Oklahoma City Barons 2010-11

Lowetide
July 24 2010 08:57AM

There's some excitement in Oilers Nation with regard to this year's minor league team. The Oilers are spending actual dollars on making certain the Barons are competitive, and that has the added advantage of giving the parent team some strong options during the regular season.

Oilers fans know Injuries and ineffectiveness can reduce roster depth in a heartbeat. We're quickly arriving at a point where we can (with some confidence) list the likely Barons in their first AHL season.  

Goal (an extreme weakness, Oilers need to address the issue before training camp)

  • Bryan Pitton (AHL $: 55,000). Tall, lean goalie 2 years pro experience. Most of that has been in the ECHL, with only 8 AHL games on his resume (56 in the ECHL).

The available AHL calibre goalies are drying up. Yann Danis is still available, but he won't come cheap, plus there's the waiver wire to worry about with 4 goalies on the roster who could play in the NHL next season (Khabibulin, JDD, DD, Danis if he signs). (Updated info courtesy Racki, below).

Defense (nice depth here, Oilers have addressed weakness in a real way)

  1. Shawn Belle (AHL$: 150,000). A nice size/speed combination and a "tools" guy who, at 25, might make a push for the big league roster. If he's a Baron, Belle will be a big part of the team.
  2. Richard Petiot (AHL$: 105,000). This is a player we should keep our eyes on. Petiot (mobile, good passer) has some negatives (mostly coverage) according to his scouting report. However, he has played 242 AHL games (plus a baker's dozen in the NHL) and might get called up over the kids if he shows well.
  3. Alex Plante (AHL$: 65,000). Showed more improvement last season than any other first year pro on the Falcons. Suffered a concussion, so it is a concern. If healthy, he could be the first callup to the Oilers.
  4. Taylor Chorney (AHL$: 62,500). Fine skater, Chorney appears to be Poti-lite. John Short had a theory about American kids who came through high school-college: they were so good at those levels the puck was always on their stick. When the arrive at the pro level, the adjustment is monumental. I think Chorney needs a full season in the minors to regain his confidence and adjust to the physical nature of the game.
  5. Jeff Petry (AHL$: 62,500). Mobile defender with a nice range of skills. A chaotic pro debut at the end of last season combined with Taylor Chorney's wonky adjustment to pro likely means a full season in Oklahoma. This is one of the prospects Oilers fans should watch very closely this season.
  6. Johan Motin (AHL: $50,000). There is some anecdotal evidence that suggests Rob Daum moved Alex Plante up the depth chart when injuries and callups impacted the minor league team a year ago. Motin remained at the lower end of the depth chart (while remaining a regular), and this would represent a tell in terms of how the organization sees these two players at this time.
  7. AHL SIGNING: Jake Taylor. A veteran AHL defender, Taylor should play top 4 minutes and give the coach an opportunity to spot the kids and make them earn playing time. His resume includes over 300 AHL games (676 pims in those games).

The Oilers might sign some more depth (possibly on a level similar to their own free agents from a year ago--Dean Arsene, Matt Nickerson) but there's a nice combination of experience, skill, size and toughness in that group. I didn't include Theo Peckham on this list due to his waiver risk. Some feel it isn't much of a risk, so by all means include him in the conversation if you wish.

Forwards (the best group at F we've seen in years)

  1. L Alexandre Giroux (One way: $500,000). Eye-popping AHL numbers come at a big cost (one-way deal, as noted by speeds below). He could sell a lot of tickets in Okla City, and he could certainly make the big club with a strong camp (although that runs counter to the rebuild). Exciting signing.  
  2. C Brad Morin (AHL$: 225,000). Former point-per-game player in the AHL returns from solid seasons in Sweden and gets a strong 2-way deal from the Oilers. He's undersized but very skilled, and he might take a run at making the big club this fall. The Oilers C depth chart isn't so strong that he can be dismissed as a candidate.
  3. R Ben Ondrus (AHL$: 130,000): They used to call guys like this "robust, energy line players." He'll mix it up, come to the aid of his linemates and has plenty of minor league experience. In 392 AHL games, he has 64 goals, so we shouldn't expect an impact player at the AHL level.
  4. L Greg Stewart (AHL$: 105,000). Big, tough winger who is an actual player (as opposed to being just a knuckle dragger), but--like Ondrus--he isn't going to help you offensively.
  5. C Ryan O'Marra (AHL$: 70,000): Oilers like his grit and tenacity, and apparently believe the offense will come. He did have his best pro season in 09-10, and has embraced the checker role.
  6. L Magnus Pääjärvi (AHL$: 67,500). He should make the big club this fall, but it is also true that MPS will have more adjusting to do than Eberle. Should he spend time in Okla City, I'd expect some impressive numbers.
  7. R Jordan Eberle (AHL$: 65,000). I'm listing him here because there's a chance he spends some time in the minors this season. Eberle's Desjardins AHL equivalency is 80gp, 30-34-64 so if he starts in the minors and scores at that clip it won't be long before the cell phone rings.
  8. L Linus Omark (AHL$: 65,000). Timing is everything. Had Omark signed a year ago there's every reason to believe he would have either made the club or been called up when the locusts arrived. This season, he's Davy Crockett at the Alamo. He has a good chance to be a legend in Oklahoma by season's end, or he might get called up when one of the kids struggles.
  9. L Teemu Hartikainen (AHL$: 65,000). Big Finn has improved his foot speed and many regard him as a strong candidate for "6th round steal" from the 2008 draft (that was the Magnificent Bastard's 1st draft as chief scout). Could surprise, although he will most likely spend the season in the minors.
  10. L Matt Marquardt (AHL$: 65,000). He's big, doesn't score, check or take penalties. Maybe he's a goalie.
  11. C Chris Vande Velde (AHL$: 62,500). Big center who won a lot of faceoffs in the NCAA, he also has enough skill to be considered a candidate for top 6F time down the line (NHLE for 09-10: 82gp, 13-21-34). He is one college prospect who could surprise (Petry may too) and make the big club in a depth role if he performs well in pre-season. Unlikely, but he fills a need in a weak area on the roster.
  12. L Philippe Cornet (AHL$: 55,000). The classic "tweener" is going to be hard pressed to make the Barons out of training camp. He might find a home on a scoring line (he has skill) or an energy line (he has gumption) but we shouldn't be surprised to see him land in Stockton this fall.
  13. C Milan Kytnar (AHL$: 55,000). Stayed an extra year in junior but I don't know that it improved his chances to make the Barons. He does have some defensive pluses on his resume, so Kytnar could surprise. Still, Stockton seems like a more likely place to send his mail.
  14. AHL Signing: Colin McDonald. Signed a minor league contract and has some range of skills. Can score some goals but is most likely to join O'Marra on a dedicated checking line in Okla City.

I think the Oilers will add some depth here, guys like Reddox (who is still an Oiler, he's RFA but not yet signed) and his type. Should Eberle and MPS make the big club, this team won't have a lot of skill on the wings beyond Giroux and Omark.

This is a much stronger group than a year ago, save for the goaltending. We should hear about a veteran AHL or European goalie being signed in the next few weeks. The Oilers have some real question marks in net at the NHL level, so expecting JDD or DD to start the season in the minors isn't reasonable. And that's without worrying over the waiver risk.The list of strong callup candidates is long and impressive up front: Morin, Giroux, the two kids who might make the big team in camp, Omark, Vande Velde, Hartikainen. Belle is the likely man on the blue.

Are they a playoff team? I have no idea. The Oilers need to finish the roster business before we can project that far down the line. However, they've done some nice things this summer.

C2a6955161684b5e3189319acfa5ebe4
Lowetide has been one of the Oilogosphere's shining lights for over a century. You can check him out here at OilersNation and at lowetide.ca. He is also the host of Lowdown with Lowetide weekday mornings 10-noon on Team 1260.
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#1 Robin Brownlee
July 24 2010, 06:17PM
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LT . . .

FYI: Tambellini is basically ticking off the boxes from a template provided him by Rob Daum (before he found out he wasn't being re-hired).

Daum did a detailed assessment of 12 areas with the minor league roster that needed to be addressed and the kinds of players -- those in the system and free agents -- who could address those needs. If you saw the template and the names provided, you'd see this has been paint-by-numbers for Tambellini, who, I suspect, is going to look like he suddenly became a master at putting together an AHL roster.

I was going to write a piece on this but ran out of time before going on vacation.

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#2 David S
July 24 2010, 09:27PM
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Racki wrote:

Wow... that makes Daum's being cut loose even tougher to swallow.

Or easier to understand. There's two types of managers. The good ones surround themselves with people who are smarter than them. The bad ones want to be the smartest one in the room.

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#5 RossCreekNation
July 24 2010, 10:51AM
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@Oil_Loc8or

http://www.theteam1260.com/sound_bytes/view/session/july_23/1143/

Hour 1

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#6 The Other John
July 24 2010, 12:14PM
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RA

In your dreams :-))

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#7 Oilchange64
July 24 2010, 12:26PM
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Already stated, but I feel obligated to say:

1) Pic made my day

2) Haven't enjoyed Bob's show that much in quite a while. Really nice job.

3) Radio is a really tough way to make a living, especially when you are starting out. One of my brothers was in it for a while.

4) Maybe all of us former Sask guys should form RiderOilerNation. There are a lot of people around with those allegiances.

Nice work.

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#8 Archaeologuy
July 25 2010, 11:36AM
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@Dan the Man

Someone should have told them that the "Fall for Hall" was in reference to Taylor, not Richie.

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#9 third string plumber
July 24 2010, 09:09AM
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Fist!!

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#10 Henry
July 24 2010, 09:11AM
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This looks like a playoff team if they get a goaltender. I look forward to seeing them play the Aeroes a few times this year. If MacT's comments on Omark following the world championships are on the mark, Omark may spend most of his time on the big club with Eberle and/or MPS learning the pro game in OKC. I sort of like that idea.

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#11 @NateInVegas
July 24 2010, 09:15AM
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Sheldon Souray is a glaring Barons omission :) What about Olivier Roy? LT, Good interview with Stauf, you'll have to get on him some more.

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#12 speeds
July 24 2010, 09:17AM
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Giroux is on a one way deal at 500K; it was last year that he made 150K in the AHL

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#15 RossCreekNation
July 24 2010, 09:26AM
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@Lowetide

Great stuff with Bob yesterday. Looking forward to (hopefully) hearing more of you on The Team 1260. I'm relatively new to you because I'm a Flames fan & rarely stray too far away from The Nation's, but I've heard of you for years & even occasionally checked in. I almost thought you were a mythical person with some of the praises I've heard directed your way. Nice to finally get to reading you more regularly. Also, I had no clue of your previous radio works either. You absolutely killed it... keep it up!

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#16 Hunter
July 24 2010, 09:26AM
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That is a nice shirt she's wearing!

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#18 10k
July 24 2010, 09:29AM
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Yer darn tootin' LT,

Best ON post yet and not for the obvious reason(s), this post sounds the most like you yet and is a great read for the dog days o' summer. With this quality on the farm there's bound to be some surprises at training camp, the boys at C&B had a great write up on the Finnish connection so I'm cheerin' for Paajarvi and Hartikainen.

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#19 RossCreekNation
July 24 2010, 09:29AM
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Its also conceivable that they'll get JDD/DD. Not a guarantee, but possible.

Yann Danis or even Wade Dubieliwicz would be decent options otherwise.

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#20 gonadsgo
July 24 2010, 09:33AM
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First thought: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CUrjHhbVmrA

Second thought: It'd be nice if GM 3.0 could fill some holes at the NHL level now so this is actually the AHL roster. While Eberle and Paajarvi probably don't NEED AHL time, they could probably use it.

Third thought: I hope Hartikainen gets some primo minutes... he's got future fan favorite written all over him.

Last thought: I think I'd rather have OK City's PK than ours this year.

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#21 Racki
July 24 2010, 09:35AM
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First off, uhm.. awesome post pic. :P

Secondly, there are still some OK goaltending UFAs out there. I personally like Yann Danis. Wade Dubielewicz is another guy still out there too, if I'm not mistaken.

As for Valiquette, he signed with CSKA Moscow at the end of last year. They need a KHL version of capgeek.. not sure how long he's there for, however:

http://thenhlarena.com/index.php?showtopic=143932

At any rate, last year, before Doobie was called up to the big club, the Falcons were in a race for first place in the conference. That all fell appart as callups started happening. I remember when they called up Dubnyk the first time, they went a HUGE length of time without a win. It's a huge priority for the Oilers... they shouldn't be dragging their butts here.

I presume Olivier Roy will be in OKC next year (as Nate mentioned), but he'll need a good vet to share the load with. And by share the load, I mean play most of the games.

Edit: Valiquette's deal is for 2 years.

edit2: damn, that's a no for Roy, since he is only 19 and drafted into the CHL... can't play in OKC this year until his CHL season is done, as LT pointed out

.

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#22 Reagan
July 24 2010, 09:36AM
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Hey Lowetide,

It sounds like you have spun a few records in your day! It was a nice change on the airwaves yesterday! You have to convince that Chase guy to grab some lessons from you on being charismatic...

I personally miss radio myself, but don't miss the pay! It's guys like JG, that have all the passion for what he does...

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#25 Racki
July 24 2010, 09:41AM
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Lowetide wrote:

Racki: Thanks for the Valiquette info. Can Roy play in the AHL at 19?

Oh damn, I forgot he was only 19.. so no, he can't.. unless he turns 20 by the end of the year (which he does not).

So that's a no to Roy. Good point. ;)

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#26 Reagan
July 24 2010, 09:41AM
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I hear you. I did the morning show in N. Battleford Sask for a bit and for that time it was -40 Saskatchewan style, with the wind blowing through you at 5am! :) I later traded for the -40 in the evening option later on... LOL

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#28 Reagan
July 24 2010, 09:51AM
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@Lowetide

Yes I started out at CJNB, with Ron in the mornings! Harry Sr was doing the Friday night polka dance party. He still up until a few years ago was coming in on Sunday mornings still. I was doing some opping with Harry Sr when I started! I later then took the Drive time shift on Q98. I'm drawing a blank, but I can't remember the two sports desk guys. One of them ended up in major market radio. I still talk to Harry Jr once in a blue moon, well almost two years now. He was disappointed that I dropped radio.

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#29 RossCreekNation
July 24 2010, 09:59AM
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Lowetide wrote:

Ross Creek: Thanks. I started my radio career in 1980, which makes me old. :-)

That was a good year... I was born that April ;-)

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#30 Bacon Nachos
July 24 2010, 10:00AM
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You had me at the picture.

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#31 @NateInVegas
July 24 2010, 10:24AM
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If Khabibulin is injured/incarcerated can the Oilers put him on waivers?

Would anyone take him @ 1.875 for 3 more years?

I think he might clear on the way down which could help OKC this year.

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#32 Jimbob
July 24 2010, 10:30AM
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That is a GREAT Photo of Meg Morrison,Jason Gregors co-host...

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#33 Oil_Loc8or
July 24 2010, 10:47AM
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Good read LT. I work in Maidstone all the time in the patch. Any one have the link to 1260's show yesterday ? I missed it since I'm working out in Manitoba

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#34 Oil_Loc8or
July 24 2010, 11:24AM
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@Oil_Loc8or

Thanks Ross. Howard Stern maybe the king of all media but you are the King of the internet

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#35 jake
July 24 2010, 11:37AM
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C'mon Lowetide, fess up, it was the Charlene song that triggered you punting yourself off the radio. lol

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#36 Ribs
July 24 2010, 11:52AM
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I think you're giving the defense core too much credit here, LT. It doesn't look much better than last year and they were terrible last year.

Does anyone else wonder how many games Omark is willing to play in the AHL? His AHL salary is $65k compared to his NHL Salary of $875k. He made $1.4M last year in Russia. I wouldn't be surprised if he bolts back to Moneyland after 10-15 games.

I'm kind of hoping he blows away some of the younger guys in camp and sticks with the big club just so that the younger guys can develop on the farm.

Olivier Roy needs to stay in junior and dominate so that he can be Canada's number one guy come christmas. Should be fun.

I think Sabourin would have been a good pick up for the farm but they missed their chance. It looks like slim pickings nowadays. Just what are they doing with Deslaurier?

Go Kytnar!

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#37 R.A. Slapshotzky
July 24 2010, 12:06PM
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I think I've come across that girl before...somewhere.

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#38 Traktor
July 24 2010, 12:23PM
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Somewhere Bruce Landon is giving the finger to Edmonton management.

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#40 erixon
July 24 2010, 12:46PM
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mmmm... look at those tatters. NOM NOM NOM.

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#41 Traktor
July 24 2010, 12:48PM
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My hope is that we don't go out and sign a veteran AHL type goalie. I think we have an opportunity to give a goalie with real potential a shot.

Burke screwed Toronto for the next 20 years with the Kessel deal but one thing he's done is add Gustavsson, Rynnas and Scrivens for free and one of them is likely to pan out as a #1.

Instead we waste our time on guys like Denis and Valiquette? Such a waste.

In baseball terms it's like not being bothered signing free assets from Dominican Republic.

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#42 Hemmertime
July 24 2010, 01:02PM
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@NateInVegas wrote:

If Khabibulin is injured/incarcerated can the Oilers put him on waivers?

Would anyone take him @ 1.875 for 3 more years?

I think he might clear on the way down which could help OKC this year.

I believe if he is incarcerated during the season we can cancel his contract since he can't contractually live up to the obligation. So I am happier every time his trial is delayed. I haven't seen anything about it in CBA though (unlike the NFL and NBA the NHL does not plan on a % of their players going to jail each year it appears).

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#43 Troyboy
July 24 2010, 01:31PM
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Khabibulin is a total wild card this year, management are going to suffer through the three headed monster again until Bulin can prove he is back????? Concerns being has he trained at all this summer other tnan his liver? 60/40 this year his back reacts the same as last year. If you are Management don't you have to sign JDD at whatever he is awarded? I can't see Khabibulin being ready with all the extra ciricular crap going on and if he isn't close. Do you give him the Souray treatment.(waivers). He is the only one who I can see playing for the Barons this winter!

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#44 knobert
July 24 2010, 01:44PM
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@Reagan

HAHA on nifty 1050???

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#45 Smokin' Ray
July 24 2010, 02:38PM
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What about (LW) Phillipe Cornet? Wouldn't he be with the Barons this year?

And what about (D) Jordan Bendfield?

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#46 @NateInVegas
July 24 2010, 02:51PM
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If the Oilers put Khabibulin on waivers can he be brought up next off season without losing him to re-entry?

I'm suggesting the Oilers eat this season of Khabibulin's contract, hope he can go un-claimed,let him "rekhab" in OKC, and the Oilers squeeze 2 good season out of him.

Or cut the loss now @ 1.85 for 3 yearsif he gets picked up ...

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#47 Jamie B.
July 24 2010, 02:57PM
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We don't want Roy in OKC this year. He has a chance to play for Canada at the World Juniors.

(Edit: Yes, I realize he can't go to the AHL, I'm just saying that's a good thing.)

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#48 a lg dubl dubl
July 24 2010, 03:12PM
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new word of the day BOOBAGE 2 very good reasons to call in sick every other day lol

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#49 traktor
July 24 2010, 03:27PM
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lol at Nate full of Hate's avatar.

Buddy thinks he's ripped at 115 pounds.

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#50 Raine Snow
July 24 2010, 03:40PM
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With a better AHL line up, it will help keep pressure on the NHL roster. Something that this team has never really had. With some capable players able to fill a spot on the NHL team, there can't be any Nilsson or O'sullivan type players this year.

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