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Pitlick understands healthy scratches, just wants improvement

The Wild forward is not so new anymore, but still finds himself on the outside.

Winnipeg Jets v Minnesota Wild Photo by Bruce Kluckhohn/NHLI via Getty Images

Ever since the Minnesota Wild claimed forward Rem Pitlick off of waivers, he has been in and out of the lineup for various reasons.

At first it was just getting used to the Wild’s system, and then, unfortunately, he got into a bout with COVID and was out for a little bit. And then with the resurgence of some other key forwards, he is back in the press box as a healthy scratch. Luckily for him though, and after knowledge that three of the Wild’s five games before their holiday break will be postponed, he is slotted to be back on the ice against the Dallas Stars on Monday.

But this weaving in and out — despite scoring 5 goals and 10 points in his 16 games played — has no real effect on Pitlick. He understands what the coaching staff wants him to do and how he will get there.

No real sign of frustration coming from him, which is miraculous.

“I’m a human being, and yeah, I want to play,” Pitlick said on Sunday after practice. “So I guess I’m going to leave it at that, but I understand that we’re a team and they want to see something that is growth in my game and I have no problem doing that. We all have views in life and I think that’s what makes life cool. There’s so many different ways to look at it and they see it a certain way, so I’m going to try to blend it into my game. And still maintain a sense of self in how I see the game as well.”

Aside from the look into the deeper meaning of self, Pitlick is fairly level-headed about being a part of the Wild and understanding what they want from him. On Sunday, Evason mentioned that him and his coaching staff have 1-on-1 conversations with players if there is a new lineup decision, to communicate what exactly they want from them and what their future plans are. That just sounds like a well-run organization that people seem to be happy to be a part of.

So what exactly was Pitlick working on?

“There’s a few offensive routes we’re going to change, and just overall always evolving as a player,” he said. “I’m going to continue to be myself and I’m confident with some of the things that I’ve done and I’m going to continue to bring those. But the things that the coaching staff told me and showed me on video, I’m going to bring those as well and make a nice blend of it.”

One has to imagine that Pitlick will either be on the third line with Kevin Fiala and Frederick Gaudreau, or on the fourth with a combination of Brandon Duhaime, Nico Sturm, and Nick Bjugstad. Either way, he will be able to demonstrate his new ability while still (maybe) scoring some dang goals.