The 2019-20 NHL regular season has concluded and the next time the puck drops will officially kick off the race to the Stanley Cup. The Flyers are hungry and ready to battle it out, but that is thanks to the hard work from back in October.
In an End to End series, NBC Sports Philadelphia’s Brooke Destra, Joe Fordyce and Jordan Hall will be grading players based on individual performances.
Today we will be looking at Tyler Pitlick.
After earning his first point with the Flyers in the opening game of the season, it took a little bit of time before Pitlick found a rhythm with his new team. Little did anyone know in those opening weeks, that he would soon become a huge asset to the bottom six on the roster.
Much like the Radko Gudas for Matt Niskanen trade in the offseason, trading Ryan Hartman for Pitlick didn’t seem too significant at the time and created more questions than answers. It turns out, Flyers general manager Chuck Fletcher knew exactly what he was doing. While there were a handful of rookies like Joel Farabee and Nicolas Aube-Kubel adjusting to the pros, Pitlick added a level of solidification to the bottom lines. He, alongside players like Scott Laughton and Michael Raffl — who are well-known for their steady performance — made each of the Flyers’ four lines weapons.
Through 63 contests, Pitlick tallied 20 points (eight goals, 12 assists) and would be a valuable asset moving forward with the Flyers.
Let’s give Pitlick a B for an overall solid season.
Early in the season, you didn’t notice Pitlick much and while sometimes for a player like Pitlick not hearing his name is a good thing (as it means he’s doing his job), that was not the case for Pitlick in the early going as he struggled. As the season wore on though, Pitlick carved out a nice role for himself with the team and began to flourish.
A simple look at his game log in 2019 shows that Pitlick was a minus player 10 times, but after the calendar changed to 2020, Pitlick had a minus rating only three times. In addition, later in the season Pitlick developed more of an offensive game, chipping in with goals and assists from time to time. After struggling at the start, Pitlick overall turned into a reliable veteran down the stretch.
He gets a B from me.
When the Flyers acquired Pitlick last summer, he explained his game:
"I'm a physical, north-skating player. I can score and make plays when I get the chance. I'm going to be physical and I'm going to create energy and compete as hard as I can."
Pitlick was a man of his word. He provided exactly that to the Flyers in the 2019-20 regular season. It's fair to say among the Flyers' other offseason acquisitions — Kevin Hayes, Niskanen and Justin Braun — Pitlick came with the least hype, but he became a pleasant surprise as a consistently effective bottom-six forward.
With each game, you never questioned Pitlick's effort because he was always noticeable by playing his active, north-south style. When you're constantly noticeable in limited minutes, you're doing something right.
Pitlick joined the club with an attractive $1 million cap hit and a contract set to expire this offseason. He then played his way into consideration to be re-signed by the Flyers. Good for him.
A well-earned B+ for Pitlick.
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