OKLAHOMA FOR THE WINTER

khaira ferguson3

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.

yakimov young stars

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. 

oesterle ferguson

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. 

Klefbom ferguson

    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

    NAME GP G A PTS
    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? 

    Update: Boxscore for the game is here.

    Barons are tied 1-1, tied it up on the PP. Ryan Hamilton with his first from the Finn Pakarinen.

    NATIONDRAFTS IS BACK!

    NationDrafts

    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.

      • Lowetide

        Any team Todd Nelson coaches overachieves. He’s an excellent coach, I think the Oilers have given him a better group this season. Suspect they’ll make the playoffs and have a run.

    • Jayz

      I would pay a subscription fee or something so that I could have access to all the Baron games. I’m sure I’m not alone in this. In a perfect world the funds raised would go straight to the team and management and make our farm team the most attractive to play for.

      I’m sure there’s some competition rule against it but still, there should be perks for playing on the farm team in a hockey crazzed market.

    • Lowetide

      It is so great and even exciting to finally see actual good to great NHL prospects being on the Barons for a change than seeing AHL fillers/vets more than prospects. Totally awesome!!!

      I am looking forward to seeing the challenges and breakthroughs of many of the kids, especially those like Yakimov, Khaira, Moroz, Brossoitt, Kessy, Musil, Simpson, etc.

      I will be following this team more this year than in years past. of course, I do wish to say that Nelson is an excellent coach and developer and with that said, I see a definite playoff push and some very good injury call-ups to help out the Oilers when necessary.

      Finally, I hope Nelson gets Marancin going as soon as can be because to me he is another important piece to the Oil defence big time this year/ and in years to come.

      Go Barons!!!!!!

    • Do what Weight did?

      Is Nelson training a successor? If Eakins gets the boot this year (not saying should/shouldn’t, just that it’s possible) then I’d expect Ramsey to take over and Nelson to join as assistant. I feel he should be called up before someone else offers him a job in the NHL.