OKC ROOKIE PACK LED BY BLUE

Taylor Fedun heads a list of 6 AHL rookies who have played a significant role for the OKC Barons in the 2012-13 season. How many of these kids can be considered "legit" NHL prospects?

LEGIT

Martin Marincin (35, 3-10-13 +10) Started the season in outstanding fashion, owing (as we would find) much to his partner Justin Schultz. Since losing Schultz as his partner, Marincin has struggled and his offensive game has completely gone away (0-0-0 +2 in his last 10 games). Jonathan Willis’ article in December gave us the feeling that communication was possibly an issue:

  • OKC Coach Todd Nelson: "Marty has a long ways to go. He’s still, I think, a couple of years away. He has to mature physically as a man. You mentioned about the language skills; I think that’s important when as a coach you try to communicate with your players sometimes things get lost in translation. We have to learn from that as a coaching staff and we have to really slow things down and make sure Marty understands."

With his size, mobility and range of skills, the Oilers will no doubt be patient with the big man, possibly pairing him with countryman Martin Gernat (both were born in Kosice, Slovakia) on the OKC blue in the fall. Perhaps his most famous moment remains the hit against Team USA’s Jason Zucker at the 2011 WJ’s, and Marincin has some bite to his game that should make him popular when he arrives in Edmonton. Oiler fans should expect him to push for an NHL job toward the end of his entry level deal. 

LEGIT

Taylor Fedun (37, 2-7-9 -4) has come a long way in one season, after the horrible and idiotic non-hockey play by Eric Nystrom in September of 2011. Recently, Jason Strudwick wrote an outstanding article on Fedun and gave fans insight into Fedun as a player.

  • ON’S Strudwick: "He is a good skater that uses his skating to get him into a strong defensive position. He isn’t overly fast but he puts himself into the correct position to make a play with the puck first or take the man with his body when required. Learning where to be on the ice is something that takes time to develop. He seems to have a good grasp of that already. When you are in the right place on the ice as a play is developing you are never chasing the puck. Often, chasing the puck results in trouble."

We got a strong indication about the organization’s opinion of Fedun during training camp, where he was one of very few callups to the big club during the week or preparation.

EMERGING

Ryan Martindale (12, 2-5-7 +3) played in Stockton last season (aside from 16 pedestrian AHL games) but this year has shown some of the skills that appeared each fall in prospect and then training camp. Martindale has good size and the skill has always been there, but recent games have suggested he might be turning a corner (2-2-4 +1 in his last 4gp).

Toni Rajala (10, 3-2-5 E) was dominate early in the season with Stockton (29, 18-20-38) and has moved past a few wingers in the system during the season. When the NHLers got called up, Rajala stepped in on an offensive line and would have to be considered ahead of other prospects like Phil Cornet and the currently injured Tyler Pitlick. Rajala has done more than most any Oiler pro prospect to improve his standing in the organization during this season.

Kristians Pelss (7, 0-4-4 +2) keeps overcoming odds and at this point is certainly among the prospects Edmonton might use in the future as a role player. Pelss is a solid 2-way prospect with surprising skill, and is certainly a player to watch in the season’s second half.

Olivier Roy (15, 2.73 .899) has had an uneven debut as an AHL goalie (he was splendin in cups of coffee the last two seasons) but has settled down recently (.910SP in his last 7 games). Roy–like defender Marincin–is a long way from the NHL but has shown some signs of progress this season.

WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN?

Not everyone gets the wink–some of these kids won’t see the NHL.

  • 2010-11 OKC Barons rookies: Jeff Petry, Teemu Hartikainen, Mark Arcobello, Colten Teubert, Milan Kytnar, Phil Cornet, Chris VandeVelde, Jordan Bendfeld
  • 2011-12 OKC Barons rookies: Tyler Pitlick, Tanner House, Hunter Tremblay, Antti Tyrvainen, Curtis Hamilton, Kirill Tulupov, Ryan Lowery, Dan Ringwald, Cameron Abney

With the exception of Justin Schultz, among the 12-13 AHL rookies, we wait.

  • 916oiler

    Marincin has a goal and assist and is plus 2 as ok city plays in overtime.

    That puts him at 4-11 15 pts and plus 12.

    I just don’t see why oiler leaks to press keep knocking the kid.Six ft 5inchs and with an 100 mph slap shot he looks like manna from heaven for the oiler blue. In the future.

        • And Schultz is 22. Defensemen are in a parallel universe when it comes to development. Different metrics, different timelines, different expectations. Even when they make it and succeed at a young age (Tyler Myers, Doughty)they don’t necessarily progress in a straight line. I think both Doughty and Myers are exceptional but both had a set back or two. Doughty has bounced back – Myers hasn’t quite recovered just yet. Patience and timing. Tricky business.

        • Romulus' Apotheosis

          and @J

          are you objecting to the word “Kid” or the age whereby we consider a D young?

          “kid” seems like a harmless word that gets bandied around in sports to refer to people well past teenage years… treat it as a term of endearment more than some factual matter.

          And… 20 is VERY YOUNG for a PRO defenseman. Marincin made the biggest leap in hockey this year, from junior to pro. That is a very sharp learning curve.

          • CaptainLander

            I was challenging the inflection that Marincin was too old to be considered a kid/rookie due to his age (I may have misinterpreted the inflection). In other words, I agree with you. 20 years old for a defenseman is very young and anyone who succeeds as a pro defender at a younger age is exceptional.

  • 916oiler

    @oil leak

    Well if he has no defensive game it sure doesn’t show in his plus minus

    I watched most of the ok city games and I saw him make a few giveaways ,bad pinches and lose a few battles.but not many more than Schultz.

    He is after all just out of junior and should be considered the best prospect we have playing in OK.

  • Glad to see Toni Rajala has had a bounce back year. At the draft they said he could be the finnish patrick kane but made some bad decisions like leaving major junior to return home.

    Lets just hope he turns out to be 1/3 Kane and nothing like Omark.

  • CaptainLander

    I think eventually having fellow countryman Gernat all side him for a couple seasons of development will help. Hope Gernat can bounce back after the injury. Still like the idea of the the 2 Slovakian giants playing side by side.

    Will Gernat have another year in Jr after this one or does he get moved to OKC next?

  • Romulus' Apotheosis

    Can any of these players in OKC provide a physical dimension in Edmonton in the near future? The Oilers are as soft as butter right now and have to be trying to find some sandpaper somewhere and soon.

    I think we are going to start seeing liberties being taken pretty soon with our skill players. The top nine employs virtually no one with a physical dimension. Hartski can bang but he won’t go to the dance.

    Tonights going be a tough one, Kids are going to get pushed around tonight, and if Krueger continues his trend of not effectively matching lines, Richards and Kopitar are going to eat Gagner’s lunch. I am generally wrong on predictions, so the Oilers’s will probably win big…woohoo.