Minneapolis, Minn.–Gopher hockey commit Rem Pitlick has had a busy summer and was planning to return to the Muskegon Lumberjacks (USHL) for 2016-17. However, the son of former University of Minnesota defenseman Lance Pitlick is now going to be playing for Don Lucia in the maroon and gold for the 2016-17 season, and is expected to play a top six role at forward.
Pitlick was drafted by the Nashville Predators with the 76th overall in the 2016 NHL Entry Draft. The forward then participated in the Predators Development Camp and took part in the USA Hockey National Junior Evaluation Camp. He recently told a USHL writer Kevin Meyers that he’s been a late bloomer and thought getting a little bit bigger allowed him to finally get ‘more on a level playing field with everyone else in terms of size.’ Pitlick was considered a diminutive forward when he committed to the University of Minnesota in August 2013, but is now 5’10” 206 lbs.
Pitlick committed as a 16-year-old forward at Shattuck-St. Mary’s and was only 5’3″ 130 lbs at the time. He was a prolific forward for the SSM Bantams scoring 46 goals and 64 points in 57 games in 2011-12. He tallied 14 goals and 31 points in 47 games for the SSM U16s in 2012-13 and then just nine goals and 25 assists in 53 games for the SSM Prep team in 2013-14 . He was passed over in his first year of draft eligibility in 2015 after scoring seven goals and nine assists in 47 games during his first USHL season with Waterloo.
Pitlick was traded to Muskegon before last season and went on to be named the USHL Player of the Year for 2015-16 after leading the league in scoring with 46 goals and 43 assists in 56 regular season games. Pitlick played wing, but switched to center for Muskegon after the first couple weeks and then operated on the lower half wall for the Lumberjacks power play.
SBN College Hockey’s Jeff Cox said “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.”
Pitlick told the Muskeogon, Mich. Local Sports Journal in March 2016 that he was “99 percent sure’ he’d return to the USHL and delay enrolling at the University of Minnesota. He had concerns about rushing himself, but likely the experiences at the Nashville and the NJEC convinced him to move on.