by Eldon MacDonald (edited by @ChrisRalphTHW)
2015-16 Team: #16, Muskegon Lumberjacks
Commit: University of Minnesota Gophers
Date of birth: 02-Apr-97
Place of birth: Plymouth, MN
Ht: 5’10” Wt: 195 lbs.
NHL Draft Eligibility: 2016 2nd year eligible
THW The Next Ones Ranking (Midterm Top 60): Unranked
THW War Room Rankings: 59
- Consensus: 89
- Craig Button (TSN) – 69
- Corey Pronman: 97
- NHL Central Scouting Combined: 131
Rem Pitlick: Mr. Incognito
Mr. Incognito is your ultimate sleeper pick. Last year he was so far undercover that he masqueraded as himself. He pretended to be a hockey player. No one believed him. After all he was only 5’7” and 170 lbs. Even if they had seen him in uniform or gone to a game, they still didn’t believe him. Well, in truth, there wasn’t much to see anyways as he only tallied 16 points in 47 games, so I can understand their lack of belief.
This year, however, they are all believers. What happened? Why the change in beliefs? Simple, Do You Believe in Magic? It had to be magic to add 2 inches, 25 pounds and a heavy dosing of NHL speed. It definitely felt like magic when he became the runaway USHL scoring champion and the US junior player of the year. He put up a monstrous 35% more points than the number two guy, Ross Colton of the Cedar Rapids Roughriders, practically unheard of. So now you have a hockey player, Rem Pitlick, the son of 393 game NHLer Lance Pitlick – Mr. Incognito no more.
— Minnesota Men’s Hockey (@GopherHockey) May 11, 2016
5 Reasons Why Your Team Should Sneak Rem Pitlick Into Their 2nd Round Draft Plans
- Ability to make drastic improvements to his game: Quick question: who do you know besides Rem Pitlick that has added 2 inches, 25 pounds, and NHL speed to their game in the past year? Improvements for Rem Pitlick from 2014-15 = drastic!
- Ability to finish: 46 goals on 173 shots (26.5%) = Deadly, especially for someone who took so many shots.
- Ability of the rush: Put together high-end speed, vision and creativity and you begin to understand why Rem Pitlick is so successful off the rush.
- Results: Another quick question: who do you know besides Rem Pitlick that won a league scoring championship by 35% or more last season? Rem Pitlick delivers results – big-time!
- NHL Bloodlines : Yes, it helps to have a father who played in the NHL. It is not just the genes but also the first hand observations on what it takes to be an NHLer:
- Sacrifices required
- Work ethic needed
- Diet and training regiment
- How to handle yourself on and off the ice
— USHL (@USHL) April 1, 2016
With 35% more points than the next guy, I have a hunch it is a bit more than just OK.
- Speed: Watch a Lumberjack game and the first thing you notice (and maybe the only thing you care about watching) is the speed of Rem Pitlick and his ability to make things happen in full flight.
- Shooting: Has the release, the accuracy and the power (particularly in his wrister) that results in goals.
- Powerplay: The Muskegon power play ran through Rem Pitlick on the half-wall. Yes, it was tied with the Bloomington Thunder for number one in the USHL at 23.3%.
- Stickhandling and passing: He must use Gorilla Glue™ on his stick as he can sure move the puck in full flight. However, he also must have found a high-end nail polish remover as the puck seems to float of his stick to his teammates at just the right moment with just the right velocity.
- Vision and creativity: Vision and creativity mixed with excellent chemistry with his linemates led to excellent results last year both on and off the power play.
Yes, defense is still an issue. Rem will need to incorporate the work ethic and dedication to defense that has proved so successful in his offensive game. He plans to stay in Muskegon for another year and work on his game before heading to university (the University of Minnesota). He can already float like a butterfly (skate with ease), let’s see if he can sting like a bee (bring more physicality, defense and an edge to his game).
- Incognito – The magic has already happened on offense; let’s see if the same can’t take place on defense.
NHL Draft Projection
I don’t think Rem Pitlick should be a sleeper pick any more. Obviously, however, he is since most of the rankings are fairly consistent having him at late 4th or early 5th round. The main things causing this appear to be:
- Overager: Overagers do not generally receive as high a ranking as a first time draftee with similar results as they are generally further along the development process and don’t have as much likelihood of future growth. However, in the case of Rem Pitlick, I am inclined to give him a mulligan since players do all have the same development line and last year he was just not ready physically to be a serious prospect.
- Size: Yes, Rem is only 5’9 but he is of a stocky build like Tie Domi and he skates like the wind. Rem passed with flying colours the top three criterion that I use to determine whether to consider drafting a smaller player
- Speed – NHL ready.
- Body type – Stocky, low-centre of gravity, hard to move of the puck
- Results – 35% better than the next guy in the league, enough said.
- Defense: Defense is still an issue. However, I look at the case of Rem Pitlick as a just one miracle at a time kind of thing. This year we saw the miracle of offense. Next year, a little bit a hard of work that he is known for and a little bit of dedication like he has shown this year to offense et voila “maybe not a miracle but maybe significant improvement.”
In summary, this is not a strong year for the draft after you hit 45 to 50. The chance to get real offense after 45-50 is something that a lot of teams would consider sooner rather than later. I have Rem at 59.
“We had Rem at left wing during training camp and then for the first eight to 10 games. We just didn’t feel like he was getting the puck on his stick enough. We just felt like he had a lot more to give. Come to find out, when we moved him to center, his game just absolutely took off.”
– Todd Krygier, Head Coach of the Muskegon Lumberjacks, at USAHockey.com
“[Pitlick] is a speed guy; shifty and elusive with the puck. He is a solid point producer and very hard to handle off the rush. He has a chance to play at the next level with his overall skill package and skating ability.”
– Greg Rajanen of NHL Central Scouting at NHL.com
“Pitlick took gigantic strides this season, advancing from a bottom-six forward on his USHL team and going undrafted last season to being the league’s top goal scorer and point producer. He’s a pretty good skater who has a strong first step and top gear. Pitlick displays a solid north-south game as he barrels down with energy and attacks the goal, despite being an undersized forward. Stickhandling is solid for Pitlick, and he also has a very good shot, which helped him to clear the 40-goal mark this season. His size is an issue, as is his lack of top-end playmaking ability.”
– Corey Pronman, ESPN writer, at ABCNews.go.com
“He’s our MVP, not because he has the most points, but because he brings it every game. He would go on to add observations as to why the forward has enjoyed so much success this year. His confidence, and him having fun night in night out. He loves to play and is showing it.”
– John Vanbiesbrouck, General Manager of the Muskegon Lumberjacks, at USHL.com
“Pitlick has elite speed, is terrific on puck pursuit and has exceptional acceleration. He’s a relentless forechecker and is responsible in his own, getting sticks in lanes. He’s got a quick release and an accurate shot.”
– Jeff Cox at SBNCollegeHockey.com
- Hockey sense
- Work ethic
- Passion for the game
Rem Pitlick is a really, really good hockey player. Shattuck St. Mary’s alum. Electrifying skill and speed. #USHLTPG
— Jordan Kuhns (@jckvoice) January 13, 2016
Under Construction (Improvements to Make)
Rem Pitlick is a goal scorer, he makes it to the NHL as a top six player or he doesn’t make it at all. He emerged as a force this year after his coach moved him to centre. However, centre is a much more difficult position to succeed at in the NHL because of the requirements for more defense and physicality. Rem still has to develop his defense and improve his physicality to become a NHLer. Rem has the speed and body type that give him a chance to be a success; the rest is up to him to do what it takes to develop himself into a NHLer.
Risk = 3/5 Reward = 4/5
Fantasy Hockey Potential
Offensive = 8/10 Defensive = 3/10
— Muskegon Lumberjacks (@MuskegonJacks) May 11, 2016
- 15-16 – USHL – Player of the Year
- 15-16 – USHL – Scoring Champion
- 15-16 – USHL – Most Goals
- 15-16 – USHL – Most Assists
- 15-16 – USHL – 1st Team All-Star
- 15-16 – World Junior A Challenge – Bronze Medal with Team USA
Muskegon Lumberjacks Single Season Scoring Record – Link Here
Profile – Link Here
THW’s War Room Top 210 NHL Draft Rankings (May Edition)
(Downloadable spreadsheet, PDF formats)
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Chris is THW’s senior draft/prospect analyst and a Managing Editor. Watch for “The Next Ones” Prospect Profile series, exclusive rankings, mock drafts, as well as the annual THW NHL Entry Draft Guide. Follow @ChrisRalphYQ on Twitter as he infiltrates, dissects and analyzes all happenings of hockey prospects and the NHL entry draft. Email: cralph[at]thehockeywriters[dot]com