Vande Velde Van Gogh In the FO Circle

Lowetide
April 03 2011 07:30AM

EdmontonOilers2

Chris Vande Velde arrived in pro hockey with a reputation for being a quality performer in the faceoff circle. He's performed well in the discipline in college, the American League and now in a small NHL sample. How valuable is the skill? Will it secure the Dutchman NHL employment?

When he was a junior and then college player, Vande Velde was a go-to guy in the faceoff circle and played the center position with aplomb. His draft day scouting report implied quality, and the earliest glimpse of the type of player we've seen recently in Edmonton:

  • Redline report: He has an incredibly long reach and is uncanny playing in traffic. When he got his skating legs going, he was nearly impossible to push off the puck, in an almost Keith Primeau–like fashion. Like Oshie, North Dakota has VandeVelde slated for the fall of 2006, and until then, he'll skate for the Lincoln Stars.

When Vande Velde turned pro last fall, I felt he'd be the first of the new pro's to emerge (based on age). However, Vande Velde's numbers (62gp, 12-4-16 -17) are not good and the number of minor leaguers recalled ahead of him (Reddox, Omark, O'Marra) suggested there was much to learn.

Doritogrande will be a well known name to Oilogosphere readers and he offered some exceptional insight into Vande Velde in OKC here. Quoting a portion of the post:

  • Chris VandeVelde was pegged as the de-facto checking center tonight, and was given the linemates befitting a player that the coaching staff wants in a defined role. He was able to saw-off the Moose top line of Hodgson-Volpatti-Shirokov with a little help from his friends. He showed good hustle, average speed and good skills in the faceoff dot.

This fits with Todd Nelson's (OKC's coach) viewpoint on the player:

  • His adjustment was learning the pro game. Up until Christmas, he was okay for us. But after Christmas he took it upon himself to play well in his D zone. Along with that, with the more responsibility he got, he began to improve offensively. He's been good for us, he's been excellent in the faceoff circle. He's 1-2 every night, it's either him or O'Marra.  

The entire interview is here. Vande Velde's rookie AHL season has him tied for 105th among rookies in that league, so he's going to have to bring other elements to his game. And that's where we can talk about his size (6.02, 204) and his ability in the faceoff circle.

In a very small sample size (8 games), Vande Velde is 56.7% on the dot (in 97 sorties). He's also gaining the confidence of the coach.

  • Tom Renney: “He’s very reliable. To a point, you expect what he delivers and he does. He’s a little bit predictable in that way, which is a good thing. I’m just tying to give him an opportunity to play in a number of different circumstances and he’s done well.”

The Renney quote (along with more on Vande Velde) is here.

WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN?

Vande Velde is building enough of a resume to be "in the mix" for NHL employment in 11-12. A good bet would be more AHL time but perhaps an earlier recall when injuries or slumps force roster moves. I'd estimate he fits this way into the center depth chart at the pro level:

  1. Shawn Horcoff
  2. Sam Gagner
  3. Andrew Cogliano
  4. Colin Fraser
  5. Chris Vande Velde
  6. Ryan O'Marra
  7. Anton Lander (unsigned)
  8. Milan Kytnar

There are all kinds of things that could change (drafting RNH, moving Hall to center) but as it stands that 4line job should be an interesting contest during TC in the fall. Vande Velde's spring audition puts him in the mix, and his faceoff ability--in a small sample size--may make him a favorite.

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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 TSN 1260.
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#151 Steve Smith
April 04 2011, 07:15PM
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@TigerUnderGlass

I don't think we can generalize about why some players (more than for most other NHL cities) don't want to sign here. I'm sure that for some it is the city (by most accounts that's why Pronger's wife wanted out and Nylander's didn't want to come at all). The travel sucks. Guys near the end of their career probably aren't enthusiastic about signing on for a rebuild.

But my guess is that you're right that the biggest problem is that the Oilers suck and are managed by the same guys responsible for them sucking.

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#152 Wax Man Riley
April 04 2011, 07:18PM
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After taking a look at where some UFA defensemen signed last year, I don't see many signing with bottom-feeders or rebuilders.

Zidlicky re-signed with Minny.

Gonchar signed with Ottawa. That is one there.

Aucoin re-signed with Pho

Klesla re-signed with CBJ

Eaton signed with the Islanders. Would he have been a good signing? 34 games and 3 pts. say no.

Leopold was a big signing by the Sabres, but they were 45-27-10...pretty good record.

Ference re-signed in Boston......

...should I keep going? I have seen 1 D-man sign with a different team that isn't a contender.

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#153 dougtheslug
April 04 2011, 07:19PM
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The goal is to win the Cup, not beat your brains out down the stretch to finish ninth, get a middling draft, and do it all over again year after year while your team gets older and slower. The Oilers are paying for the sins of their past, like trying to get by without a farm team or a comprehensive scouting system. They now have an AHL farm team that is stocked with enough talent to possibly make the playoffs, a far cry from last years embarrassment. They have competent scouts. They have a core of potentially elite players that they will add to this year. Come on, boys, have a little faith. Rome wasn't built in a day.

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#154 Wax Man Riley
April 04 2011, 07:20PM
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TigerUnderGlass wrote:

That's nonsense. You're using the fallback of everyone without a valid point - "it's not NHL 2010".

Every year players sign with rebuilding teams. The half dozen guys who said no to the Oilers does not count as history. The problem is that Tambellini targets a player and if it doesn't work out he falls to pieces.

When players say no it's not because of the rebuild, it's not the weather, it's because of Tambelini and Lowe. Even then there are options, and we can count on our management to choose the worst ones.

Who blamed it on Tambellini or Lowe? That is some first-class speculating right there. I would say you are reaching farther than I.

So what you are saying is that TambaLoweni is tanking this team on purpose for kicks and giggles? They actually went down the list of FA's and said "These guys are too good, we need some really bad ones." Foster looked like a pretty good option being 6'5", having a big shot and scoring 42 pts last year.

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#155 Steve Smith
April 04 2011, 07:24PM
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@Wax Man Riley

I'm not sure where you're getting "deliberately sucking" out of anything TUG, OB1, or I have said.

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#156 Wax Man Riley
April 04 2011, 07:28PM
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@Steve Smith

Your comments come across that way:

"We can count on management to choose the worst ones (options)"

Sounds like they are deliberately sucking to me.

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#157 OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F
April 04 2011, 07:29PM
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Wax Man Riley wrote:

After taking a look at where some UFA defensemen signed last year, I don't see many signing with bottom-feeders or rebuilders.

Zidlicky re-signed with Minny.

Gonchar signed with Ottawa. That is one there.

Aucoin re-signed with Pho

Klesla re-signed with CBJ

Eaton signed with the Islanders. Would he have been a good signing? 34 games and 3 pts. say no.

Leopold was a big signing by the Sabres, but they were 45-27-10...pretty good record.

Ference re-signed in Boston......

...should I keep going? I have seen 1 D-man sign with a different team that isn't a contender.

Kubina signed with TB (24th last year)

Corvo signed with the Canes (23rd last year)

Randy Jones with TB (24th)

Klesla signed with CBJ (27th)

Robidas signed with Stars (20th)

Jurcina signed with the NYI (26th)

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#158 Wax Man Riley
April 04 2011, 07:30PM
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I'm just of the opinion that I have been a hockey fan for 30 years, and these guys have been directly involved with the NHL for 30 years and have a team around them. If you or I have thought of it, then you can believe they have too.

Being a university student, no matter what degree or doctorate you may be studying for does not give you direct experience to what happens at the desk of the GM.

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#159 Steve Smith
April 04 2011, 07:31PM
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@Wax Man Riley

I can't speak for the others, but my reading of their comments is that they agree with me on the "cock-up over conspiracy" front.

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#160 OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F
April 04 2011, 07:32PM
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Wax Man Riley wrote:

Who blamed it on Tambellini or Lowe? That is some first-class speculating right there. I would say you are reaching farther than I.

So what you are saying is that TambaLoweni is tanking this team on purpose for kicks and giggles? They actually went down the list of FA's and said "These guys are too good, we need some really bad ones." Foster looked like a pretty good option being 6'5", having a big shot and scoring 42 pts last year.

I think Tambellini *may* be tanking on purpose.

If that's the case, I can somewhat excuse him for the 2010-2011 abomonation. (even though I wouldn't agree with the steps he's taken I still see the value in trying to land one more elite player via the draft)

However I am afraid that he didn't do this on purpose... which would mean he's incompetent.

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#161 Steve Smith
April 04 2011, 07:35PM
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@OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F

That's not compatible with trying to sign Malhotra, or with signing Khabibulin, who was acquired on the mistaken belief that he was good. This is ineptitude.

I mean, he obviously wasn't trying to contend for the Cup this year, but I don't think there's much doubt he was trying to improve: that's why he attempted, however unsuccessfully, to get a bottom six centre and attempted, however unsuccessfully, to get a top-four defenseman.

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#162 Wax Man Riley
April 04 2011, 07:39PM
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@OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F

Kubina would have been a great signing, I agree, but given the choice, I would rather play in Florida with St.Louis, Gagne, and Stamkos.

Corvo may have been a good signing. I have no rebuttal here an don`t know enough about him as a player to speculate. Could have been a good signing though.

Randy Jones coming fresh out of the AHL does very little for this team than what Foster or Petry haven`t already done. Foster has more pts, penalty minutes and games played this year.

Klesla re-signed with his team.

Ditto for Robidas

Jurcina has played 46 games this year. Had this been for the Oilers, it woulld be more fuel for the Fire Tambo Fire.

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#163 OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F
April 04 2011, 07:44PM
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Steve Smith wrote:

That's not compatible with trying to sign Malhotra, or with signing Khabibulin, who was acquired on the mistaken belief that he was good. This is ineptitude.

I mean, he obviously wasn't trying to contend for the Cup this year, but I don't think there's much doubt he was trying to improve: that's why he attempted, however unsuccessfully, to get a bottom six centre and attempted, however unsuccessfully, to get a top-four defenseman.

I'm talking this year only, last year he certainly was trying to compete so I through out Khabibulin for this discussion. That said though, theirs certainly confilcting messages.

I'm not 100% sure what he's thinking, but I am leaving it open that the tank was on for this year IMO.

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#164 OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F
April 04 2011, 07:45PM
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Wax Man Riley wrote:

Kubina would have been a great signing, I agree, but given the choice, I would rather play in Florida with St.Louis, Gagne, and Stamkos.

Corvo may have been a good signing. I have no rebuttal here an don`t know enough about him as a player to speculate. Could have been a good signing though.

Randy Jones coming fresh out of the AHL does very little for this team than what Foster or Petry haven`t already done. Foster has more pts, penalty minutes and games played this year.

Klesla re-signed with his team.

Ditto for Robidas

Jurcina has played 46 games this year. Had this been for the Oilers, it woulld be more fuel for the Fire Tambo Fire.

It shows these guys were willing to sign with weak teams.

I also don't think Foster was a horrible signing. The problem was he was signed to be a top 4 guy when he should have been signed to be a #6,#5 at best with PP time.

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#165 Wax Man Riley
April 04 2011, 07:54PM
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Steve Smith wrote:

That's not compatible with trying to sign Malhotra, or with signing Khabibulin, who was acquired on the mistaken belief that he was good. This is ineptitude.

I mean, he obviously wasn't trying to contend for the Cup this year, but I don't think there's much doubt he was trying to improve: that's why he attempted, however unsuccessfully, to get a bottom six centre and attempted, however unsuccessfully, to get a top-four defenseman.

On paper, trading the soft as velvet POS for a gritty, career-plus, 4th-line center is a pretty good move.

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#166 Wax Man Riley
April 04 2011, 07:56PM
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OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F wrote:

It shows these guys were willing to sign with weak teams.

I also don't think Foster was a horrible signing. The problem was he was signed to be a top 4 guy when he should have been signed to be a #6,#5 at best with PP time.

I agree, but within the context of each player, I am trying to show how hard it is to get them to sign here.

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#167 TigerUnderGlass
April 04 2011, 07:57PM
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Steve Smith wrote:

I don't think we can generalize about why some players (more than for most other NHL cities) don't want to sign here. I'm sure that for some it is the city (by most accounts that's why Pronger's wife wanted out and Nylander's didn't want to come at all). The travel sucks. Guys near the end of their career probably aren't enthusiastic about signing on for a rebuild.

But my guess is that you're right that the biggest problem is that the Oilers suck and are managed by the same guys responsible for them sucking.

This is essentially what I meant. I was not at all clear. Obviously individuals will have individual motivations.

I meant that plenty of players will happily sign up for a rebuild, just not one with the distinct possibility of continuing in perpetuity.

This has everything to do with management.

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#168 Wax Man Riley
April 04 2011, 07:58PM
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Whew... debating with you guys is some pretty exhausting stuff. Now that you have seen to it that my work day has been completely unproductive, it's time for me to go home.

Will be back to argue the challenges of a rebuild soon.

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#169 Peterborough
April 04 2011, 08:07PM
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dawgbone wrote:

Atlanta is failing repeatedly because they traded Coburn for Zhitnik?

Florida picked in the top four 3 years in a row and didn't trade one of them away for 7 years and still never made the playoffs once.

And what on earth do you mean that we have a good system to develop kids? What on earth gives you that impression? Has there been anything done that suggests this system is Chicago/Pitt style rather than Florida/Atlanta?

You mean like have a real AHL affiliate and a comprehensive developement programs that are expensive and cutting edge. the Cats and Birds down South have been using the same cost cutting measures we did as a franchise for years to our our doom. Developement. Patience. Like Detroit was and now look at them. Build a system that works and go from there. This isn't about next year or the year after. Its not about 6-7 years away either. Its about a legacy of sustained excellence. Like Detroit.

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#170 TigerUnderGlass
April 04 2011, 08:24PM
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Peterborough wrote:

You mean like have a real AHL affiliate and a comprehensive developement programs that are expensive and cutting edge. the Cats and Birds down South have been using the same cost cutting measures we did as a franchise for years to our our doom. Developement. Patience. Like Detroit was and now look at them. Build a system that works and go from there. This isn't about next year or the year after. Its not about 6-7 years away either. Its about a legacy of sustained excellence. Like Detroit.

Cutting edge? Perhaps you could elaborate, because I am excited to hear all about the Oilers new cutting edge development program.

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#171 dougtheslug
April 04 2011, 10:35PM
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@TigerUnderGlass

The proof is in the playoffs. Despite an ungodly number of callups, the Barons are poised to make the AHL post season, a notable achievement after last years debacle in Springfield. Its always difficult to project but the Oilers draft crop from last year looks promising. Hockey people around the world are approving of the Oilers prospects, in comparison with other franchises. The plan,(and yes there are a lot of intangibles and unknown unknowns) is in place, and already showing results at the junior and minor league level. The next few years will tell the tale if these results trickle up to the big team.

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#172 Steve Smith
April 04 2011, 10:38PM
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@dougtheslug

Making the playoffs is "cutting edge"?

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#173 dougtheslug
April 04 2011, 10:45PM
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@Steve Smith

I didn't use the expression "cutting edge", Peterbororough did. But,yes, making the playoffs is preferable to not making the playoffs (or sucking unmercifully like Springfield did last year) wouldn't you agree?

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#174 Steve Smith
April 04 2011, 11:00PM
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@dougtheslug

I thought you were responding to TUG's post questioning what was cutting edge about the Oilers' development program. If you weren't, my apologies.

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#175 OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F
April 04 2011, 11:12PM
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Peterborough wrote:

You mean like have a real AHL affiliate and a comprehensive developement programs that are expensive and cutting edge. the Cats and Birds down South have been using the same cost cutting measures we did as a franchise for years to our our doom. Developement. Patience. Like Detroit was and now look at them. Build a system that works and go from there. This isn't about next year or the year after. Its not about 6-7 years away either. Its about a legacy of sustained excellence. Like Detroit.

This is a great example of setting the bar set low for years.

Going with no AHL team for years suddenly means we are "cutting edge" because we have an AHL team?

I can't claim to know alot about our various levels of player development, but I'd bet heavy they aren't much different then 60% - 70% of the rest of the teams in the league.

Sorry, but having an AHL team doesn't scream "legacy of sustained excellence... like Detroit" to me.

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#176 OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F
April 04 2011, 11:14PM
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I must say we've got a whole new level of kool-aid drinkers in this fan base.

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#177 dougtheslug
April 04 2011, 11:16PM
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@Steve Smith

No worries. As to what is "cutting edge" about the Oiler development program, I do know that in the post lockout era, the only real edge you can get is in that very area - spending money on salaries guarantees you nothing(eg Wild, Jackets, Flames). So that leaves spending on scouting and player development which doesn't show up in the cap, takes years to bring about results, but is the thing that Detroit has done better than any other franchise - they were doing it before the lockout and it is the one place Katz can spend his billions usefully (he of course was making the rookie mistake of bidding for the Hossas and Heatleys of the world until he somehow was converted to the Chicago doctrine-I assume by Tambo and Lowe)

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#178 David S
April 05 2011, 12:01AM
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Steve Smith wrote:

That's not compatible with trying to sign Malhotra, or with signing Khabibulin, who was acquired on the mistaken belief that he was good. This is ineptitude.

I mean, he obviously wasn't trying to contend for the Cup this year, but I don't think there's much doubt he was trying to improve: that's why he attempted, however unsuccessfully, to get a bottom six centre and attempted, however unsuccessfully, to get a top-four defenseman.

@Steve - C'mon. You were around back in the 'sphere so you know Khabibulin was signed to entice Heatley, back when he (Khabby) still had some street cred.

And the Oilers made a pretty big "show" of the Malholtra attempt (on Oil Change - an Oilers production wouldn't you know), despite the fact those kinds of things are state guarded secrets by this team. Funny how that just happened to slip by the PR department censor crew huh? It was a rather obvious plant to prove "we're trying" - a nice PR diversion tactic.

We tanked it this year. Everybody knows it by now. There's way too much evidence for it to even be questionable. In fact, if you assume we we going for 30th and the #1 draft, almost every bizarre move that was/wasn't made makes sense.

Pro sport is just as much (or more) theater as it is reality. This season we got Macbeth.

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#179 Peterborough
April 05 2011, 01:33AM
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OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F wrote:

Kubina signed with TB (24th last year)

Corvo signed with the Canes (23rd last year)

Randy Jones with TB (24th)

Klesla signed with CBJ (27th)

Robidas signed with Stars (20th)

Jurcina signed with the NYI (26th)

Jurcina is poop in human form. Randy Jones is the only signing the rest are re-ups.

Do some fact finding . . . or do you enjoy publicly humiliating yourself and making us a little dumber as a group?

Also I think anyone could see TB was clearly on the cusp last year. Data context will help you if you let it.

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#180 Peterborough
April 05 2011, 01:37AM
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TigerUnderGlass wrote:

Cutting edge? Perhaps you could elaborate, because I am excited to hear all about the Oilers new cutting edge development program.

the Hockey News future watch has nice article on it. You should read it yourself like a big boy!

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#181 Peterborough
April 05 2011, 01:39AM
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OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F wrote:

This is a great example of setting the bar set low for years.

Going with no AHL team for years suddenly means we are "cutting edge" because we have an AHL team?

I can't claim to know alot about our various levels of player development, but I'd bet heavy they aren't much different then 60% - 70% of the rest of the teams in the league.

Sorry, but having an AHL team doesn't scream "legacy of sustained excellence... like Detroit" to me.

refer to last guy. . . .mutts and lots of 'em!

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#182 OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F
April 05 2011, 08:40AM
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Peterborough wrote:

Jurcina is poop in human form. Randy Jones is the only signing the rest are re-ups.

Do some fact finding . . . or do you enjoy publicly humiliating yourself and making us a little dumber as a group?

Also I think anyone could see TB was clearly on the cusp last year. Data context will help you if you let it.

Good one, delusional homer.

Corvo went from the Caps to the Canes

Kubina went from the Thrashers to TB

Jurcina is playing 18+ min per night on a superior team

Maybe you better double check your own fact finding.

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#183 OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F
April 05 2011, 08:45AM
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Peterborough wrote:

refer to last guy. . . .mutts and lots of 'em!

Nah, I'm confident you are foolish enoug to think aquiring an AHL team is "cutting edge" just like you were foolish enough to think Kubina was a re-up.

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#184 dawgbone
April 05 2011, 11:21AM
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Peterborough wrote:

You mean like have a real AHL affiliate and a comprehensive developement programs that are expensive and cutting edge. the Cats and Birds down South have been using the same cost cutting measures we did as a franchise for years to our our doom. Developement. Patience. Like Detroit was and now look at them. Build a system that works and go from there. This isn't about next year or the year after. Its not about 6-7 years away either. Its about a legacy of sustained excellence. Like Detroit.

Atlanta and Carolina also have real AHL affiliates.

What new development programs do we have that are expensive and cutting edge?

In terms of Development and Patience like Detroit, are we displaying that at all? Every first round pick the Oilers have made since 2006 is currently playing in the NHL. That's not patience, that's just pushing kids into the NHL as soon as possible.

Hey sure, building a system that works is great, but is there anything that suggests the Oilers are actually doing that?

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#185 D-Man
April 05 2011, 12:07PM
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dawgbone wrote:

Atlanta and Carolina also have real AHL affiliates.

What new development programs do we have that are expensive and cutting edge?

In terms of Development and Patience like Detroit, are we displaying that at all? Every first round pick the Oilers have made since 2006 is currently playing in the NHL. That's not patience, that's just pushing kids into the NHL as soon as possible.

Hey sure, building a system that works is great, but is there anything that suggests the Oilers are actually doing that?

Signing Giroux and leaving Plante, Teubert and Petry (even though he was in the 2nd round) in the minors shows that the Oilers are at least attempting to develop that system.. Asides from Plante - one could argue that Gagner, Eberle, MPS and Hall were all NHL-ready. You also forget that Pitlick, Hamilton, Marincin were all sent back to juniors to continue their development.

I think last year Tambo did well to at least improve the AHL affiliate to compete. OKC is in a dogfight for a playoff spot and potentially has alot of talent to push deep with Omark, MPS, Ebere, Reddox, Petry, Chorney, etc.

One could have argued that this should have been done two years ago; I place alot of that blame on K-Lowe....

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#186 TigerUnderGlass
April 05 2011, 12:13PM
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Peterborough wrote:

the Hockey News future watch has nice article on it. You should read it yourself like a big boy!

Do you work for THN or is this your way of avoiding the question?

also...why do you keep giving yourself props?

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