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.

Probability of Success
  • B

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. 

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

Pietilla is a senior at Michigan Tech in 2014-15. Centering the top line for the Huskies with wingers David Johnstone and Reid Sturos, he has been a strong two-way presence on a team that is challenging equally surprising Minnesota State for the top spot in the WCHA. Versatile enough to play either center or wing, Pietilla should fit in well in a Devils organization that values forwards who can play both forward positions. New Jersey must sign Pietilla to an entry-level contract by August 2015 or he would become an unrestricted free agent. While Pietilla does not project to being a consistent scorer his ability to play in all situations suggests he can be a valuable lower line forward one day.

Jon Merrill still top prospect for New Jersey Devils

by John Iadevaia
on

Jon Merrill - New Jersey Devils

Photo: Defenseman Jon Merrill continues to be the top prospect for the New Jersey Devils. Merrill was selected in the second round of the 2010 NHL Draft. (courtesy of Rich Graessle/Icon SMI)

Whether or not the New Jersey Devils reach the postseason, management can be satisfied with the NHL-ready talent waiting in the wings. Eric Gelinas and Jon Merrill have shown they can become impactful blueliners, as has the recently re-acquired Alexander Urbom.

Read more»

New generation of players on the way for New Jersey Devils

by John Iadevaia
on

Scott Wedgewood - New Jersey Devils

Photo: Goaltender Scott Wedgewood is currently in his second full season of professional hockey. Wedgewood was selected in the third round of the 2010 NHL Draft. (courtesy of Minas Panagiotakis/Icon SMI)

General Manager Lou Lamoriello has done a good job of restocking the lackluster New Jersey Devils farm system over the past six years. The junior and college ranks have produced talented prospects of all skill levels that fit the Devils mold. Now their minor league affiliate is reaping the benefits of this youth movement.

Read more»

Youth movement underway for New Jersey Devils

by John Iadevaia
on

Sweden v Canada - 2013 USA Hockey Junior Evaluation Camp

Photo: Damon Severson is one of several high profile defensive prospects in the New Jersey Devils prospect pool. (courtesy of Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

The New Jersey Devils have always relied on a core of hardened veterans to see them through. But change is in the air as those experienced players enter the twilight of their careers, while a new generation of Devils players come of age.

Read more»

Defense and goaltending main strengths in New Jersey Devils top 20

by John Iadevaia
on

Reid Boucher - New Jersey Devils

Photo: Forward Reid Boucher is coming off a breakout season in the OHL, where he managed 62 goals in 68 games. (courtesy of Claus Andersen/Getty Images)

Even prior to a wild and unpredictable 2013 off-season, the New Jersey Devils were going to see a lot of competition on their NHL roster from young prospects, most notably on defense, where the organization is deep and skilled. Despite the amount of veteran depth on paper in the organization, several forwards in the system could also fight their way into the NHL lineup.

Read more»

Forwards dominate New Jersey Devils prospect awards

by HF Staff
on

Seth Helgeson - New Jersey Devils

Photo: Seth Helgeson was the only senior defenseman on the Minnesota Golden Gophers roster this season. Helgeson recently signed a two-year entry-level contract with the New Jersey Devils. (courtesy of Scott A. Schneider/Getty Images)

As the 2012-13 season comes to a close, it is time to hand out the end of the year awards for the New Jersey Devils prospects. While the NHL team struggled, many of their junior players performed very well for their respected clubs. What may be surprising are that most of the recipients are forwards. New Jersey features a healthy stock of quality defensemen, but lacks depth and talent up front. Still, the few standouts had terrific seasons that cannot be overlooked.

Read more»

Related Articles