The last time we looked at the AHL-to-NHL pipeline through Oklahoma City, Jeff Petry was the only clear NHL calibre player to begin his pro career with the Barons. Has this improved since September?
In September, the list of Barons/former Barons who had played in the NHL looked like this:
Petry was the only “established” NHL player and the rest of the group appeared to be on the outside looking in. Hartikainen was in Russia, Omark was in no man’s land and the organization had kicked Chris VandeVelde to the curb.
The three new arrivals are in bold, and those with asterisks (all but Hartikainen, Cornet and Kytnar) have played at least one NHL game. We’ve seen some movement this season:
- Jeff Petry continues to establish himself as an NHL player
- Anton Lander has been building a resume for NHL employment with the Barons, and has played 12 more NHL games
- Linus Omark is on his second organization, this might be his final NHL chance
- Teemu Hartikainen has been traded to Toronto, and may get his second chance in the fall
- Chris VandeVelde caught on with the Flyers and has been used sparingly this season
- Mark Arcobello made a clear step forward this season and may have an NHL career
- Martin Marincin made his NHL debut and moved up the depth chart smartly. He may be here to stay
- Taylor Fedun played his first NHL games and Jon Willis has been sending back encouraging reports
- Tyler Pitlick looked better in the NHL than he did in the AHL, and then lost a substantial part of the season to injury
WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN?
We know prospects don’t develop in a straight line, and some of them meander in and out of traffic before arrival. In the previous three seasons, OKC Barons prospects played 372 games, or an average of 124 per season. That works out to about one and a half roster players per year (124 divided by 82).
So far this season — and there is some distance to go — the graduated Barons have played 166 NHL games, or just past 2 full roster players. It’s taken some time, but the hard work being done by Todd Nelson, his staff and these young hockey players is beginning to deliver NHL players.
As Jonathan mentioned in his article this morning, the organization must choose wisely in regard to waivers and roster spots. Craig MacTavish sent away Teemu Hartikainen, Linus Omark and Chris VandeVelde, and all found NHL interest. It’s likely Anton Lander, Tyler Pitlick and others will see similar results should it come to a waiver situation in the coming months.
(Marincin photo by Rob Ferguson, all rights reserved).