Minor league seasons are not measured on wins and losses, but rather on prospect development. How many kids took a step forward, how many ran in place, and how many are lagging? In OKC, the pace is brisk and most of the arrows are headed in a very good direction.


All of the impact players are playing well, as reflected in league scoring:

  • #1 Justin Schultz 15, 8-13-21
  • #2 Jordan Eberle 15, 6-13-19
  • #3 (tied) Ryan Nugent-Hopkins 14, 7-10-17

Taylor Hall (7, 3-3-6) isn’t among the league leaders but he got a late start and it is only a matter of time. Hall’s most recent games show he’s back to being a chance machine in the offensive zone and his shot total (19 in 7 games) is increasing. Schultz came highly touted, but I don’t think anyone thought he’d have this kind of impact on the AHL. For Eberle and the Nuge, the adjustment period is over and offensively they are certainly doing good things.


  • Magnus Paajarvi (15, 2-7-9) I think he’s recovering nicely from last season’s crisis of confidence and having a solid year. Although his NHL offense likely won’t put him on a scoring line, Paajarvi’s speed will create chances and he’s driving to the net with more authority (from what I’ve seen) this season.
  • Teemu Hartikainen (15, 4-8-12) is the star of this group so far this season. Big Finn has embraced the power forward role (he’s mentioned it several times in interviews) and he’s also impacting the game on the scoresheet. Hartikainen spent a lot of time with Nuge and Eberle in the season’s first 10 games, but did not get the job handed to him (it went to Paajarvi, then Green, and finally coach Nelson checked down to Hartikainen). At this point, I believe he’s earned his NHL ticket. Scored the first two goals in OKC Barons franchise history.
  • Martin Marincin (13, 2-4-6) has been impressive in his first full pro season (so far). Sure you’ll see some chaos and a few vapor lock passes, but rookies have been doing that for a hundred years. What I like about him is that he can already play at pace and makes a crisp head-man pass. He’ll need at least a year in OKC, but looks like a player. He may one day form part of a top 4 that will include Jeff Petry, Justin Schultz and Oscar Klefbom.
  • Taylor Fedun (14, 2-4-6) Took a few games to adjust, and I do think his footspeed is going to be an issue, but we can’t forget he’s coming back from a career altering injury. Fedun appears to be playing in more prominent spots for the Barons, taking on a veteran’s role despite his rookie status. I have no idea where he’ll land on the NHL depth chart when he arrives, but Fedun does have a nice range of skills.
  • Curtis Hamilton (11, 2-0-2) Winger isn’t getting the offensive push usually reserved for higher picks in year 2 of their entry level deal, but he is playing hard and doing good things on the depth lines. A new facet of his AHL game is the PK, something he did in his junior career. Hamilton scored a SH goal last night and should get more chances this year to show his stuff 4×5.
  • Tyler Pitlick (14, 0-2-2) He’s getting his chances (26 shots) and has rung iron a time or two, but Pitlick’s AHL career so far suggests he may end up being one of the "Kent Manderville All-Stars" who look like hockey players without actually scoring goals or being part of the offense.He could easily adept his skill set to a checking role, but will still need to impact the scoresheet.
  • Colten Teubert (15, 0-1-1) Playing a physical game and has been effective defensively. Teubert’s abilities are not reflected in the boxcars, but he is a defender coach Nelson relies on. His road to the NHL is blocked by Andy Sutton (injured), Theo Peckham and higher up the chain by Ladislav Smid and Nick Schultz. An NHL top 6D role for next season would appear to be waiting for him.
  • Anton Lander (11, 0-0-0) Its like he’s been cursed or something. Seriously, Lander has shown improved play recently, after being placed on a line with Paajarvi and Hartikainen. His scouting report was always backwards–it read like he was the son of Habs great defensive C Doug Jarvis–but as with Pitlick he’ll need to show more offensively if he hopes to make the NHL.
  • Olivier Roy (5, 3.05 .898) Roy has struggled so far this season, which shouldn’t be a surprise based on the lack of experience in front of him. That said, the young goalie has also had strong performances and should be capable of solid play this season for the Barons.

Men like Brandon Davidson, Ryan Martindale and Kristians Pelss have not been included, as they didn’t play enough games. These players are most certainly prospects and worth watching in the future.


  • Mark Arcobello (15, 5-4-9) He can play center or wing and is an effective even strength player. Arcobello is a long shot based on size, but he’s a battler and a smart hockey player. The Oilers 3rd and 4th lines have been a trainwreck for some time, so there’s a chance Arcobello could slide in there. He certainly will get noticed with his work ethic.
  • Dane Byers (15, 1-2-3) Has been a disappointment this season. Byers isn’t getting a push, but he’s also not able to provide veteran leadership and scoring to either depth line. Will need to show better as the season rolls along.
  • Chris VandeVelde (14, 0-3-3) The longer Lander goes without emerging, the longer NHL veterans like Eric Belanger keep struggling, the better the chances for VandeVelde. He is very long in the tooth for a prospect–he’ll turn 26 on the Ides of March–but he’s a good bet to see more NHL playing time soon and could have a career. The last remaining ember for the Oilers from the lockout (2005) draft.
  • Antti Tyrvainen (9, 1-0-1) Its funny. He entered the season as a guy whose truculence was badly needed, but at this point he’s a pim magnet who plays addled hockey. I don’t think that’s too harsh, and wonder about his future.
  • Tanner House (12, 1-0-1) If Chris VandeVelde is a poor man’s Shawn Horcoff–and he is–then Tanner House is one rung below on the Horcoff ladder. Smart 2-way players are a favorite of mine, but House is a long shot based on skill level and age. He also looked out of it last night after taking a vicious shot in a fight.
  • Alex Plante (11, 0-0-0) Wildly inconsistent play this season have many wondering if the concussions have taken a larger toll than first thought. Plante has not played well for long stretches this season, and the Barons badly need him to be better.
  • Yann Danis (11, 2.76 .914) Lots of chatter recently about the NHL kids finally delivering, but the truth is those guys were doing well from the start. Danis was not himself early in the year, certainly not at a level similar to last season. He is now, and the result has been an increase in W’s. I think he’ll come right to the NHL after the lockout.

Men like Josh Green and Jordan Henry should also be on this list, but didn’t play enough games for us to get a clear view. Hopefully, they’ll be ready for the next update.


If the lockout ended today, I would suggest the following players would be called up to the NHL roster:

  • G Yann Danis (as replacement for Nikolai Khabibulin)
  • D Justin Schultz
  • C Ryan Nugent-Hopkins
  • L Taylor Hall
  • R Jordan Eberle
  • R Teemu Hartikainen

Those 6 men would join Devan Dubnyk, Ladislav Smid, Ryan Whitney, Nick Schultz, Jeff Petry, Theo Peckham, Corey Potter, Sam Gagner, Shawn Horcoff, Eric Belanger, Ryan Smyth, Nail Yakupov, Ben Eager, Darcy Hordichuk, Ales Hemsky, Ryan Jones and Lennart Petrell as the 2012-13 Edmonton Oilers.

First callups: D Colten Teubert, L Magnus Paajarvi.

The Barons will send a solid goaltender, an amazing defense prospect and a big Finn who is having a fine season, along with the three impact kids who should hit the ice on the fly when the NHL resumes play. You can’t always get what you want, but the Oilers look like they’ll get a lot of what they need from OKC when the lights go on again.

  • Would really like to see Kristians Pelss get some AHL time, he’s lighting up the ECHL and is currently top five in scoring in that league..
    And man has Schultz ever looked good..he looks in control out there for the Barons kinda like Pronger did in his season with the Oilers, doesnt bring that physicality but with his positioning and puck moving skills he calms down the Powerplay unlike any Defenceman since CP.. Defensively hes always in position and he skates like Brian Leetch..
    Im enjoying the AHL so NHL season likely means another bottom five finish for the Oilers, at this point I’d rather have the young oilers core learn how to win in OKC than get used to losing in the NHL..

    • Wanyes bastard child

      I agree that Schultz is calm and has control as an offensive d-man. The fact that you would compare him to the “that player” is a little bit offensive. What I have seen in him is complete professionalism and a fine moral fabric, as we witnessed with the way that he handled his free agency signing. The class he had with phoning the other GM’s to let them know he was not interested, but would instead be going with Edmonton. Classy! How about a comparison with another Old Oiler, like Paul Coffey. Not CP. Wrong choice, sorry.

  • Lowetide

    I think the organization is very high on Pelss. Suspect they want him to have success in the ECHL and then get the call when injuries hit/after the lockout.

  • eastcoastoil

    Morning, LT is someone working on a article n the guys playing overseas?
    How’s Hemsky doing, stats look great but whats the competition like?
    How about gagner or the latest on klefboms injury?

    Is DD playing anywhere or for that matter is anyone else playing any where?

    • Lowetide

      I’ve been searching for updates on Klefbom but have nothing to report. I’ll update when I can. As for Gagner, Hemsky and others, its early to assess imo. Hemsky is off to a good start–and is healthy–but I’m not certain there’s a lot to be learned by looking into those numbers. He’s proven, so health is the only issue. Same for Smid, Gagner, etc.

      In fact, the story there imo is the lack of Oiler veterans who are playing in Europe. Dubnyk apparently had a deal but it feel through. That’ll be a huge story if the lockout ends, as Khabibulin is hurt, Dubnyk hasn’t played yet.

  • Wanyes bastard child


    I think you meant Toni Rajala, who is currently 4th in ECHL scoring (9G 12A in 13 games). Cornet is second in scoring in Stockton, while Pelss has 4 points in 7 games (2G 2A).

    I live fairly close to Stockton and go to as many games as possible. For me, it has been a treat to see the Oil prospects that have come through central California since the 06-07 season.

  • HardBoiledOil 1.0

    i wish they’d just leave Magnus, Lander, Teubert, Pitlick down there for the season whether or not the NHL restarts or not and let them continue to develop. big man VandeVelde has definitely earned at least a shot at 4th line center in my opinion. and just for fun, i’d give Arcobello a chance to make the team and see what he can do, although he is quite small and i don’t know where we have room for him? Yan Danis? meh. didn’t look so good as a fill in last year when he had a few periods to play.

  • Wanyes bastard child

    The more I read of these kids, the more I feel the Oilers tide is changing for the best, as like in the early eighties.

    The one other kid, Yakupov, has been phenomenal in the KHL as well as these in the AHL.

    I am only hanging on now to this upcoming season finally ever starting after the lockout because of these outstanding kid players for the Oilers.

    I know that this Oiler team will not win the Cupo this year, unless by miracle lol, but what other team in the NHL can promise the excitement level and potential that these kids and players possess.

    I can easily see in my mind of all the other arenas filling out with attendance when this Oilers team go to their cities just as Abbotsford did earlier this year in the AHL.

    Come on Bettman and Fehr, quit screwing around and lets get hockey going now!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Long time Ontario-born Oilers fan here. Long time reader, figured I should join in on the discussion.

    The prospect of a cold Dubnyk/Danis tandem terrifies me. What terrifies me even more is the likelyhood that it also terrifies management and their “WOW” trade ends up being for a man with a Vancouver address not named Schneider.

    With the defence having not really been improved on from last year (I know this Schultz kid is the real deal, but still a rookie), our young guns can get as many points as they like, without sured-up D or goaltending, we’re still basement dwellers.

    Other than that, totally stoked on OKC development right now.

    • Lowetide

      I’m not sure where he’ll land to be honest. I’ve mulled over a tough minutes line of Gagner-Hall-Hemsky and then a soft parade killer line of Nuge-Hartikainen-Eberle. That would mean Yakupov on a line with Horcoff and Smyth or Paajarvi.

  • I for one hope that something is done with Hemsky………that being traded. He has never demonstrated the ability to teach and mentor youngsters. His game is all about puck possession, trying to go end to end on every occasion………I’m not sure how this will impact Harti and Hall, but I suspect they will lose patience trying to hug the blue line while Hemsky tries to carry the play.

    I think that it is fantastic that he is healthy, but he is a better option on the third line with Horcoff and Jones. Neither one of those players can carry the play and don’t mind Hemsky being a one dimensional player.

    I would rather see Hall, Harti, and Gagner get a chance to gel.

  • Anton needs get away from the wrister he likes and to snap his shots off faster,more redirections,and deflections and snapshots,less getting set up and trying to use d-men as screens.Time to get terminal–everyones beaking about the offense so lets kick it up a notch.

    Use a give and go with MPS so he can get a non-contact 0-zone entry then as Harski ties up the d-men high in front of the net you bust to the low faceoff circle just about the spot you scored you first NHL goal from and to the right of the net,you will have an open net for the redirect every time–Lander is shifty and a good skater,he can hit that spot off the give and go all night long and MPS can hit that pass low and hard all night long,or top corner a shot.Just keep repeating the play all night exactly like that just have MPS alternate with hard low pass to you below the dot,then a hard low right post shot right in,then a top corner shot left side,the play needs to catalyse off of a non-contact o-zone entry for MPS via the give and go—if they try messing up the g/g then mix it up and have Harski bust the middle and give him a rebound that will keep them honest and allow the g/g zone entry.MPS will need to be responsible and willing to be aggressive when he does take shots,he is already a premier passer.Just repeat the same play till you fing the weak spot for 60 mins and theres your hattrick to bust out of the slump.You guys are lucky to have Harski who is a pro at owning realestate down the middle.Use that to your advantage play off of it because he is dominant there and consistant.Deflections and redirections,fast releases are the key to your adjustment,that will get rid of the goose.