The OKC Barons 12-13 are coming into view. Sure there are some ‘bubble’ players who might make the big club but at this point the candidates appear to be signed, sealed and delivered.
Coach Todd Nelson has his contract and we can begin to discuss the fall and winter for Barons prospects. I caught up to OKC Barons play by play man Jim Byers Saturday and we talked about a few players of interest for 12-13:
- On Tyler Pitlick (in photo above): "I think he had a pretty good year, it’s probably time for him to take a step forward. He’s still very very young by AHL standards."
- On Josh Green: Byers: "I like the Josh Green signing, especially because it looks like this could be a very young team again this season.At the AHL level he’s a very nice player to watch as well."
- On Phil Cornet: "He made the mid-season all star game, it’ll be his third year in the AHL and we’ll see if he can take a step forward too."
- On Kirill Tulupov: "I was getting the general inclination that he was going to look elsewhere, look for a place where he could get a little more playing time. Things were pretty deep this year defensively and with an influx of guys like Davidson, Marincin and Fedun and going with the guys they already have, it would surprise me if he came back. My impression was that he would not be back."
THE POSSIBLE ROSTER
We’re in August and frankly there are probably a half dozen ‘bubble’ players who could end up in Edmonton for the beginning of 12-13. There’s also a possibility of a lockout, meaning some true blue Oilers could play in OKC. Below is a ‘possible’ opening night lineup based on the Oilers current depth chart and the players in the system who are waiver eligible.
- L1: Josh Green-Teemu Hartikainen-Magnus Paajarvi
- L2: Mark Arcobello-Phil Cornet-Tyler Pitlick
- L3: Anton Lander-Dane Byers-Tanner House
- L4: Chris VandeVelde, Antti Tyrvainen, Curtis Hamilton
- Extras: Ryan Martindale, Kristians Pelss, Cameron Abney
Your mileage may vary, but that’s my guess. I like the depth at center, and that top line should do some nice things. Pitlick gets a push here but I think that’s reasonable based on who isn’t back this year (looks like the Oilers wanted to make room for some youngsters). VandeVelde is overqualified for the 4C slot but the Barons have some nice depth there.
- D1: Alex Plante-Corey Potter
- D2: Dan Ringwald-Colten Teubert
- D3: Martin Marincin-Taylor Fedun
- D4: Teigan Zahn-Brandon Davidson
I have two RH’s on the top pairing, looks like their top 4D will be 3 right handers unless Marincin, Davidson or Zahn can impress in training camp. Having all of those righties isn’t a bad thing, but it might require someone to play out of position. I would guess that the Oilers/Barons will add a lefty in the next few weeks, meaning one of Davidson or Marincin may start their pro career in Stockton (ECHL). Oscar Klefbom remains an intriguing possibility.
- G1: Yann Danis
- G2: Olivier Roy
- G3: Tyler Bunz
This is an interesting depth chart. Danis is coming off a fantastic AHL season and may end up playing in the NHL for an extended period this winter. Roy is up from Stockton where he had an impact season, and Bunz graduates to pro with a terrific resume from junior hockey. There’s every chance we’ll look back on this roster 10 years from now and agree the goaltenders had the brightest futures.
WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN?
Summer offers all kinds of distractions, and this has been a different kind of off-season (owing to the slow decisions of Parise, Suter and Doan, plus the cap hit questions). As with the NHL roster, the Barons don’t look "done" in the true sense. I would expect we’ll see some additions in the next few weeks, specifically a left-handed blueliner. As it currently stands, the Barons are quite young and the opportunities for their top prospects (Paajarvi, Hartikainen, Pitlick, Hamilton, Lander, Teubert, Marincin, Roy, Bunz) are abundant and obvious.