LETS GET THE PARTY STARTED

Lowetide
September 30 2012 09:57AM

The Oklahoma City Barons start rolling today, as coach Todd Nelson welcomes the most talented group in the club's short history to the AHL. Let's start with the introductions.

  • #1 G Ian Keserich. 26 year old, college man and he has pro experience in the CHL and ECHL. Spent last season in Tulsa (CHL) and could end up in Stockton.
  • #2 DTeigan Zahn. Tough defender from the WHL and University of Calgary. Shoots left, a rarity among defenders on this roster. 22 years old, this is his pro debut. 
  • #3 D Brandon Davidson. 21-year old defender who played as an overager in the WHL (Regina) last season, Davidson got a late start in hockey but has flourished since. Sometimes gets forgotten among the flood of blue, it'll be interesting to see where he lands on the pro depth chart this season.
  • #4 D Alex Plante: Now an AHL veteran at age 23, he has the war wounds to prove it. Plante enjoyed his finest pro season a year ago, highlighted by an appearance in the mid-season All-Star game. He will be counted on to be a veteran presence on a youthful backline this year.
  • #5 D Justin Schultz: Originally earmarked for NHL duty, Schultz was a major free agent signing over the summer. Expectations are high in all three zones, as Schultz packs a wallop offensively and is an effective player without the puck. Among new pro's, he is absolutely the big man on campus this season.
  • #6 D Dan Ringwald: 26-year old lefty defender should win a roster spot easily and play a top 4 role in OKC this year. Has played on 31 AHL games since turning pro in 2010, so he might be vulnerable to the new kids as the season wears along. Played well upon arrival in OKC in 2011-12.
  • #7 C Ryan Martindale: Got lost in the shuffle last year after a solid rookie camp and then some good moments in main Oiler camp. OKC couldn't find a place for him and he drifted to OKC and basically lost a season. The lockout may hurt his chances this year too, but he needs to make something happen in year two of his entry level deal. Skilled C.
  • #9 R Tyler Pitlick. Among Oiler fans, Pitlick is the AHLer most get excited about when discussing the future. A player with good size, speed and a plus shot, he plays a physical style as well. Oilers brought him along slowly last season, but coach Nelson has indicated a top 6F role is in the cards this season.
  • #10 L Teemu Hartikainen. In his first two seasons in North America, the big Finn has scored 31 goals in the AHL and another 5 in the NHL. This should be a breakout season for him, as Harski will probably be one of the wingers to spend time with the Nuge and Eberle. 20+ goals would appear likely.
  • #11 R Antti Tyrvainen. In the final year of his deal with the Oilers, this is a huge season for the Finn. Oilers like a lot of what he brings, but 6 goals in 55 AHL games in 2011-12 didn't turn heads. He has gumption and a bit of the agitator in him, and that should get him a regular role on the Barons.
  • #12 C Josh Green. A big part of the OKC lineup, Green had a strong season in 2011-12 (37 points in 51 games) and earned another 7-game  paycheck in the NHL for this troubles. I suspect he'll be on a '2line' with any combination of Hartikainen, Paajarvi, Pitlick and Arcobello.
  • #13 L Curtis Hamilton. Like Pitlick last season, Hamilton had a slow start in OKC. Unlike Pitlick, this former Saskatoon Blades star never found the range, instead spending much of the second half on injured reserve. The lockout might be a curse for his development, as offensive chances may be few and far between based on the depth chart. However, coach Nelson has stated he'd like to see Hamilton in 2-way roles and on the PK so that may be the area Hamilton makes his mark this coming season.
  • #14 R Jordan Eberle. I think he'll score 40 goals this season, but many think 50 is probable. Either way, the heart of the offense for OKC this year will be Ebs and the Nuge. A wonderful player at the NHL level, he's going to give AHL defenders nightmares in 2012-13. I wonder if they'll have him take a spin at center?
  • #15 L Phil Cornet. Led the Barons in goals last season (24) but is an extreme longshot to repeat. Cornet is a skill winger, so must push his way past highly touted players like Hartikainen and Paajarvi to have a role on a skill line this winter. Underestimating him was a bad idea last season, can he do it again?
  • #16 C Anton Lander. I think he might end up playing a checking role this season, with PK and defense job one. Why? The Barons are suddenly deep in C's--RNH, Green, Lander, VandeVelde, Martindale, House--the list goes on, so Lander will probably end up with veterans like Dane Byers on his flank instead of Paajarvi or Eberle. We'll see, but he'll be hard pressed to outscore the top end talent at center on this year's Barons.
  • #17 C Eric Hunter. He was drafted twice (2004, 2006) and went to the U of A after his WHL career ended. Hunter played last season in the AHL (75, 6-10-16) and had a couple of big scoring seasons in the WHL for Prince George. He is 26. as mentioned in the Lander comment, this team is deep at center. Stockton may be an option.
  • #18 C Ryan Nugent-Hopkins. AHL D and G are going to be cursing Bettman's lockout winter long. Holy hell this kid is going to post some assist totals on the OKC PP. The Nuge had 20 PP assists in the NHL last season, and should pass that total easily in the AHL--which is a very good league. Too much talent to deny most nights in OKC.
  • #19 L Magnus Paajarvi. I think this is the season to save him and believe absolutely he's worth saving. Terrific speed and attention to defensive detail make him unique among the kids Edmonton has drafted at the high end over the last 5 years. So it takes some time to show himself as the player he'll be, so what? I think Paajarvi gets an initial offensive push and then settles in as a solid 2-way option for the rest of the year.
  • #21 C Tanner House. The current OKC depth chart is a little unfair to someone like Tanner House. 26-year old is trying to wrestle the "veteran C with 2-way ability the coach can count on" role from Chris VandeVelde, and with fewer at-bats available that'll be a tall order. Both VV and House are behind RNH, Green and Lander to start camp. Not a lot of room for error.
  • #22 R Justin Maylan. Skilled forward just out of the WHL and signed to a contract by Stockton (ECHL). He’ll no doubt be sent down early but is young (21) and you never know. Scored 89 points with the PA Raiders last season.
  • #23 L Kristians Pelss. Very interesting prospect, I think he'll be in tough to make the Barons out of camp if everything stays the same. The LW depth chart might be Paajarvi, Hartikainen, Byers, Cornet, Hamilton and then guys like Pelss. That's a lot of talent to beat out in 2 weeks. I do like his long term future, though. Winger with a nice range of skills, that's my kind of hockey player.
  • #25 L Toni Rajala. Like Pelss, he's in tough on the portside. At 21, Rajala is coming off a solid year in Finland and has enough skill to be considered for prime minutes. His 16 goals last season lead Ilves Tampere in goals and Rajala might end up doing well on RW where the approx. depth chart is Eberle, Pitlick, Arcobello, Tyrvainen, Abney.
  • #26 R Mark Arcobello. 24-year old undersized winger who has performed very well as an OKC Baron. In 99 OKC games, he has 28-37-65 totals and has been involved in a lot of the team's offense since coming up from Stockton. Arcobello begins the season on the outside of the top 6F based on coach Nelson's words, but he's beaten the odds in the last two seasons and is likely to do the same this year.
  • #27 D Taylor Fedun. He certainly has everyone cheering for him, and based on viewings before his injury Fedun should be up to the challenge of AHL defenseman. The question then involves injury recovery, and we're about to find out. If he can play regularly, Fedun is a strong candidate for a top 4D role on this team.
  • #28 D Martin Marincin. Ranks behind Schultz as the 'new pro to watch' among OKC Barons. Marincin has a nice range of skills and the kind of size (6.05, 200) NHL teams look for in defensemen. There's always an adjustment to the AHL, so we shouldn't expect miracles and need to remember he's 20.
  • #29 C Chris VandeVelde. Honestly I don't know if there's room for anyone at center beyond RNH, Green, Lander and VandeVelde. Which means that a whole pile of C's (House, Martindale, Hunter) will be taking aim at VV's job. He's 25, coach Nelson likes him as a defensive center, but the hell hounds are barking.
  • #30 G Tyler Bunz. In a nice spot, he can ease into the pro game in Stockton but the organization also sounds as though they'd like to see him in the AHL some, too. Bunz is a quality prospect, with only concussions slowing him down so far during his development. His upcoming battle with Olivier Roy for top goalie prospect is similar to the JDD-DD battle in the 2000's. Should be fun to watch.
  • #31 G Olivier Roy. Kicked the daylights out of the ECHL and was even better in 128 incredible minutes with the Barons. What I don't know about goaltending is plenty, but Roy has performed very well since turning pro. I wonder how many games they'll start him with the Barons this season and would guess 20-25.
  • #32 R Gary Steffes. Big forward out of the NCAA (Miami of Ohio), he’s spent the last two seasons with Tulsa of the CHL. A lock for Stockton.
  • #33 D Colten Teubert. Big, tough defender is going to have a lot of work this season alongside a defender who lacks experience. The Barons counted on him heavily down the stretch last season and faltered when losing Teubert to injury. I think this might be his last AHL season for many years.
  • #34 L Dane Byers. AHL veteran with NHL experience, Byers is in a really good spot on this roster. Coach Nelson can happily play him on a checking line, but also move him up with the big guns if that's required. Byers is also a player to watch for futurue NHL roles, as he's a nice fit with Edmonton's needs as well.
  • #35 G Yann Danis. AHL All-Star goalie this past season and the Baron's MVP in 2011-12. Danis' SP was among the best in the entire AHL a year ago and he outperformed his backup (LeNeveau) by a considerable amount. I'd guess he'll get a chance to pay in the NHL some too when it starts again, especially if he can duplicate last season's performance.
  • #36 R Cameron Abney. I believe he's in a good spot this fall. Abney will no doubt play in both Stockton and OKC as he did last season, but there's a good chance he makes the Barons out of camp as an enforcer. The AHL is a tough damn league, and the Barons are carrying precious cargo every night. Adding a hired gun may be a good idea.
  • #39 D Trevor Ludwig. This is an interesting player. Son of former NHLer Craig Ludwig, he’s a big stay at home type and a lefty shooter. He has about 2 seasons of AHL experience and would be a player to watch based on OKC’s roster makeup. I think he has the best chance of making the Barons among those who are invites or Stockton signings. Ludwig is on a PTO (professional tryout) and is 27.

WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN?

This going to be a long winter, but there are things out there worthy of our attention. The OKC Barons get things rolling today, and for Oiler fans that means updates on the Nuge, Ebs, Justin Schultz and the other hopefuls down on the farm.

I don't think the Edmonton Oilers have ever had so much talent in one minor league city. This group is worth tracking this winter.

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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 Team 1260.
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#1 Manfly
September 30 2012, 10:05AM
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FIST!!

i wonder if we are going to get any TV coverage here of the OKC games?

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#2 Calvin
September 30 2012, 10:06AM
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If only we could be watching the games...

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#3 Sparky
September 30 2012, 10:06AM
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I really hope that we get to see a few games on TSN or Sportsnet. The quality when watching online last year was horrid.

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#4 DSF
September 30 2012, 10:23AM
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Expect to see a lot of Marlies, Wolves and Heat games on Canadian television.

The cost of sending a production truck and crew to Oklahoma City would be too prohibitive.

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#5 Toro
September 30 2012, 10:25AM
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Wonder who's the creeper taking those pictures of the chick with the big knockers, I ain't complaining though

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#6 Jakub M Wojnarowicz
September 30 2012, 10:27AM
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I don't understand why this isn't on TV.

I gave up on cable for the year (my little form of protest), but if I was in charge of TSN or SN I'd be all over this like white on rice. Name me a more exciting AHL club.

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#7 vetinari
September 30 2012, 10:28AM
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There's more than one of the Okla( )homa girls??? Road trip!!!

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#8 Manfly
September 30 2012, 10:43AM
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DSF wrote:

Expect to see a lot of Marlies, Wolves and Heat games on Canadian television.

The cost of sending a production truck and crew to Oklahoma City would be too prohibitive.

perhaps, but there are some pretty high profile players in OKC, mind you the Toronto Sports Network is probably too cheap to go all the way to OKC to show a game and you are probably correct that they'll just show the Marlie games from their own back yard and only show OKC when they go to Toronto.

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#9 oilers2k14
September 30 2012, 11:00AM
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So wheres Dubnyk playing this year? What about Gagner?

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#10 DSF
September 30 2012, 11:01AM
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It has nothing to do with "cheap"...just the economics of sending a production crew all the way to Oklahoma to broadcast a game to the Edmonton television market which is much smaller than either Toronto or Vancouver.

It's also pretty easy to send a production crew down the freeway from Vancouver to Abbotsford to do a Heat broadcast.

The Chicago Wolves already have a local television deal so TSN or SN can just pick up their feed.

From the Wolves website:

"The Chicago Wolves will air 27 games on network television,15 games on My50 Chicago (WPWR) and 12 contests on NBC Chicago Nonstop, this season. An additional 48 regular-season games, along with every playoff contest, will be broadcast live on Comcast Network 100 on XFINITY TV."

I would imagine that Leafs TV will also step up their Marlies schedule and, now that they are partly owned by Rogers, you'll probably see a lot of their games on SN as well.

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#11 Jay Gray
September 30 2012, 12:28PM
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I love when OKC gets some love on this page and the boys get to bust out them pics…Hot Damn!

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#12 Manfly
September 30 2012, 12:45PM
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@DSF

i kid, DSF, i kid! :-D

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#13 jake
September 30 2012, 01:02PM
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On sending a crew to OKC - Not in the TV business but they wouldn't have to send whole crew would they? I recall about 2 years ago watching a HNIC afternoon game b/w Leafs and Lightning from Tampa, it was Bob Cole doing the game, it felt like watching local cable high school game, the camera angle was low to the ice, with only a few angles being shown, which tells me the full crew wasn't there.

Also, in the AHL, they often play 3 weekend games, so if you are a TV network, there may be some bang for your cost of travelling/production buck.

As for the market, I would think a lot of hockey fans (especially in Canada) might want to see the Barons with those talented young guys, especially if they manage to light things up as the season goes on.

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#14 Chris
September 30 2012, 01:24PM
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Anywhere to watch or listen to them online?

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#15 DSF
September 30 2012, 01:26PM
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jake wrote:

On sending a crew to OKC - Not in the TV business but they wouldn't have to send whole crew would they? I recall about 2 years ago watching a HNIC afternoon game b/w Leafs and Lightning from Tampa, it was Bob Cole doing the game, it felt like watching local cable high school game, the camera angle was low to the ice, with only a few angles being shown, which tells me the full crew wasn't there.

Also, in the AHL, they often play 3 weekend games, so if you are a TV network, there may be some bang for your cost of travelling/production buck.

As for the market, I would think a lot of hockey fans (especially in Canada) might want to see the Barons with those talented young guys, especially if they manage to light things up as the season goes on.

If low quality is good enough for you, you can always watch the games streamed live.

I watched several Barons games that way last season and it was acceptable though far from polished.

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#16 DSF
September 30 2012, 01:32PM
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Here's some interesting info on how the Canadian networks are actually better off without regular season games to cover:

"To understand the inverse logic of the lockout and its victims, you need to consider that an average regular season broadcast in Canada can have production costs of about $60,000; typical advertising revenue for that game comes in anywhere from $15,000 to $20,000 short of production costs.".

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/sports/hockey/no-hockey-a-windfall-for-networks/article4548598/

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#17 AutoOiler
September 30 2012, 02:30PM
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Bring on world championship poker, and Darts. Strong man competitions dominated by people named Magnus.

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#18 NewAgeSys
September 30 2012, 03:59PM
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Three days and counting,--wait for it--,dont count your chickens before they hatch comrades.

Buckle up,the show is about to begin,this NHL season is going to start with a bang and it will seem to go by in a flash without the usual preamble getting us warmed up.I say we finish a solid sixth and hit the playoffs healthy and prepared to learn.As much as these groups can FUBAR a negotiation----when they really get to the heart of their job execution they are still the best in the World--anything is possible,right??? Just sayin.

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#19 jake
September 30 2012, 04:47PM
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DSF wrote:

If low quality is good enough for you, you can always watch the games streamed live.

I watched several Barons games that way last season and it was acceptable though far from polished.

Yeah I watched a few games online last year as well, not the greatest quality. It would be great if somehow the Barons made it on TV a few times. But I generally agree, it is probably cost-prohitive in the end.

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#20 RexLibris
September 30 2012, 06:10PM
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@vetinari

Ought it be spelled Okla)(homa?

Just saying.

Prospects like Cornet are an interesting test for this group. Cornet might be a good fit on another team's AHL squad as a veteran scoring threat and long-shot NHLer. In other words, kind of a throwaway player for some teams.

Now, the test comes if Tambellini's pro scouts can identify somebody they think is languishing in a depth position on another AHL squad (apples to oranges, but think Hugh Charles) and could be had by a player-player swap. It would likely be a defenseman or a thug as usually you don't trade players of a similar position unless the skill sets are completely different.

However, it seems he is a good example of a prospect nearing the exit door. Good GMs find these players and develop them before having them pushed out the door because someone better comes along. Great GMs turn those exiting players into the farm-team gems that usually shine brightest in the post-season.

On another note, with Hall being ineligible to go to OKC to start the season, once he has recovered does anyone here have any information on the details of signing a pro-contract with an AHL team?

I suspect he would want to explore that option (in comparison to Europe) in order to continue playing in the Oilers' system and with Eberle and Nugent-Hopkins. Given that he is still on an ELC he ought to remain clear of waivers, and if it were simply a professional-to-employer contract to the Barons themselves, he might only need to buy his own insurance. Does this sound at all reasonable or are there some details I'm not seeing?

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#21 DSF
September 30 2012, 06:57PM
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jake wrote:

Yeah I watched a few games online last year as well, not the greatest quality. It would be great if somehow the Barons made it on TV a few times. But I generally agree, it is probably cost-prohitive in the end.

The Oilers really need to find a way to move the Barons to Saskatoon.

It would be great to promote the franchise in Saskatchewan, much easier for players recalls and would open up more broadcast possibilities.

The Barons attendance in OKC is dreadful and it's only a matter of time until the franchise goes tits up.

The Abbottsford Heat have even worse attendance but there's word that the Canucks are working on a deal to move their AHL affiliation from Chicago to Abbotsford which would solve that issue pretty quickly.

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#22 Pouzar99
September 30 2012, 07:06PM
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As Oilers2k14 asks, does anyone know what Dubnyk, Gagner, and I will add Petry, will be up to? I am not to worried about the others who I have heard nothing about but those three could use a place to play; Gagner and Petry for development and Dubnyk to be sharp if there is a partial season. I thought I heard early that Gagner might be off to Switzerland but have not heard any more about him.

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#23 I tried it at home
September 30 2012, 07:12PM
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RexLibris; I would spell it OKLA\)(/HOMA myself :). I'm all up for a roadtrip to OKC to check it out in person, but with an eccentric work schedule it will probly be last minute and by myself. Dammit. I'm curious though, if anyones thought about going all out and watching Yakopov in his home enviroment. The bragging rights alone would be worth it. Anyone else kinda sorta interested?

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#24 Suntory Hanzo
September 30 2012, 07:37PM
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@DSF

It's really too bad about the Heat. I live in Abby and go to lots of games, and it is usually only a 1/3 full. Even on Friday games where Hotdogs are$1 and Berr is $2!

"hockey fans" out here say they don't want to go because they don't want to support the Flames. It's a great product, and growing up in Edmonton, I flippin HATE the Flames.

Hopefully more people come out now the lockout is on. I thought attendance would rise when the Bruins moved out of Chilliwack.

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#25 DSF
September 30 2012, 07:54PM
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Suntory Hanzo wrote:

It's really too bad about the Heat. I live in Abby and go to lots of games, and it is usually only a 1/3 full. Even on Friday games where Hotdogs are$1 and Berr is $2!

"hockey fans" out here say they don't want to go because they don't want to support the Flames. It's a great product, and growing up in Edmonton, I flippin HATE the Flames.

Hopefully more people come out now the lockout is on. I thought attendance would rise when the Bruins moved out of Chilliwack.

The smart thing to do is have the Canucks move their farm team affiliation to Abbotsford. Attendance would soar.

Gillis was talking about it last week.

No idea why the Black Hawks don't have their AHL affiliate in Chicago.

Makes too much sense.

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#26 OilLeak
October 01 2012, 02:51AM
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LT,

You keep selling Arobello short, arcobello was Okc's best Player last year and there is no way he's outside of the top 6 this season. I expect a huge season for Arcobello, I enjoyed his game a lot.

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#27 RDS
October 01 2012, 09:26AM
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I like the idea of the Oilers farm team being in Saskatoon, makes alot of sense. I fear the Blades attendance would suffer though.

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#28 DLS
October 01 2012, 02:25PM
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I am a resident of Saskatoon and I like the idea alot of moving the Barons to Saskatoon. Maybe then we could get more fans out to games then the Blades get to their games.

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#29 steveb12344
October 01 2012, 06:56PM
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DSF wrote:

The Oilers really need to find a way to move the Barons to Saskatoon.

It would be great to promote the franchise in Saskatchewan, much easier for players recalls and would open up more broadcast possibilities.

The Barons attendance in OKC is dreadful and it's only a matter of time until the franchise goes tits up.

The Abbottsford Heat have even worse attendance but there's word that the Canucks are working on a deal to move their AHL affiliation from Chicago to Abbotsford which would solve that issue pretty quickly.

That's actually a great idea. Pro hockey would be huge in SK. and they have a pretty big oilers following there already too. The Oilers are probably already considering it, what with the exibition games already being played there.

Does anyone know when the current deal with Oklahoma expires?

On the downside though, not sure if LT can find any S'Toon girl pics to live up to the Okla Twins.

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