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.


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:

  1. Daniel Cleary 688 games
  2. Jason Chimera 581 games
  3. Dan Lacouture 329 games
  4. Alex Henry 177 games
  5. Brad Norton 124 games
  6. Brian Swanson 70 games
  7. Alain Nasreddine 59 games
  8. Michel Riesen 12 games
  9. Peter Sarno 7 games
  10. Chris Hajt 6 games
  11. Mathieu Descoteaux 5 games
  12. 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 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.

  • It might be the first but it won’t be the last time the Barons get shut out if they don’t start throwing the puck at the net to get some gritty garbage goals. Also, they apparently didn’t win many faceoffs, and especially in key situations. Shoot the puck and wingers help your centers out on the draws! Go Barons!

    By the way, does anyone know of a place to go for online live chat during these OKC games? Sure would be nice to talk to fellow fans while I listen to the game. God love her, but the wife just doesn’t cut it (even though we just bought season tickets to the WHL’s chibruins who are moving to Victoria).

    LT, if Vande Velde can further hone his craft in the faceoff circle, would you add him to the list of prospects that might carve out a 200+ game NHL career? As I see it, the Oil are hurting so badly for a consistent FO man that they would probably be willing to overlook every other shortcoming of the player if they could count on him to win draws. Nevertheless, this was Vande Veldes FIST* year playing a full 80+ game schedule and I suspect we haven’t seen all there is to see.

    * Do you like how I snuck it in at the end? Understated yet stylishly confident.

  • Also, I just noticed that most of the locks on the door in the picture are to keep someone from getting out rather than to keep someone from getting in. That’s kind of creepy. Maybe inside the door is Zack Stortini (who btw is listed as a C on the barons site).

  • book¡e

    Hey LT,

    I saw Game 2 live and I think the Oilers have a player that really fits a need in Tuebert. The guy has a serious mean streak. I was sitting 6th row on the Baron’s blueline and you could just see it in his face in a way you didn’t see in any of the other players.

    And in that game, Nelson was showing so real faith in Tuebert, using him on the second PK pairing. He probably has passed Plante on the Oilers depth chart. His injury is giving Plante a chance to redeem himself.

    • Lowetide

      Interesting. When the Oilers dealt for Teubert I thought the one prospect who would be most impacted was Plante.

      It’s going to be interesting to see how they address D this summer with the Oilers. Petry is a lock to be on the big team (along with Peckham) but is there room for a rookie?

  • Who dat

    I agree with willis on the Nuge’s numbers at EV, and how they are concerning. But I feel that this information would surely be known to the scouts, if anything one of the first things on their list. Yet time and time again we see him being placed extraordinarily high on the list. My question is why? Does he have another aspect of the game (despite being unable to put up high EV numbers) that somehow significantly overcome this deficit?

    Also, while Couturier’s numbers are great, is it possible that they are that way because of Ondrej Palat?

    • Unlikely. Couturier has shown he can do it without Palat. In the 09-10 season Couturier had 96 pts in 68 games (and 18 pts in 14 playoff games). Palat had 40 pts in 59 games that same year (with 2 pts in 7 playoff games). This year, they both have 96 pts, with Palat playing 3 more games than Couturier. They are probably both good players who help each other out. The question is can Palat do it without Couturier?

  • Bicepus Maximus - Huge fan boy!

    I liked VV’s game while he was in town, but looking back at his numbers from college and the minors he looks like his top end might be a poor man’s Marty Reasoner. At this stage, I’d take that, but moving forward, I don’t see a spot for him if this team is going to be competitive (Don’t take that as a knock against MR himself – I think that the Oilers lost an important puzzle piece when he headed out east.)

    Do you see any future for a Colin McDonald in a 4th line, energy role? He grew a great Movember ‘stache during his stint last year. That’s gotta count for something.

  • CurtisS

    Wow are RNH EV’s numbers over rated by bloggers. I guess something to talk about. Funny none of the scouts are talking about it though. RNH has a large of a consensus #1 pick status as Hall did last year according to Bobby Mac. Thats why Im not worried about RNH.

    The big man from the Q has been falling like a stone for some months now but because math likes him hes a favorite? Ill take the saw him good by scouts over math every day.

    Wonder if he could come to the conclusion that the kid is going to put up massive points in the NHL do to his awesome PP numbers or wait them dont count? because there is no penalties in the NHL?

    • 24% body fat

      playing on the powerplay in the nhl and in the CHL are two very different things. Easier to pick apart defensemen that are 16-19 than it is a 25 year old physcally mature dmen. Also Omark is going to be a very good powerplay player but what is really his point cap 50. I will be generous and say 60. Not saying the RNH isnt going to be a better player than omark I am just stating a bigger body that can get it down at both ends and on both special teams and at even should be a consideration for number 1 and the RNH even numbers will always be a concern until he puts up 70 points in the nhl.

      • CurtisS

        Its not a concern in all the scouts eyes so why should it be to mine? When you have the hockey IQ, skating, and passing ability of RNH you can play in the NHL no problem. None. No one can move faster than the puck. Proven fact.

        • 24% body fat

          What i am trying to say is that in a draft class like this we will have to wait and see. And that people, (maybe not you) will be concerned with this stat until he has proven himself at the NHL level. If no one was concerned than no one would be talking about it. But there seems to be a lot of it. There also seems to be a lot of talk about couteriers lack of willingness to compete, so he will be critized about that until he proves he can compete at the nhl also.

  • CurtisS

    We’ll argue till were blue in the face over who to pick. Stats can only show so much. The talk should be about the intangibles that a RNH could bring to the table. His ability to see the ice, his leadership, his sportsmanship, his character, his heart and desire to win. Sound like someone we know who’s name ends in Hall. Taylor Halls on ice abilities were well documented. He had stats out the ying yang. But the overriding reason the Oilers choose Taylor over Tyler was his intangibles. We saw it all year, until that fight ended his season. Healthy he would have probably been one of the 3 candidates for top rookie. RNH I believe has those same intangibles. When the Oilers approach the podium on June 24th I hope that they call RNH name.

    Just to add fuel to the debate. The interview with RNH I saw a while back really clinched it for me. He as much said he would like to play with Oilers. That he would like to play for Edmonton. I am a little biased but one of the pluses to drafting RNH is that his adjustment time to the pro grame wouldn’t include learning a new language and adapting to a new culture. He is a western Canadian kid who’s roots are in BC. Playing close to home and knowing the culture and the area are all factors as to why I would pick him 1st.

    Ilya Bryzgalov is the poster child for why we shouldn’t draft Larrson. Unless your born in Canada and have rode the buses and skated outside in -30 you really can’t know why a kid born in Canada grows up dreaming of playing for the Nuck’s, the Flames,Oilers,the Senators,the Leafs, or Les Canadiens. RNH gets it and thats another reason we draft him.

  • striker777

    Please keep talking about the upcoming draft more. I would like hear a player who had a personal experience being sick with mononucleosis during their season and how it affected their performance. I understand Sean Couturier had mono this season and still scored more goals than RNH. He is bigger, wins faceoffs, and plays solid in both ends of the ice. Why are we not talking about him????