Blake Pietila
Image: NHL

Blake Pietila

Hometown:

Milford Michigan

Currently Playing In:

NCAA

Birthday:

1993-02-20

Position:

C

Eligible for draft:

2011

Shoots:

Left

Drafted:

2011

Height:

5-11

Acquired:

5th round (129th overall), 2011

Weight:

189 lbs.

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History

2008-09: Blake Pietila played for Compuware’s midget minor team in the Midwest Elite League and also skated for Compuware’s Tier 1 national championship U-16 squad. In 31 midget minor games, he scored 8 goals with 11 assists and received 8 PMs. Pietila committed to playing college hockey at Northern Michigan in 2011-12. His older brother Chad was a freshman for the Wildcats.

2009-10: Pietila was selected for the US National Team Development program and spent the bulk of the season with the U-17 squad: appearing in one U-18 game. In 41 games, he scored 10 goals with 6 assists and had 35 PMs. In 28 USHL games, he scored 5 goals with 3 assists and was minus-15 with 27 PMs. Pietila participated in the World Hockey Challenge U-17 tournament, scoring 1 goal in six games for Team USA.

2010-11: Pietila was one of four players to appear in all 60 games for the NTDP U-18 squad. He scored 14 goals with 9 assists and had 53 PMs. In 24 USHL contests, he scored 4 goals with 5 assists and was minus-4 with 20 PMs. Pietila was part of the gold-medal winning Team USA squad at the World Junior U-18 championship tournament and scored 1 goal in six games. Following the season, Pietila de-committed from Northern Michigan and will join his brother Chad, a transfer, and cousin Aaron Pietila, at Michigan Tech with first-year coach Mel Pearson’s Huskies program. Blake Pietila was ranked 105th amongst North American skaters by Central Scouting in their final rankings and selected by the Devils in the 5th round (129th overall) of the 2011 NHL Draft.

2011-12: Pietila skated in 39 games as a freshman and  played a big part in the resurgence of the hockey program at Michigan Tech under first-year coach Mel Pearson. Pietila scored 10 goals with 14 assists and was minus-3 with 46 penalty minutes. After winning a total of 15 games in the previous three seasons, the Huskies finished eighth in the WCHA. The Huskies  knocked off Colorado College in the conference tournament before falling to Denver in overtime in a Final Five quarterfinal. Michigan Tech’s 16 wins were the most for the program since 2006-07.

2012-13: Pietila was the second-leading goal scorer for Michigan Tech in his sophomore year and won a gold medal skating for the USA’s U20 team at the 2013 World Junior Championship. He scored 14 goals with 10 assists in 35 games for the Huskies and was minus-7 with 44 penalty minutes. Michigan Tech finished tenth in the WCHA and lost to North Dakota in a best-of-three first round series. Pietila and linemates Cole Bardreau and Ryan Hartman (Chicago) were a big part of the USA’s championship at the WJC in Sochi — shutting down the opposing teams’ top lines and chipping in with timely scoring. Pietila had 2 assists and was plus-5 in seven games.

2013-14: Pietila was the second-leading scorer for Michigan Tech behind sophomore Alex Petan in his junior season. Skating in 39 of 40 games, he scored 8 goals with 20 assists and was minus-4 with a team-leading 84 penalty minutes. Michigan Tech finished fifth in the first year of the re-aligned WCHA; falling to Bowling Green in two games in a best-of-three conference quarterfinal series. 

2014-15: Pietila provided both scoring and grit for Michigan Tech in his senior season as the Huskies were one of the top teams in the country. He scored 14 goals with 16 assists and was +6, leading Michigan Tech with 56 penalty minutes in 40 games. The Huskies won 29 games, the program’s most wins since 1980-81. Michigan Tech finished second in the WCHA behind Minnesota State, receiving an at-large bid to the NCAA West Regional after falling to the Mavericks in the conference championship game. The Huskies lost to St. Cloud State, 3-2 in overtime, in a regional semifinal game. Pietila signed a three-year entry-level contract with New Jersey in May 2015.

Talent Analysis

Pietila is a smart, hard-working grinder who competes hard every shift. He's become an excellent forechecker and learned how to utilize his tools. Using speed and physicality, he creates turnovers, sometimes turning them into scoring chances. Short, stocky and built like a fire hydrant, Pietila is an effective penalty killer thanks to his hockey IQ and anticipation. His recent switch to center has enhanced his game in a more responsible role.

Future

Pietila is skating for Devils' AHL affiliate Albany in 2015-16 in his first pro season. Versatile enough to play either center or wing, he has skated in primarily a third or fourth line role. Still adjusting to the level of play in pro hockey, his skill set suggests he can be a valuable lower line forward one day.

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