lone season with the Flyers. Acquired from the Stars last off-season in exchange for Ryan Hartman (who the Flyers, we’ll remember, received in exchange for Wayne Simmonds at the trade deadline, and then didn’t seem to want to re-sign at the price he would likely command), he came in with some questions among some on his potential fit, but really was able to hit the ground running with his new organization. Tasked with slotting into a bottom-6 that was a mix of pretty well established veterans and kids up from Lehigh Valley, Pitlick quickly found his role and found some success. He was a good add for the team and a frequent bright spot throughout the season, even if sometimes flying under the radar.

All stats via Natural Stat Trick. Scoring numbers are for the regular season and playoffs, advanced stats just for the regular season.

By The Numbers

Basic Stats

Games Played Goals Assists Points PIM Shots on Goal Shooting Percentage
Games Played Goals Assists Points PIM Shots on Goal Shooting Percentage
79 10 13 23 10 71 11.27%

There’s a lot to like here in the basic stats, for starters. Tasked with serving as one of the veteran anchors in the bottom-6, he performed well in that role, kicking in a fair bit of offense and providing a bit of stability with the younger players cycling in and out of that fourth line carousel. We don’t expect massive scoring numbers from a player in Pitlick’s role, but his contributions this season were more than respectable. He was riding a bit of a high shooting percentage to that total, but the total still remains. The Flyers, as we’ve noted throughout, had pretty stellar depth to work with this season, and Pitlick was a really key piece in making that so.

Another quick positive we can take away is the penalty differential. We see that Pitlick played a generally disciplined game, as he only took five minor penalties on the season, while he drew nine. It goes without saying that being able to put your team on the man-advantage more often than you find yourself in the penalty box and put them a man down is a useful skill to have, and it’s something that Pitlick did will for them this season. A nice bonus.

5v5 Individual Stats

Corsi-For% Corsi-For% Rel Expected Goals-For% Expected Goals-For% Rel Goals For% PDO
Corsi-For% Corsi-For% Rel Expected Goals-For% Expected Goals-For% Rel Goals For% PDO
46.77 -5.41 47.48 -4.42 56.36 1.027

5v5 On-Ice Stats

Goals/60 Points/60 Shot Attempts/60 Expected Goals/60
Goals/60 Points/60 Shot Attempts/60 Expected Goals/60
0.72 1.7 10.38 0.55

The underlying numbers, though, aren’t quite as sharp. As we’ve touched on throughout some of these earlier season reviews, we didn’t always see stellar on-ice numbers from the bottom-6, but these numbers are a bit low, even relative to much of the other more or less regulars in the bottom-6. While the Flyers did get the better of the goal share by a pretty comfortable margin while Pitlick was on the ice, they were also regularly losing the shot attempt and high danger chance battles, which is decidedly less good. They weren’t getting absolutely, brutally caved in when Pitlick was on the ice, but they were getting outdone, and the numbers certainly leave a bit to be desired.

Now, this is a stat line that ordinarily might concern us. Because of what we know of regression, it feels like a certainty that the goal based results would eventually fall off, catching up to the weaker shot impacts and differentials, and knowing that this was lurking somewhere around the corner is something that would concern us heading into next season. But, in this case, it doesn’t really matter, because Pitlick won’t be with the team next season. So we’ll just take our bit of luck and good fortune and go.

Three burning questions

Did this player live up to our expectations this season?

Truthfully, for me at least, Pitlick did really well to exceed expectations this season. When the Flyers traded for him last off-season, I was pretty lukewarm about him—my thought was that he might be a useful depth player, we’ll see, but would we be served just as well by leaving a spot open in the bottom-6 for one of the prospects? But as it turned out, with all of the injury weirdness that happened this season, there was room enough for both Pitlick and a sampling of prospects getting a look at the NHL level. And, what’s more, Pitlick did really well to change my mind and solidify this idea that yes, he was a very good acquisition, and brought something solid and useful to an already pretty deep team. He’s another player, like a Michael Raffl, who seems to bring a little of just about everything, and that’s certainly a useful piece to have. There was a lot of flux up and down the Flyers’ lineup this season, particularly in the bottom-6, but Pitlick was consistent this season, and really provided a bit of extra stability when the team seemed to need it. There were more nights than not that I came away thinking “I liked Pitlick’s game.” He may not have always been the most noticeable player on the ice (and indeed it may have been better for the Flyers in the big picture if he wasn’t), but he always seemed to be active in some way, and that was a good thing to have.

What do we expect from this player next season?

Well, we expect that we’ll see him play on the other side at least once during the next season? Depending on the formatting? We’ll see what happens, but the point is that Pitlick signed a two-year deal with the Coyotes back in October, so he’ll be joining a brand new organization and leaving the Flyers behind. He’ll likely serve in a similar role, hoping to serve as a bit more good depth for a team that’s looking to find their footing and finally take the next meaningful step forward.

What would we like to see this player improve on?

There’s not really too much to say here. Pitlick plays a pretty well-rounded game, and is also at the point in his career when, even if there were any big issues that needed fixing, we’re kind of past the big time development phase for him (but of course that doesn’t mean we can’t always be improving in small ways!). He’s also, as we noted, not going to be with the organization anymore, so improvements in his game aren’t going to help the Flyers either. So where does that leave us? Just to offer one more send-off—so long, Tyler Pitlick! Keep doing your thing out there, pal.