It’s opening night for the Oklahoma City Barons, and there are some new prospects about to enter the pro game. The Oilers 2014-15 crop of AHL rookies includes Bogdan Yakimov, Dillon Simpson, Jujhar Khaira and Iiro Pakarinen.
The Oilers have been sending their prospects to Oklahoma City (and Todd Nelson) since 2010. It’s interesting to see the AHL rookies by year:
- 2010-11: Jeff Petry, Mark Arcobello, Linus Omark, Teemu Hartikainen, Chris Vande Velde, Milan Kytnar, Phil Cornet, Colten Teubert, Jordan Bendfeld.
- 2011-12: Anton Lander, Tyler Pitlick, Curtis Hamilton, Hunter Tremblay, Tanner House, Antti Tyrvainen, Ryan Martindale, Cameron Abney
- 2012-13: Justin Schultz, Martin Marincin, Taylor Fedun, Toni Rajala, Brandon Davidson, Olivier Roy
- 2013-14: Oscar Klefbom, David Musil, Martin Gernat, Travis Ewanyk, Andrew Miller, Kale Kessy, Laurent Brossoit.
Todd Nelson has been sending some splendid defensemen north over the years (Petry, Schultz, Marincin, Klefbom, others) and some interesting role players up front (Arcobello, Lander, Omark, Vande Velde). The Barons haven’t produced a top six forward for the NHL club, but the Oilers have been drafting in the top 5 for much of the Barons history (from 2010 through 2014: No, 1, No. 1, No. 1, No. 7, No. 3) and those kids don’t play AHL hockey.
Jordan Oesterle. All Barons’ photos by Rob Ferguson, rights reserved.
THIS YEAR’S ROOKIES
- D Jordan Oesterle—Played four AHL games last season after his college career ended. Oesterle was very impressive in Oilers camp this fall and could be a real find.
- D Dillon Simpson—Versatile player spent his college career at UND and improved markedly every year. The Oilers pro depth chart is teeming with defensive prospects, it will be interesting to see where Simpson lands.
- C Jujhar Khaira—Big center hung around main camp until very late, and indication management likes him. Khaira is one of the rookies who could pass veteran prospects and find a feature role on this year’s Barons.
- C Bogdan Yakimov—The marquee prospect in OKC this season, the big Russian passed pretty much everyone during training camp and damn near landed an NHL job. There are things to work on—speed and getting used to the ice NA ice surface—but he’s going to play in the NHL.
- R Iiro Pakarinen—Impressed during training camp and should have a large role with the Barons right off the hop. He scored well in Finland, if he can score he Pakarinen will get a shot.
- L Mitchell Moroz—Sent out from TC early on, Moroz should get a push during the season. Craig MacTavish has expectations that involve rookie pro’s playing regular shifts, which should benefit Moroz. He has to earn the time, though.
VETERANS WITH AN NHL CHANCE
AHL veterans who could see a callup this year include Anton Lander, Tyler Pitlick, Steve Pinizzotto, Keith Aulie, David Musil and Martin Gernat. I think Martin Marincin is in a different category—NHL defenseman waiting for a trade to get him back to the show—and Richard Bachman gets a call if there’s an injury in goal.
VETERANS WITH WORK TO DO
I’ll count Curtis Hamilton, Kale Kessy, Andrew Miller and Travis Ewanyk in this category, although Ewanyk’s problems are less performance related and more getting run over by Yakimov and Khaira graduating to pro hockey.
BARONS SCORING (RE) 2014-15
|R MATT FORD||66||26||26||52|
|C BOGDAN YAKIMOV-rookie||64||22||23||45|
|R ANDREW MILLER||65||14||30||44|
|D BRAD HUNT||57||7||33||40|
|C JASON WILLIAMS||60||15||21||36|
|L RYAN HAMILTON||56||15||17||32|
|L IIRO PAKARINEN-rookie||60||17||14||31|
|L MITCHELL MOROZ-rookie||70||15||15||30|
|L CURTIS HAMILTON||60||13||15||28|
|R STEVE PINIZZOTTO||57||11||17||28|
|D MARTIN GERNAT||64||5||20||25|
|C JUJHAR KHAIRA-rookie||57||7||16||23|
|C WILL ACTON||44||6||17||23|
|L JESSE JOENSUU||35||10||11||21|
|C TRAVIS EWANYK||61||6||10||16|
|R MITCH HOLMBERG-rookie||35||7||7||14|
|D BRANDON DAVIDSON||65||4||10||14|
|D DILLON SIMPSON-rookie||50||3||11||14|
|L KELLEN JONES-rookie||28||3||9||12|
|L JOSH WINQUIST-rookie||35||7||4||11|
|D C.J. LUDWIG-rookie||35||3||7||10|
|C CONNOR JONES-rookie||28||2||8||10|
|D DAVID MUSIL||70||1||9||10|
|D GRAEME CRAIG-rookie||40||2||6||8|
|D JORDAN OESTERLE-rookie||50||1||6||7|
|D OSCAR KLEFBOM||25||0||5||5|
|L KALE KESSY||30||2||2||4|
That’s how I see things breaking down this season. Thoughts?
Barons are tied 1-1, tied it up on the PP. Ryan Hamilton with his first from the Finn Pakarinen.
NATIONDRAFTS IS BACK!
The NationDrafts charity pool is back! Once again, it’s time to flex your hockey brain, build a championship team, and take a run at some fantastic prizes. The cost to enter NationDrafts is $20, and a portion of all proceeds will be going to help the Inner City Children’s Program. To enter the pool, head over to nationdrafts.com and build your championship team from the boxes provided. Seems easy enough, right? Prove it! Internet infamy awaits you.