The Oklahoma City Barons take to the ice tonight in their home opener against San Antonio. After a week of hearing about a lack of offense, impact kids Jordan Eberle and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins get another chance to impact the AHL. My guess? It’s going to be real and its going to be spectacular.
They’re giving away a Dodge Challenger tonight (this one is from the 1971 movie "The Vanishing Point") and coach Todd Nelson is moving the team’s best AHL veteran (Josh Green) onto a line with Eberle and Nuge. I suspect the PP will be the area where the two kids make their mark tonight and in the AHL in general: more space, elite level passing and a terrific finisher in Eberle.
WHY DIDN’T THEY DOMINATE LAST WEEKEND?
Oilers and Barons management decided the two kids didn’t need a pre-season, and I think the rust shown a week ago probably impacted their timing. Although the duo got a lot of chances, a hot goalie and lack of timing was enough to keep them at zero’s in Cleveland.
Tonight, it’s a home game and Nugent-Hopkins and Eberle have some games behind them. The team has two weekend games and another on Tuesday, so there should be a chance to get things rolling in the next few days.
WHAT ABOUT THE OTHERS?
The club’s youngsters had a nice offensive weekend in Cleveland, with Justin Schultz and Ryan Martindale at a point per game pace currently. The OKC scoring numbers are here. I’ve had a chance to talk to Jim Byers many times over the last couple of years, and believe me he’s an excellent source. You can tune in and hear him live (listening options are here) and his game notes are always worthwhile.
I could post a photo of Jim here, but my guess is he’ll agree I made the correct photo choice in this case.
Projected Lineups as per Eric Rodgers:
WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN?
The Oklahoma City Barons have a lot of firepower. They are at home and two incredibly gifted young men were held pointless in their first two games. The law of averages suggests we’re going to see some offense from Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Jordan Eberle.