Darnell Nurse and the Oklahoma City Barons take on Iowa tonight, and it’s a big game. The Barons are very close to securing a playoff spot—it could come tonight.
Jim Byers is the brilliant play-by-play guy on Barons broadcasts, and he gets the playoff picture into one tweet. The Barons (and the Oilers) no doubt want to get into the postseason so they can get these young hires (like Nurse) more game experience at a very good level.
Connor Jones and his brother Kellen (a 2010 draft pick, below. All photos by Rob Ferguson, all rights reserved) are adjusting to the new game and beginning their pro careers. Here’s a look at recent pickups and how they’re doing:
Greg Chase 3GP, 1-0-1 +2. Neal Livingston was on the Lowdown recently, and mentioned Chase several times, suggesting he had adjusted quickly and showed up for every shift. It’s been a long time since we’ve had such consistently glowing verbal about a player taken deep in the heart of the draft.
Darnell Nurse 3GP, 0-1-1 -3. The lords of television gave us a rare look at the Barons last weekend, Nurse was just starting his time in OKC. He looked mobile, lean and fast, but of course there’s a few lessons to be learned as well. He was certainly noticeable with the puck, and physical.
Jujhar Khaira 5GP, 0-0-0 -1. Neal talked at length about him and said “If you’re worried about foot speed, Khaira has no problems. He’s a quick skater,
he’s very fast and good on faceoffs. A really good center.”
- Connor Jones, 4GP, 0-0-0 -3.
- Kellen Jones 4GP, 0-0-0 -4.
Jorden Oesterele 3GP, 0-0-0 -1. Neal told me Oesterle looks well ahead of the curve, and this his foot speed
and stickhandling are good, but he’ll need to work on decision making
and knock off some rust. As with all kids moving to pro, strength and
winning battles is going to be an issue.
Byers followed up with a tweet saying the Barons have had over 150 transactions this season. To have that much movement and retain such a large number six months later is incredible. There’s no way of knowing if it’s record-breaking but it’s a good guess that it is an all-time record.
There are a lot of players who are RFA this summer and these weeks may mark their final days as Oilers prospects. Anton Lander, Curtis Hamilton, Roman Horak, Andrew Miller and Richard Bachman are all restricted. Capgeek lists Taylor Fedun, Steve MacIntyre and Steve Pinizzotto as unrestricted free agents.
The Oilers early exits each spring have afforded me an opportunity to follow these youngsters in their time in OKC, and I’ll be updating their success this spring.
The club can help itself in a big way with a win tonight.