The OKC Barons were shutout last night by the Hamilton Bulldogs and now trail their AHL series 3 games to 2. Although it’s disappointing for fans following the series, the wider view of this Barons season is very positive. Prospects are developing at a furious clip, and that’s the name of the game.
No matter what happens in their playoff series, the entire Oilers organization has to be pleased with the results of the 10-11 season in Oklahoma City. Here’s a quick look at the legit prospects and their performances:
- Linus Omark (5gp, 1-2-3 +2). Leading the Barons in playoff scoring and looking like he belongs in a higher league. Omark did what we expected him to do in OKC–rip up the league Roy Hobbs style and accomplishing the stuff of legends (5 goal game). I suspect these are his final minor league games.
- Mark Arcobello (5gp, 1-1-2 E) Leads the team with 17 shots on goal and has done more this season to move up the organizational depth chart than any other AHL prospect this side of the big Finn. Hell, he wasn’t even an Oiler at the beginning of the year.
- Colin McDonald (5gp, 1-1-2 E) Technically not an Oiler prospect, one hopes the club signs him to an NHL-AHL contract over the summer after his career season. I think one of the lessons of Colin McDonald is that when you develop these kids it’s important to have enough AHL veterans to make the transition easier.
- Ryan O’Marra (5gp, 0-2-2 E) He’s going to be caught in a numbers game from here on out, but O’Marra accomplished a lot both in the AHL and during NHL callups this year.
- Hunter Tremblay (4gp, 1-0-1 +2) UNB grad and former Barrie Colt has adjusted very quickly to the AHL pace, which bodes well for him next season.
- Chris Vande Velde (5gp, 1-0-1 +2) The NHL stint seems to have turned his season. After posting pedestrian regular season numbers, a late-season callup to the big leagues saw VV play surprisingly well (based on his OKC performance). He’s playing well in the post-season and has to be considered a candidate for NHL employment next season.
- Teemu Hartikainen (5gp, 0-1-1 E) Flew up the organizational depth chart this season. No one said a word when he was sent down during the pre-season but he’s one of the major reasons Edmonton fans are tuning in to hear the OKC playoff run. A big, skilled forward with some jam.
- Jeff Petry (5gp, 0-1-1 +1) Somewhat similar to VV in that he performed extremely well in Edmonton when recalled, although his AHL performance during the regular year was also admirable. Like Omark, these are probably his final minor league games.
- Colten Teubert (2gp, 0-0-0 E) Big, tough defender has been a HS and is now injured. Played at a high level after coming over from the LAK organization and offers the organization another gritty defender.
- Alex Plante (4gp, 0-0-0 +1) Plante has added a line to his resume this season: enforcer. Plante has 12PIMS in the playoffs, ranking 4th in that category so far in the playoffs. Plante is likely at the top of the recall list as the club prepares for summer evaluation and could make the big club in the fall (depending on what management does over the summer).
That’s a lot of development over one season.
WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN?
Things may not be as the appear. Following are the NHL games played by the 99-00 Hamilton Bulldogs (an Oilers minor league team at the time) since that season:
- Daniel Cleary 688 games
- Jason Chimera 581 games
- Dan Lacouture 329 games
- Alex Henry 177 games
- Brad Norton 124 games
- Brian Swanson 70 games
- Alain Nasreddine 59 games
- Michel Riesen 12 games
- Peter Sarno 7 games
- Chris Hajt 6 games
- Mathieu Descoteaux 5 games
- Sean Selsmer 1 game
Two players ended up having quality NHL careers and the Oilers could use both of them now. The list of failed prospects includes first round picks (Riesen) and guys without pedigree. From the current list I’d bet money on Petry, Omark and Hartikainen to play north of 500 games.
What say you?
Nation Radio hits the air at noon today and we’re live from the PINT. Guests scheduled to appear:
- Former Oiler Cam Connor, a big powerforward whose youtube fights are fun to watch. Connor is making some news these days in a different way, we’ll talk to him about his draft experience, his NHL/WHA career and what he’s doing these days.
- Jonathan Willis from Oilers Nation will talk to us about RNH’s even strength numbers and why they’re a concern, and we’ll discuss Adam Larsson and why his impressive season seems to be getting no play at all right now.
- Tom Renney spoke to the Team 1260 earlier in the week about the Oilers moving forward and we’ll replay that interview and discuss what it means.
- Jason Gregor from Oilers Nation will pop by and talk about these NHL playoffs, why he thinks RNH or Landeskog are the better options at #1, and why we’re seeing so many head injuries in the NHL these days.
- Kent Wilson from Flames Nation has written an outstanding 6-part series on Darryl Sutter and his time as King of the Flames. We’ll talk about that, the Flames GM situation and giggle like idiots about the discomfort of Canucks fans this weekend.
As has always been the case with anything I get involved in, the best part of the process comes from the input of a large online Oilers Nation. We’re going to devote an entire segment to emails today, you can send them to firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll read them on-air and get some feedback from our guests.
We’re about three months into the process now, I’d love to read things you’d like to hear on the show as we move forward. Are you happy with the draft talk? Too much? Would you like more former Oilers on the show to talk about the olden days?
Let me know. It’s your show, Oilers Nation.