BARONS TRIP THE LIGHT FANTASTIC

The OKC Barons got their 12-13 season off to a strong start with a 4-0 exhibition win over Houston. The major stars of the game were Justin Schultz, Teemu Hartikainen and Ryan Martindale. The game also saw the return of Taylor Fedun to pro hockey, about one year after his terrible and unnecessary injury.

Photo courtesy of Rob Ferguson. All rights reserved.

Ryan Nugent-Hopkins didn’t play tonight, nor did Jordan Eberle. The Barons had more than enough firepower and the game highlighted a major problem for coach Todd Nelson and the organization this week: cutting down the roster. There’s too much talent here, someone–a very good player at pretty much every position–will be sent to Stockton as early as tonight.

The lines and pairings

Based on OKC’s twitter the lines and pairings for tonight looked like this:

  • Cornet-Martindale-Hartikainen
  • Hamilton-Lander-Pelss
  • Tyrvainen-Arcobello-Maylan
  • Rajala-Hunter-Abney

In listening to Jim Byers do the PBP and various online accounts, the Martindale-Hartikainen combination was excellent tonight, especially on the PP. Lander and Hamilton’s line did solid work in their own zone and young Pelss-clearly fighting for an AHL job–scored a goal and impressed.

Arcobello scored a goal (and took a monster hit) and Antti Tyrvainen was his usual effective agitating self and picked up an assist. Among the 4th lines, Rajala had his name mentioned several times and was part of the action (certainly more than Hunter and Abney).

Since Hartikainen is expected to make the Barons, I’ll suggest Ryan Martindale had the biggest game among those who are possible bubble players.

The pairings looked like this:

  • Ringwald-Schultz
  • Zahn-Fedun
  • Davidson-Teubert

All of the Baron defenders got good marks tonight. Schultz scored the game’s second goal and played a lot with Ringwald at evens. Zahn came to the defense of Hamilton on one exchange and Fedun flew some successful sorties (including a starring role in the Arcobello goal). It was Davidson’s shot that was tipped by Pelss for his goal and Teubert played a steady game.

Olivier Roy got the start and the win, Tyler Bunz was impressive too although neither goalie was terribly busy.

Scratches included Yann Danis, Alex Plante, Jordan Eberle, Tyler Pitlick, Josh Green, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Magnus Paajarvi, Tanner House, Martin Marincin, Chris VandeVelde, Dane Byers and Ryan Ludwig. Jim Byers mentioned that Martin Marincin’s injury is an upper body problem (I believe he said shoulder) and Eric Rodgers tweeted tonight "Marincin has tendonitis in his shoulder."

An excellent summary of the game is here and the Baron twitter is worth following too. The Oilers offered a nice in-game blog and all of the goals are available to view here.

WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN?

The Barons are going to score a lot of goals this season. Did you see the list of scratches? Holy hell. The OKC Barons are exceptional value for the price. I couldn’t get the PPV to work tonight, but will try again tomorrow. This could be the beginning of a beautiful friendship.

Update: Tyler Bunz has just tweeted he’s heading for Stockton.

  • striatic

    cool to see the Schultz, Fedun and Teubert spread across three pairings. looks like a really solid blue line.

    any word on if Eberle and the Nuge will play Saturday?

  • The squad that played reads like an AHL club already. Then you read the scratches and you start to get the feeling that the hockey fans of Oklahoma are in for a real treat.

    What a great opportunity for Todd Nelson. He is basicly running an NHL training camp and coaching NHL players. Never a bad thing for the guy in your minor league affiliate to have just in case.

  • Lexi

    Holy depth, Lowetide!

    Do you think we could petition the league and just make two AHL teams????

    That scratch list is unbelievable.

    And was that the mighty Houston Areos the Barons waxed???? Can I cue DSF for a list of excuses as to why the lesser roster of OKC beat the tar out of the calder filled Areos roster? 🙂

        • DSF

          You’re really reaching there.

          Nowhere did I say the Barons would finish last or second last.

          Obviously, adding Eberle, Hopkins and Hall make the Barons a better team but the Barons aren’t the only team adding talented youngsters.

          I would think the Barons will be contending for the league title again but it won’t be the cakewalk you predicted.

          Based on last night’s box score, it appears the Aeros got into penalty trouble and it cost them. Be interesting to see how the re-match goes tonight.

          Here’s the rosters:

          OKLAHOMA CITY BARONS

          FORWARDS

          36 ABNEY, Cam

          34 BYERS, Dane

          12 GREEN, Josh

          13 HAMILTON, Curtis

          21 HOUSE, Tanner

          17 MARTINDALE, Ryan

          19 PAAJARVI, Magnus

          23 PELSS, Kristians

          9 PITLICK, Tyler

          25 RAJALA, Toni

          14 TYRVAINEN, Antti

          29 VANDEVELDE, Chris

          DEFENCE

          3 DAVIDSON, Brandon

          27 FEDUN, Taylor

          39 LUDWIG, Trevor

          4 PLANTE, Alex

          5 SCHULTZ, Justin

          2 ZAHN, Teigan

          GOALTENDERS

          35 DANIS, Yann

          30 BUNZ, Tyler

          HOUSTON AEROS

          FORWARDS

          56 BRODA, Joel

          17 BULMER, Brett

          3 COYLE, Charlie

          37 FONTAINE, Justin

          13 FOUCAULT, Kris

          64 GRANLUND, Mikael

          22 LARSSON, Johan

          26 McINTYRE, David

          27 McMILLAN, Carson

          19 PALMER, Jarod

          44 PALMIERI, Nick

          51 PHILLIPS, Zack

          20 RAU, Chad

          16 ZUCKER, Jason

          DEFENCE

          4 BAGNALL, Drew

          25 BRODIN, Jonas

          10 CONNELLY, Brian

          61 CUMA, Tyler

          7 FREDHEIM, Kris

          39 GENOWAY, Chad

          23 KAMPFER, Steven

          6 SCANDELLA, Marco

          GOALTENDERS

          31 HACKETT, Matt

          35 KUEMPER, Darcy

          • RexLibris

            Right DSF, but your position is to never explicitly state a prediction, so you can never be boxed in on something. You sure are good at nit-picking though!

            Full credit – you cover your ass well.

          • DSF

            Here’s one for you.

            The Calder Cup winning Norfolk Admirals were the class of the league last year.

            During the lockout, they have the addition of Emerson Etem, Kyle Palmieri, Devante Smith-Pelly, Peter Holland, Patrick Maroon, Hampus Lindholm, and Sami Vatenen.

            I predict they will once again be in contention for the AHL championship.

            What do you think?

          • cableguy - 2nd Tier Fan

            personally i am waiting for schultz to sign in vancouver and for the wild to be western conference champs this season before i decide which part of your ass you speak from….

          • Wax Man Riley

            I think this is a very good possibility.

            Great coach too… Last year he had a lot to do with their success. I think Syracuse will make a move this year with him behind the bench.

            In the linked article, you also say The Houston Aeros will be the team to watch.

            Good game on Friday, eh?

          • DSF

            Thanks for giving one to me. Kind of proves my point. Firm it up.

            “You predict…” ok. that’s what we’re all doing!

            “….they will once again be in…” I like, I like!

            “…contention…” Blast. You’ve done it again. What qualifies as contention?Door is wiiiide open for your future CYA maneuvers

            “…for the AHL championship.” Well done. But still slippery. Do you mean regular season championship? Calder?

            Too watery for my taste.

  • Canada 72

    The winner in this lockout is CBC. They already have an agreement in place to televise AHL games. HNIC could look like the Toronto Marlies vs OKC Barons. With the doubleheader having the Abbotsford Heat playing the Chicago Wolves. If I were the Oilers I would be asking the AHL for one game a month to be played in Edmonton. With profits going to OKC of course.

    Gregor and Rishaug’s conversation yesterday was dead on in terms of what I think is going to happen. This year is lost. Its next season when the NHL and its PA will be at the point where will they will begin bargaining.

    This is going to be a lonnnnnnnnng winter. NBA? I’d rather not.

  • Lexi

    Exciting start considering 5 of the team’s top 6 forwards were sitting. Great to see Schultz look as good as advertised in his first pro game, Fedun back playing and would love to see Martindale progress. Just curious, I saw reference to Coyle playing, but does anyone know if Granlund or Brodin were playing for Houston?

    Musial was second star in his game last night and with Klefbom leading the SEL in plus/minus so lots of our most important prospects are off to encouraging starts .

    I know it’s idiotic to try to read the tea leaves on this stuff, but it does seem like the NHL and the PA are getting a little antsy. My hope is once one of this sides starts compromising a deal would be reached in a couple of weeks.

  • Canada 72

    Is my math right everbody? If the season is lost and the players take a 20% rollback that equals 120%? If its a 6 year deal that equals a 20% rollback every year? Great deal PA? Math was never my strong suit.

  • Lowetide

    Heres what I wonder..
    Why doesn’t Katz buy the Stockton Thunder?
    That would give oilers three 2.5 levels deep in farming prospects…
    Heck, even buy some swedish elite league team for our european young guns like Klefbom and Omark!

  • RexLibris

    To quote you, LT,

    Lordy they have a lot of forwards!

    I was recently looking at Martindale and wondering if it would be time to cut him loose. I really do hope that he can turn things around this year. He has all the tools, and even if he maxes out around Vande Velde’s career stats it would still be nice to see him succeed.

    It seems that in years past the Oilers have been trying to outfit their AHL squad with veteran talent to help the adjustment and provide some mentorship for the prospects.

    I don’t know if they can afford to do that much longer. They may end up having to trade or demote to the ECHL other, deserving forwards, based on numbers. Some players like Hunter Tremblay and Mark Arcobello are nice stories, but which player’s development ought the organization prioritize: them or a drafted prospect like Pelss or Hamilton?

    It is in many ways a nice problem to have, but if they screw it up it might not be so nice five years down the road.

    The wisdom of the Cogliano trade (2013 pick) is becoming more and more apparent now.

  • I wonder if Schultzs offense was a major factor in that 4-0 score,d-men of his caliber can sit defenses down and set the tone for the game in the first five minutes.
    The Barons will be a juggernaught this year simply because they are on the same page and they have a coach who is in his second year of running a superior system of play,Todd Nelson is learning on the fly and he has an excellent understanding of his gameplan,his players and their individual system suitability.Believe it or not,I think the OKC team would be wise to actually keep as many guys as they can from last years squad on the team this year and limit the play to some degree of our fly-ins.The Barons are a well bonded team and have espre de corps,they have fought together and won together enough that it is REGRESSIVE to blow up their team to keep our top dogs in shape,after all the Barons are our developmental platform ,so we should respect that and limit the number of personell changes we force them to make.

    We have places to put people and things for them to be doing that will not force us to blow up our developmental platform we worked so dam hard to build last year—this is regressive.It looks like Ebbs right shoulder or back is acting up so he needs to get that figured out,I am sure there are issues with others as well,lets find as many reasons as we can to keep Oilers off the bench in OKC.Maybe just let them practice and scrimmage and leave the OKC team intact,lets try a different approach than other teams,maybe we can get Todd Nelson to teach our Oilers his system by using them as practice dummies,we can make every single practice a scrimmage and keep the OCK squad intact on the ice again this year.
    We need our guys to work on faceoffs intensivly,this is time to bring in a consultant,maybe a high profile top 5 NHL guy who didnt go overseas and wants to make a few bucks here at home,lock him down with Nuge and Gagner and Lander and the boys–whats Oats doing these days??This isnt tea-party time–we shouldnt mess with our development platform just because other NHL teams are willing to do so,it is a regressive action.You heard it here first,leave the Barons alone,they are a gelled group who are poised to dominate their league and gain a level of confidence and faith in their system that is elite,only a MORON reacting to peer pressure or “average”mindset would aspire to screw that up.Just to keep other guys in shape??Destroy developmental continuity,evolution and integrity,just to keep guys busy who are locked out??If that is how we intend to value our developmental system and how we choose to define it then we should not expect Championships to be celebated here any time soon.

    Just Sayin.

  • The scratch list could make up a completely new team that would be competing with the current roster for the AHL title.

    All this bumping down is going to have the added benefit of making the stockton thunder pretty damn intimidating as well. All of our prospects are going to be developing with other incredibly skilled prospects.

    The oilers prospect pool is going to be deeeeep. Get ready for years of NHL ready prospects, highly sought after talent to trade, and domination of the prospect leagues that feed the NHL club.

    I can’t stand the lockout, but when you look at our top talent and how young they are (I noticed nothing was in here about Hall coming down which is just bananas) it really does put into perspective how bright the Oilers future is.

  • Dawn

    When they’re looking to pare down the roster a bit, it stands to reason that they’d play the guys that are competing for a spot. Give them the chance to show their stuff. Then the guys that go down to Stockton know they got a fair shake and can feel good about the organization. What else are exhibition games for?