April 25 2011 09:33AM
We learned a lot about Oklahoma City this season. We now know how to pronounce the state's name properly (this woman was central to the process) and we know that Oklahoma produces lots and lots of really good country singers. What else have we learned?
This is an Alligator snapping turtle. Crazy looking thing, been around for a long, long time. They're an endangered species despite the fact they have no predator outside man. Pretty cool turtle.
The OKC Barons graduate an enormous rookie crop this spring, it's deep and strong. Linus Omark and Jeff Petry are likely to be Edmonon Oilers full stop in the fall and Teemu Hartikainen could also make the big club at training camp. Bubbling under that group is another list of rookie pro's that include Colten Teubert, Chris VandeVelde, Milan Kytnar and Philippe Cornet (among others).
I think it's important to remember that there have been entire rookie crops who have epic failed when entering the AHL grind. Recent Oiler picks who have either struggled as AHL rookies or been flushed from the league entirely include Taylor Chorney, Slava Trukhno, Johan Motin, Alex Plante, Colin McDonald, Cody Wild and Jeff Deslauriers.
WHAT ABOUT NEXT YEAR?
Among Oiler prospects who could be AHL rookies in 2011-12, the club has signed a few already with some to come (we hope). Not signed yet are Swedish center Anton Lander and WHL defender Martin Marincin but the club has been busy getting ready for next season:
- March 8: Oilers sign NCAA defender Taylor Fedun from Princeton. It's a two year deal for the puck moving defender who went 10-12-22 in 29 games in the land of the big brains.
- March 19: Oilers sign NCAA center Tanner House from Maine. An interesting item in that he was a teammate of Oiler draft pick Robby Dee. House has good skills and is described as a two-way player. He went 6gp, 1-4-5 +3 at the end of the Barons season and should be considered an integral part of the forward group for 11-12.
- March 30: Oilers sign QMJHL goaltender Olivier Roy to an entry level contract. His .911 SP for Acadie-Bathurst was among the league's best and he has had experience with Canada's WJ team. Goalies are hard to project, so a good guess would be that he spends some time in both the ECHL and AHL next year.
- March 31: Oilers sign CIS L Hunter Tremblay from UNB. 25-32-57 in 27 Canadian college games, Tremblay had an immediate impact at the pro level. Tremblay scored a playoff goal for the Barons during their 5-game series that just ended this weekend.
- April 1: Oilers sign C Mark Arcobello to a contract. The young man who played much of the season in the ECHL blossomed upon recall and earned a contract. He's diminutive and one suspects the AHL is his outer marker but the Oilers must have seen something in him to offer the contract.
- April 13: Oilers sign R Tyler Pitlick to an entry level deal. The Medicine Hat Tiger winger (56gp, 27-35-62) should be expected to fill a feature role in the AHL next season. Scouting reports suggest a gritty player with skill, he's one of two signed players who should be able to keep prospect nerds (like me) happy with the Barons development group. This is a high draft pick ticketed for (likely) a one year apprenticeship in OKC.
- April 18: Oilers sign L Curtis Hamilton to an entry level deal. He's the other blue chipper likely to be a Baron in 11-12. Blocked on LW at the big league level by Hall, MPS, Hartikainen and others, it'll be Hamilton's job to stay healthy, learn to grind against men and chip in enough offense to be a legit callup option.
We should expect the Oilers to add a veteran goaltender, a couple of veteran defensemen and some veterans like Colin McDonald for depth up front. The item to follow closely is Anton Lander: he has to be signed in the next 5 weeks or the club will lose his rights. Also on the horizon is the decision re:Marincin, with him signing a pro deal the most likely scenario.
The Barons and the club's coaching staff did a terrific job with the available talent this season. Should Lander and Marincin sign, and with Pitlick, Hamilton and others already ticketed for OKC, we could be talking the same talk one year from today.
UPDATE: Oilers tweet this morning. Marincin signed his three year entry level deal.