BARONS READY TO ROLL!

Lowetide
October 03 2013 08:30PM

The Oklahoma City Barons roster looks set now, and some of the things we discussed earlier (where's the offense going to come from?) have been solved by the names who didn't get NHL jobs. The opening night lineup has plenty of surprises and a lot of NHL experience. The quality prospects are mostly defensemen.

LINES

Lines this morning (C-L-R) courtesy Eric Rodgers

  • Anton Lander-Linus Omark-Derek Nesbitt: This should be a high end skill line if they keep it together. Nesbitt scored 26 AHL goals last season, Lander found the range offensively late and Omark is an exceptional player based on his last OKC experience. You could call this an "ideal" offensive situation for Lander.
  • Ryan Martindale-Ryan Hamilton-Matt Ford: This is an interesting line. Martindale is a 2010 draft pick who has never been able to get untracked, and Hamilton is a terrific scorer at this level (30 AHL goals one year ago). Ford had a subpar season on year ago but has scored 26 in an AHL season. Like Lander, Martindale appears to be getting a push (if this line holds).
  • CJ Stretch-Ryan Jones-Tyler Pitlick: This should be a fun line, Stretch has a lot of skill and Jones should be a productive offensive player in the AHL. Ryan Jones has played only 44 AHL games since turning pro (17-10-27). Pitlick gets a nice opportunity with two superior offensive players.
  • Travis Ewanyk-Kale Kessy-Erick Lizon: This will be the hammer line, with Ewanyk always willing to throw his weight around and Kessy bringing toughness and a willingness to fight to every game. Lizon is a pure enforcer.

Forwards on the roster and not mentioned here are Andrew Miller, Austin Fyten, Nicolas Tremblay and Ben Eager.

THE BLUE

Again courtesy Rodgers, here are the D pairings:

  • Martin Marincin-Taylor Fedun: Two of the top defenders a year ago and this makes sense as a pairing. Marincin has the draft pedigree and plenty of puck moving ability, while Fedun is a player who can be underrated unless you see him over a period of games. Both are legit NHL prospects.
  • Brandon Davidson-Phil Larsen: This could be a nice AHL tandem, but one wonders if Larsen will end up back in Edmonton sometime during the season. Davidson, like Fedun, grows on you as viewings increase, and I'm looking forward to seeing his progress this season.
  • David Musil-Martin Gernat: Bruce McCurdy from Cult of Hockey dreamed of seeing this pairing for the Oil Kings, but will have to fly to Oklahoma too see it in person. Musil has a veteran's understanding of the defensive aspects of the game, but footspeed keeps his body from getting things done at pace. Gernat is a big, lanky kid who has top level ability but remains a raw talent. It'll be fascinating to watch them during their entry level deals.
  • Brad Hunt-Joey Leach: Hunt has already had a productive AHL season, one suspects he'll get plenty of PP time with the Barons. Leach was taken 73rd overall by the Flames in the 2010 Entry draft (12 spots behind Martindale) and will be the physical stay at home defender who can also handle the rough stuff.

Oscar Klefbom skated today but is going to take a little while to recover (blocked a shot earlier in the week). Goalies Richard Bachman and Olivier Roy are set.

WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN?

An AHL team is about learning how to be a pro, about grinding ability into useful role players and about waiting until graduation day comes. There's real talent here, including quite a bit of the top level of the organization's Top 20 prospects. From my September top 20:

  • #2 D Oscar Klefbom
  • #3 D Martin Marincin
  • #5 D Martin Gernat
  • #11 D David Musil
  • #16 D Taylor Fedun
  • #17 D Brandon Davidson
  • #18 C Andrew Miller
  • #20 L Kale Kessy

As you can see, this is a defense heavy prospect season in Oklahoma City. The Barons season gets underway Friday against Charlotte (in OKC). Photos by Rob Ferguson, all rights reserved.

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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 Retsinnab5
October 03 2013, 09:16PM
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It would be nice to see Klefbom light up the AHL

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#2 The Oilers Shot Clock
October 03 2013, 08:37PM
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Wow. Jones is in no mans land now. Will he ever play another nhl game? I'm glad he made some money.

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#3 916oiler
October 04 2013, 10:38AM
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Nice write-up, looking forward to watching the defensive prospects develop. But one thing...

The C-L-R thing drives me crazy! Put the center in the....CENTER!!! LW-C-RW!!!

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#4 Vince
October 03 2013, 08:55PM
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Geez could 7 (including Klefbom) dmen be future nhlers? Not impossible.

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#6 Jonathan Willis
October 03 2013, 10:04PM
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The Oilers Shot Clock wrote:

Wow. Jones is in no mans land now. Will he ever play another nhl game? I'm glad he made some money.

There's a pretty good case that the Stretch line is the Barons' second line. I'm going to be very interested to see how Nelson doles out the ice-time this weekend.

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#7 MillerBallz_GoOilers
October 03 2013, 08:56PM
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Anymore detail on Klefbom's injury? Guy seems to be on the limp alot. That lineup looks plenty strong even with him not in it. Gonna be an interesting battle to see which one of these young defenders emerge! GO Barons!

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#8 Aitch
October 03 2013, 09:01PM
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4 d-pairings? What am I missing?

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#9 The Oilers Shot Clock
October 03 2013, 09:54PM
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Gilbert with the second most TOI for the Panthers. +2, 1 assist. That team is going to push a lot of teams one rung down out east.

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#10 Ducey
October 04 2013, 09:41AM
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MatsLingren wrote:

Interesting to see Omark and Jones playing centre in the AHL. Are the Oilers thinking they can have all their wingers play spot duty at C in case of injury?

Not sure if you are taking a (deserved) shot at LT, but he likes to list his lines C- L - R for some reason.

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#11 @Oilanderp
October 03 2013, 09:04PM
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What a chance for Lander! Roy might have a chance at stopping some pucks this year with that D-core.

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#12 Romulus' Apotheosis
October 03 2013, 09:22PM
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After one phenomenal (by his standards at any rate) TC and some strong words from the big team's coach, I wonder where Pitlick sits on LT's prospect list now?

also, what's going on with the disconnect between these two lists LT?

http://lowetide.ca/blog/2013/07/summer-top-30.html

http://oilersnation.com/2013/9/1/top-20-prospects-sept-2013

I'm sure there's something I'm missing that explains the differences.

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#15 Dog Train
October 03 2013, 10:14PM
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Mactavish mentioned a bigger focus on prospect development in OKC going forward and I think that is evident in these line combinations. If Martindale or Lander are ever going to bring any offense to the NHL level, they will need to show it with linemates like they have to begin the season.

The D is talented but also really green so there will be growing pains. The forwards have a few AHL vets but will need some big seasons from some of the prospects. Bachman should be a quality AHL goalie and hopefully Roy can play well when he is in there because he is likely to get lots of minutes himself.

Overall, I think it will be tough to repeat the team success of the past few seasons but our development system has put the focus back on development. I think that's breath of fresh air.

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#16 plikestechno
October 04 2013, 02:46AM
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Martin Gernat is going to give Todd Nelson a heart attack. Guaranteed. #defenseoptional

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#17 robinrussia
October 04 2013, 05:08AM
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The Oilers Shot Clock wrote:

Wow. Jones is in no mans land now. Will he ever play another nhl game? I'm glad he made some money.

Still making more than the average joe.

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#18 robinrussia
October 04 2013, 05:13AM
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I see a trade some time in the near future. Our top four in okc, as listed above doesn't include klefbom. Someone will have to go and echl is below the 8 listed above. I see n Shultz, marincan and a pick for a quality center at some point. LT Will go crazy when the 3 for 1 actually happens excluding leach, who has ahl ability .

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#19 Reinman
October 05 2013, 10:30AM
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Ducey wrote:

Not sure if you are taking a (deserved) shot at LT, but he likes to list his lines C- L - R for some reason.

Maybe he has problems with mineral deposits.

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#20 steveb12344
October 03 2013, 09:23PM
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Retsinnab5 wrote:

It would be nice to see Klefbom light up the AHL

I wouldn't really be expecting Oscar to be lighting anything up.

He's more the kinda guy that doesn't post a lot of stats, but seems to show up in the 3 stars selection frequently.

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#21 Romulus' Apotheosis
October 03 2013, 09:40PM
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Lowetide wrote:

Rom: Small differences, mostly owing to the fact one list comes out right after the draft and the other in September. Dillon Simpson moved up, Toni Rajala left the organization etc. It's the same list, just tweaked because of events.

That makes sense.

I wouldn't have noticed to be honest (excepting minor differences like you mention) until I looked for Pitlick on your ON list and found Kessy at #20 there, but 30 on your LT list.

That's really the only case that struck me as odd. I gather he's lost favor in your eyes in the last month, as he won it in the previous?

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#22 MatsLingren
October 04 2013, 08:16AM
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Interesting to see Omark and Jones playing centre in the AHL. Are the Oilers thinking they can have all their wingers play spot duty at C in case of injury?

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#23 Dan 1919
October 04 2013, 08:41AM
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I was really impressed with Fedun and would expect him to be one of the first call ups, either him or Larson. Are the three guys ahead of him that good (excluding Klefbom because we know his story)?

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#24 Jay
October 04 2013, 10:30AM
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Any word on where Ty Rimmer ends up playing ? I thought that he had the strongest camp of all the goalies.

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