LOS ANGELES, Calif. – Steve Tambellini had to wait another day to get a Tyler to go with his Taylor.
The Edmonton Oilers general manager kicked off the second round of the NHL draft by selecting prospect Tyler Pitlick on Saturday morning. Thwarted in his efforts to complete a deal that would allow him to draft both Taylor Hall and Tyler Seguin a night earlier, Tambelllini was thrilled the Minnesota State centre fell to No. 31.
“To see him sitting there as the first pick last night, we were pretty excited,” said Tambellini. “When we interviewed him, it was ‘How do I get better? How do I get to the next step?’
“You love hearing that from a young player, the fact that he’s willing to do whatever it takes.”
Tambellini left Los Angeles feeling as though he had restocked the cupboard. Not only did he take the highly coveted Hall first overall, he added 10 other prospects to the organization as well.
There was an emphasis on players that have some edge.
“We think we really upgraded our depth chart as far as size and compete (level),” said Tambellini. “No question.”
Pitlick is the nephew of former NHLer Lance Pitlick and has committed to playing in the Western Hockey League next season with Medicine Hat. He was happy to put on an Oilers sweater.
“It’s nice to get picked right away, the first one of the second round,” said Pitlick. “I was definitely hoping I went yesterday but I’m definitely happy I’m going to Edmonton. It should be good.”
The other players Edmonton selected on Saturday were:
—Defenceman Martin Marincin, 46th overall, from the Slovak under-20 program.
—Forward Curtis Hamilton, 48th overall, from the WHL’s Saskatoon Blades.
—Centre Ryan Martindale, 61st overall, from the OHL’s Ottawa 67’s.
—Defenceman Jeremie Blain, 91st overall, from the QMJHL’s Acadie-Bathurst Titan.
—Goalie Tyler Bunz, 121st overall, from the WHL’s Medicine Hat Tigers.
—Defenceman Brandon Davidson, 162nd overall, from the WHL’s Regina Pats.
—Forward Drew Czerwonka, 166th overall, from the WHL’s Kootenay Ice.
—Forward Kristians Pelss, 181st overall, from Latvia.
—Forward Kellen Jones, 202nd overall, from the BCHL’s Vernon Vipers.
Those players enter an organization that has some pretty impressive prospects—Hall, Magnus Paajarvi-Svensson and Jordan Eberle. Tambellini can’t wait to see them all on the ice together for the first time next month.
“I am really looking forward to our development camp,” he said. “The roster that is coming to that camp is pretty impressive with Taylor alone I guess. But Paajarvi and Eberle and all these picks that were here today, we’re looking forward to that.”