OKLAHOMA, USA

Lowetide
June 14 2014 11:54AM

hamilton ferguson3

The Oklahoma City Barons will have a different look next season, as the Edmonton Oilers spent the last nine months making decisions on several hopefuls. The team will need to add replacements and make room for the new pro prospects, making for some very interesting times. The fun is already underway, let's have a look.

MOVING OUT.....

A lot of Oiler kids moved out of town over the past few months. Here's a quick update on what happened:

  • D Denis Grebeshkov—signed with KHL team Vityaz Podolsk
  • D Phil Larsen—signed with KHL team Yugra Khanty-Mansiysk
  • L Roman Horak—signed with KHL team Vityaz Podolsk
  • D Steve MacIntyre—retired
  • L Ryan Martindale—traded for R Steve Pinizzotto January 17, 2014
  • L Linus Omark—dealt to Buffalo, went AWOL. Will play for Jokerit (KHL) next year.
  • G Chet Pichard—signed with team in Denmark, Odense

fedun2

    POSSIBLY LEAVING

    Some of last year's Barons need new contracts, and those contracts may not come.

    • L Ben Eager—played 84 NHL games during his Oiler contract. He's UFA.
    • D Taylor Fedun—got a cup of coffee in the NHL last season, good player. UFA.
    • G Richard Bachman—Effective goaltender, RFA.
    • L Curtis Hamilton—Entry-level deal a disaster. RFA
    • R Tyler Pitlick—Showed more promise this season, played in NHL. RFA
    • R Andrew Miller—Went 3-12-15 in final 15GP with OKC. RFA

    Ben Eager is likely heading elsewhere, I hope he's okay—he lost significant time to concussion issues as an Oiler employee—but after him, I think you can make a case for Edmonton signing the rest of the group. Curtis Hamilton is the least likely to be signed, but he showed flashes last season and went 5-1-6 in a four game stretch beginning in late January.

    I would think Bachman, Pitlick and Miller are locks to be re-signed. Fedun may wish to pursue employment elsewhere, but the Oilers could also sign him to a one-way deal and solve that worry. 

    khaira ferguson

    ROSTER LOCKS

    A few players have re-signed recently, others are working through their entry level deals.

    • Anton Lander—signed a one-way deal for $600,000 and he'll make the same total should the Oilers send him to Oklahoma territory. I suspect he's a lock for the NHL roster, he took a small haircut from the previous NHL portion of the deal but received a one-way contract and that's a big damn deal. 
    • Mark Arcobello—signed a similar deal to Lander, and he could (imo) have done much better in free agency. It's too much to state this for a fact, but it does seem as though Craig MacTavish has some sway with these guys. Arcobello earned an entire season in the NHL last year, and he didn't get it. Arco could have pursued another team, and yet he did not, preferring instead to sign a reasonable deal with Edmonton. It's impressive.
    • Steve Pinizzotto—The man who came over in the Ryan Martindale trade just signed a new deal and there's all kinds of interesting items in it. The contract pays him $225,000 in the AHL, a big money deal for that league, and $650,000 in the NHL. I'd say there's a very good chance he spends extended time on the NHL roster this coming season.
    • Dillon Simpson—Young man improved a great deal in college and may be ahead of some pro's by the time things settle in this fall/winter. A definite prospect to watch, college blue often spend less than a season in the minors.
    • Bogdan Yakimov—Straight from Yak City like a cannonball. Huge center is an absolute load, very interesting to see if he can deliver in the AHL at 20.
    • Mitchell Moroz—A famous prospect now, it's important to remember we should be looking for progress during his entry-level deal, not a quick recall to the NHL this November.
    • Jordan Oesterle—College signing has some nice things on his resume.
    • Jujhar Khaira—Impressed in pro debut, he's a big forward who shows promise.

    This list and the one below contain most of the farm workers we should be paying attention to this season. I'm hopeful we see strong seasons from Simpson, Yakimov and Khaira, plus the NHL men pushing for more playing time and having success. 

    gernat ferguson3

    CONTINUING CURRENT DEALS

    • Brad Hunt—Under contract for another year, fascinating chaos defensive prospect.
    • Will Acton—Played extended periods in Edmonton early and late, depth center.
    • Martin Gernat—Talented, and raw, NHL defense prospect.
    • Brandon Davidson—Just keeps rolling along, gaining experience. Still very much a prospect.
    • Ryan Hamilton—Slow-footed member of the Marlie mafia has another year left. 
    • David Musil—Continues to impress with intelligent defense, and show below average speed.
    • Travis Ewanyk—Checking center with grit, very little offense.
    • Kale Kessy—Continues his development as a tough winger. 
    • Laurent Brossoit—Terrific ECHL season, will need to have sustain at AHL level.
    • Frans Tuohimaa—Goaltending position uncertain, he's an uncertain part of the uncertainty.
    • Tyler Bunz—Injuries have impacted his career, as has ineffective play. 

    This is the group that is either having their skills ground into usable parts (no mistakes=good) or being used as roster fillers until prospects eat their lunch. Hasn't been a lot of that in OKC, truth be told.

      WHAT HAVE YOU HEARD?

      There are a few players who spent time with the Barons one year ago who are blowing in the wind.

      • Joey Leach—Big 22-year old defender spent a cup of coffee in OKC and the season in Bakersfield.
      • Josh Winquist—Signed to an ATO end of March, have not heard if he's coming back. 
      • Ty Rimmer—Played three effective games for Barons, rest in ECHL. Interesting player.
      • Austin Fyten—Played most of the season with the Barons. 

      oesterle ferguson

        AHL CONTRACTS

        My sincere thanks to Patricia Teter from Artful Puck for her help in this part of the Barons roster situation.
        These are men who are signed to contracts for next season by the Barons.

        • Mitch Holmberg—62 goals in the WHL last season. Lordy.
        • C. J. Ludwig—Interesting defensive prospect from Northern Michigan University.
        • Graeme Craig—A monster defenseman out of the WHL.
        • Matt Ford—Effective AHL winger signed with the Barons. He'll play top 6F role.
        • Kellen Jones—Small, skill forward with plenty of both. 
        • Connor Jones—Rinse, repeat. 


        I believe that's the group. Of course, we could see Oscar Klefbom or Jesse Joensuu in Oklahoma City this fall, but I believe we have them surrounded. This group is very important to Edmonton's future, they have the jacks and kings, and traditionally it's the AHL that produces the sixes and sevens and nines.

        The Oilers need to procure and develop useful players. Are there NHL players here? We wait. 

        (Photos by Rob Ferguson, all rights reserved).


        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 admiralmark
        June 14 2014, 12:33PM
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        Losing Horak was a bit of a disappointment. I think Horak has the potential to be better then Lander.

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        #2 backup bob
        June 14 2014, 12:08PM
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        Off-topic,

        Congratulations to the Los Angeles Kings for winning the Stanley Cup, the toughest trophy to win in sports. What a team.

        Are you watching Kevin Lowe?

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        #3 Spaddy McGinn
        June 14 2014, 12:46PM
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        Any word on where Greg Chase will end up?

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        #5 Johnnydapunk
        June 14 2014, 01:03PM
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        The partial Finnish blood in me is hopeful that Tuohimaa does well next season and stays with the Barons for next season to develop. I know it's only one game but stopping 38 shots out of 40 in your debut is a nice start to your North American career.

        I realise that maybe saying something positive about Katz here is a bit unheard of, but it seems like he is creating a pretty decent system (acquiring teams at various pro levels allowing staff and players to "move up" under his control) which could really work out well long term for the Oil.

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        #6 Andy P
        June 14 2014, 02:46PM
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        Switcher wrote:

        If only we could get the barons to play in the NHL and the oilers in the AHL

        How about swap Eakins with Todd Nelson. Apparently Eakins was once a good AHL coach?

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        #7 Rama Lama
        June 14 2014, 12:46PM
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        We are blessed with great coaching down at the farm...........Nelson has showed a commitment to development and players like to play for him.

        This is the guy we need up on the Oilers.........not some narcissistic clown who like to expose player weaknesses.

        If Nelson develops just two or three players down there.......I will consider him a success.

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        #8 max
        June 14 2014, 02:13PM
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        Isn't it time that Fedun and Pitlick were re-signed? These 2 guys WANT to be Oilers, they showed really well this season up in the big club, surely they deserve a year at least - after all, we have dropped a lot of dead wood with Belov, Larsen, Horak, Grebeshkov etc., legging it to the KHL.

        They showed far better than most of the regulars - c'mon management, don't keep these guys dangling any longer.

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        #9 D
        June 14 2014, 12:26PM
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        Man, I hope they re-sign BTO. He was a big highlight of last season.

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        #10 WeridAl
        June 14 2014, 01:40PM
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        Someone's not doing his homework again, getting used to this. Hamilton has had a rough time, but if you had listened to Nelson he would of told you he made strides coming back from injury, was a different player, Stu would tell you the same thing and is still very high on him and his 2way game. Get a kick when mention Musil's speed, but fail to say anything about Simpson's poor skating. Jordan Oesterle was a horror story the game I saw him play with the Barons, best bet ECHL with Simpson. Mitch Holmberg reading to much stats, ECHL bound as well. Jones twins, liked Connors play cannot see both, depends if they resign Miller. Greg Chase is either NHL or WHL, born a day earlier he could play in the AHL. Like Chase and didn't look out of place with the Barons, in fact him and Hamilton looked good together. Brandon Davidson most nights towards the end of the season was the Barons most consistent D, watch out for this kid. Hunt look good and he would be the 1st to tell you his play improved due to his partner Davidson. The Barons are owned by Bob Funk Jr, has a questionable rep, Oilers have a option to move the Barons if average attendance drops below 4000. Didn't come close to that this season. Some super fans, but it's just not a hockey town. I believe the Oilers still own the rights to the RoadRunner name. Gernat is a wild card, some nights he looks great, than the other he stinks up the joint, just not sure about him.

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        #12 jonrmcleod
        June 14 2014, 01:12PM
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        Lowetide wrote:

        Is this a new lingo? eights?

        This is your lingo. "This group is very important to Edmonton's future, they have the jacks and kings, and traditionally it's the AHL that produces the sixes and sevens and nines." I'm wondering where the eights come from.

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        #14 bwar
        June 14 2014, 04:42PM
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        Moroz-Yakimov-Khaira My new favorite Oilers line.

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        #15 Jordan Nugent-Hallkins
        June 14 2014, 01:35PM
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        What do you mean Omark went AWOL? Did he stop showing up at practice? Or you just mean he bolted for Russia?

        Also, I really really hope Yakimov and Moroz pan out. Maybe the Oilers knew what they were doing when they picked Moroz? I seem to recall there being a couple players ranked higher than him still available when the Oil took him, and I was worried it was another case of the Oilers being the smartest guys in the room.

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        #16 vetinari
        June 14 2014, 03:36PM
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        The faces coming in look more promising than the group moving on. It also looks like there is some more grit coming through the pipeline-- I just hope that at least two or three of these guys turn into regular NHLers... and for the Oilers!

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        #17 Spydyr
        June 14 2014, 06:23PM
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        nuge2nail wrote:

        Oiler Domination To Follow

        Smid sucks.

        We need to see what defenseman MacT spends Smids cap space on July1 before we judge the trade.

        Yeah what team in their right mind would want a guy that clears the front of the net ,blocks shots,is a team player,stands up for his teammates and comes to play every night.

        Your lack of hockey knowledge is disturbing, it truly is and that:

        Oiler Domination To Follow

        Is beyond pathetic.

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        #18 Switcher
        June 14 2014, 12:43PM
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        If only we could get the barons to play in the NHL and the oilers in the AHL

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        #19 WeridAl
        June 14 2014, 02:28PM
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        max wrote:

        Isn't it time that Fedun and Pitlick were re-signed? These 2 guys WANT to be Oilers, they showed really well this season up in the big club, surely they deserve a year at least - after all, we have dropped a lot of dead wood with Belov, Larsen, Horak, Grebeshkov etc., legging it to the KHL.

        They showed far better than most of the regulars - c'mon management, don't keep these guys dangling any longer.

        I think Fedun might test FA, lot of us Baron fans thought he was given the shaft by MacTavish.

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        #20 Rama Lama
        June 14 2014, 03:41PM
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        I hope the rumours with Dion Pheneuf are simply that.......rumours.

        This guy is the most over-rated defenceman in the league.........he is neither a shut-down guy or an offensive player. The last time I checked we had four of those types of defencemen.

        If we are going to give up some assets let's go big or keep and develop what we have.......by big I mean PK Subban or Shea Webber. I'm not sure what Dion would bring to this team except an extra large Ego.

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        #21 nuge2nail
        June 14 2014, 07:15PM
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        Oiler Domination To Follow

        Smid is a -59 over his career.

        In his entire professional career only ONE season did he have more than 1 goal.

        His cap hit is ridiculous for a player who is so offensively challenged. When Smid is on the ice his teamates are basically handicapped.

        He sucks so bad offensively his greatest strength has become blocking shots.

        My original comment stands- Smid Sucks.

        Smid can't move the puck, is slow, stupid, and he's always out of position.

        Over his career he has 12 goals in 530 games, 1 goal for ever 45 games, or 1 goal for every 2.25 million dollars.

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        #22 Spydyr
        June 14 2014, 05:12PM
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        Anton Lander,Mark Arcobello and Steve Pinizzotto are all part of the Oilers next year.The team will once again be outside of the playoffs by December.

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        #23 Sevenseven
        June 14 2014, 05:46PM
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        admiralmark wrote:

        Losing Horak was a bit of a disappointment. I think Horak has the potential to be better then Lander.

        Might as well have just given Calgary Smid.

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        #24 jonrmcleod
        June 14 2014, 12:35PM
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        Where do the eights come from?

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        #25 OilDieHard
        June 14 2014, 01:02PM
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        don't understand the love for Curtis Hamilton. injuries and ineffective play have made him very much as suspect and not a prospect. but we all know the Oilers, they still think because he's "young" that he could still turn into Superman one day and we wouldn't want to not re-sign him and have him turn into Superman with another team now would we?

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        #26 Dave
        June 14 2014, 01:36PM
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        For Backup Bob, I mean, if you want to go off topic: why doesn't someone write an article about Ryan Smyth flipping the bird to the LA Kings to come back to the Oilers and LA then winning 2 in 3 yrs while the Oil plummet?

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        #27 JitanPren
        June 14 2014, 01:51PM
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        If you watch all the footage from Friday's presser LaForge said they own the barons. They essentially lease the team to some business partners they have in OKC through an affiliation agreement.

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        #28 nuge2nail
        June 14 2014, 05:54PM
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        Sevenseven wrote:

        Might as well have just given Calgary Smid.

        Oiler Domination To Follow

        Smid sucks.

        We need to see what defenseman MacT spends Smids cap space on July1 before we judge the trade.

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        #30 Jordan Nugent-Hallkins
        June 14 2014, 04:20PM
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        Is there anyway they can move the Barons to Edmonton? Or would it be impossible due to travel?

        No disrespect to the Barons faithful, I just think having the farm team in the same city as the big club is a win-win for everyone.

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        #31 Chainsawz
        June 14 2014, 05:37PM
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        Spydyr wrote:

        Anton Lander,Mark Arcobello and Steve Pinizzotto are all part of the Oilers next year.The team will once again be outside of the playoffs by December.

        So what, we have Nicholson now to console Lowe when the billboards start going back. His resolve will be stronger than ever. Fans will pack Rexall and pay even more for beer. The only check and balance act going on with Oiler management is how to balance fan discontent while cashing as many cheques as possible.

        And repeat.

        But hey, the Barons seem to have a decent AHL roster shaping up, with lots of names that will never have impactful NHL careers.

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        #32 Spydyr
        June 14 2014, 07:44PM
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        nuge2nail wrote:

        Oiler Domination To Follow

        Smid is a -59 over his career.

        In his entire professional career only ONE season did he have more than 1 goal.

        His cap hit is ridiculous for a player who is so offensively challenged. When Smid is on the ice his teamates are basically handicapped.

        He sucks so bad offensively his greatest strength has become blocking shots.

        My original comment stands- Smid Sucks.

        Smid can't move the puck, is slow, stupid, and he's always out of position.

        Over his career he has 12 goals in 530 games, 1 goal for ever 45 games, or 1 goal for every 2.25 million dollars.

        You do understand he is a defensive defencman and is not paid to score goals.

        -59 career on a lousy Oiler team playing top two pairing is pretty damn respectable.

        Gagner who is paid to score goals a million more dollars then Smid is paid is a career -77.

        Your argument is weak.

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        #33 nuge2nail
        June 14 2014, 08:29PM
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        Spydyr wrote:

        You do understand he is a defensive defencman and is not paid to score goals.

        -59 career on a lousy Oiler team playing top two pairing is pretty damn respectable.

        Gagner who is paid to score goals a million more dollars then Smid is paid is a career -77.

        Your argument is weak.

        Oiler Domination To Follow

        Smid can't move the puck, is slow, stupid, and he's always out of position.

        Smid has heart, but if he didn't he wouldnt be in the NHL.

        Based on his career stats theres a fifty fifty chance Smid scores ZERO goals this year.

        Defense is not just about hitting people and blocking shots, especially if your paid more than 4 million per year.

        For you to suggest im pathetic and disturbed for thinking Smid sucks is a bit dramatic.

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        #34 Casey
        June 14 2014, 09:06PM
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        There has to be some NHL teams interested in Fedun. He could be a low-risk high reward contract by some teams. It's ashame that the Oilers don't like him because he is "too small" yet they use small, 1-dimensional players all the time. Fedun could act as a solid 7th defensemen.

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        #35 The artist formerly known as Harry
        June 14 2014, 01:42PM
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        If Lander, Arco, and Pinizotto are long term Oilers next season we are so screwed. Arco and Pinizotto yes, but what has Lander done to warrant a one way deal?

        He belongs in OKC playing in every situation for 20 mins a night. Not limited situations for 8 mins a game.

        Also I think one of either Simpson, Klef or Marincin should be delt for a more experienced dman. Preferably for Coburn although Im certain we'll have to give up more than just one of the above players.

        Personally I think its gonna take Marincin + a 2nd rounder to get coburn and im ok with that. I have a great feeling aboit Simpson so Marincin in my opinion is expendable. Phillys gonna want a guy who can play 15mins right away

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        #36 D
        June 14 2014, 03:19PM
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        WeridAl wrote:

        Go to the Baron website and it says Bob Funk jr is the owner of the Barons, the Oilers technically could move the team, attendance issues, but cannot use the Baron name. I believe they still have a contract with Funk Jr to play another year or 2 there. Unless the Oilers have bought the rights to the Baron name, but that would been big news in OKC.

        The Oklahoma Secretary of State lists Prodigal Hockey LLC as the entity owning the OKC Barons' trade name. That means Bob Funk is legally the president of PH LLC, which in turn owns the Barons. It's likely that the Edmonton Oilers have a membership interest in the LLC, which would account for their ownership stake. It's most likely that PH LLC elected for partnership status with the IRS, and Bob Funk also holds a membership interest along with the Oilers, as a partner.

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        #37 Johnnydapunk
        June 14 2014, 12:11PM
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        Great article as always, was wondering though who owns the Barons ? They are mentioned in press releases as being part of the Katz group and now OEG in the way that the Oilers, Oil Kings, and Condors are mentioned, yet I thought they were owned locally (Oklahoma City local)

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        #39 Will
        June 14 2014, 04:48PM
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        I'm looking forward to seeing some bigger forwards in our AHL club next year. I hope the big club can get some vets to help these kids develop as they come up during injury periods.

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        #40 Bucknuck
        June 14 2014, 09:32PM
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        Great Summary. I hope a few of these kids emerge, much like Brodziak did a number of years ago.

        Looking at Tyler Bunz and Olivier Roy and countless other Goalies that just didn't make the grade in our system, I can't help but think there's something systematically wrong with the coaching in that area.

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        #41 geeker99
        June 14 2014, 11:47PM
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        bwar wrote:

        Moroz-Yakimov-Khaira My new favorite Oilers line.

        I was unlucky enough to see the young stars in penticton last summer. I only caught the game against calgary. Khaira was the only guy playing for the crest on the shirt. I am pulling for that kid, he has what the Oil need.

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        #42 michael
        June 15 2014, 10:02AM
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        Oilers had any thoughts they would move that OKC franchise to someplace like Regina or Saskatoon.

        OKV is a football and basketball city.

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        #43 Dale
        June 15 2014, 10:42AM
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        michael wrote:

        Oilers had any thoughts they would move that OKC franchise to someplace like Regina or Saskatoon.

        OKV is a football and basketball city.

        Doubt it. Only if one of those cities lost its WHL team.

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        #44 JitanPren
        June 14 2014, 02:22PM
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        WeridAl wrote:

        Go to the Baron website and it says Bob Funk jr is the owner of the Barons, the Oilers technically could move the team, attendance issues, but cannot use the Baron name. I believe they still have a contract with Funk Jr to play another year or 2 there. Unless the Oilers have bought the rights to the Baron name, but that would been big news in OKC.

        I'm aware of Funk Jr. I'm directly quoting LaForge when he was asked the question at the presser. There's likely some local restrictions or whatever in place that necessitated this arrangement.

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        #45 WeridAl
        June 14 2014, 04:04PM
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        Lowetide wrote:

        I'm not sure anyone can blame him, to be honest. Fedun looked good in his brief look-see, has mentored lots of these young defenseman and pretty much everyone observing the Barons that I've read suggests he's their best defenseman.

        Hard to believe other NHL teams haven't noticed.

        The 1st half of the season I would agree with you about Fedun, but towards the end it was a toss up between Hunt and Davidson. I would say Davidson was the Barons best D towards the end of the season. He was throwing big hits and was scoring some timely goals. Has a nice hard shot from the point. He was a solid all around D with size and grit. Maybe I have a soft spot for Davidson, but his old coach from the WHL, who's with another AHL team couldn't stop praising him and his character. Note he also mention the Oilers had a great crop of D coming up. IMO at the end of the season Fedun wasn't the best, he wasn't the same D I watch the 1st half.

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        #46 Mo Playoffs Mo Problems
        June 14 2014, 05:54PM
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        bwar wrote:

        Moroz-Yakimov-Khaira My new favorite Oilers line.

        The MoroYakimoKar ?

        Sounds like a prize on the Superterrific Happy Hour.

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        #47 WeridAl
        June 14 2014, 07:18PM
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        bwar wrote:

        Moroz-Yakimov-Khaira My new favorite Oilers line.

        Yakimov and Khaira are both centers and with the short supply of them in the Oilers system it's highly doubtful they'll be on the same line. Also if Nelson is still coaching (hopefully)he'll bring them along slowly to begin with and pair them with a veteran. I see Yakimov on the 2nd line, with Moroz on one of the top3 lines. Khaira is the unknown, had a good game with time he had with the Barons, but seem to get lost in the rest. I see him starting on the 4th line and working his way up. Ewanyk will most likely play the 3rd line, but Khaira could easily bump him in time.

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        #48 OILERSORDEATH
        June 15 2014, 10:48AM
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        backup bob wrote:

        Off-topic,

        Congratulations to the Los Angeles Kings for winning the Stanley Cup, the toughest trophy to win in sports. What a team.

        Are you watching Kevin Lowe?

        100% agree what a hell of a team!! Congrats LA!

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        #49 Spydyr
        June 15 2014, 01:46PM
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        @Dale

        Regina or Saskatoon both have WHL teams.Moving an AHL team there would hurt the WHL teams badly,perhaps even destroy it.

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        #50 WeridAl
        June 14 2014, 02:09PM
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        JitanPren wrote:

        If you watch all the footage from Friday's presser LaForge said they own the barons. They essentially lease the team to some business partners they have in OKC through an affiliation agreement.

        Go to the Baron website and it says Bob Funk jr is the owner of the Barons, the Oilers technically could move the team, attendance issues, but cannot use the Baron name. I believe they still have a contract with Funk Jr to play another year or 2 there. Unless the Oilers have bought the rights to the Baron name, but that would been big news in OKC.

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