We’ve said our goodbyes to the good folks in Oklahoma City and hope the ties that bind keep us in touch over the years. In the fall, Oilers fans must make like the Joads and head to California and the Bakersfield Condors, next home of Edmonton’s AHL team. Before we go, let’s have a quick look back and the best rookie seasons by Oklahoma City Barons.
Justin Schultz 2012-13 (34GP, 18-30-48). Won all the
hardware despite being in the AHL for half a season. Schultz was
sensational—his linemates were certainly a factor—and the time in
Oklahoma with the Barons is his current pro highlight.
Jeff Petry 2010-11 (41GP, 7-17-24).
A defenseman drafted and developed to success under the Oiler flag
happens about as often as France wins a war, but Petry was and is the
Martin Marincin 2012-13 (69GP, 7-23-30).
Huge defender played lights out early, struggled middle and brought it
all home at the end of his rookie pro season. Offense no doubt got a boost from playing alongside Schultz for the early part of the season.
Taylor Fedun 2012-13 (70GP, 8-19-27).
A wonderful season from a brave defenseman. Fedun is a little shy on
size and footspeed for the NHL, but that hasn’t slowed him down and at
the AHL level he is/was outstanding. A real pleasure to watch in OKC.
- Jordan Oesterle 2014-15 (65GP, 8-17-25). College defender adjusted quickly to the pro game, using impressive speed to take playing time away from more established players. He had some issues without the puck, but was a worthy signing.
- Martin Gernat 2013-14 (57GP, 4-17-21). Tall, thin defender had a solid AHL debut, and showed improvement as the season went along. Spent 2014-15 in secondary role, injuries had impact.
- Colten Teubert 2010-11 (59GP, 4-13-17). Teubert didn’t develop as hoped, but he played a significant role for Todd Nelson’s teams, including a nice run during the 2012 playoffs.
- Dillon Simpson (71GP, 3-14-17). Cerebral defender duplicated his freshman college season, as he built slowly over the year and was taking on more responsibility by the end of the year.
David Musil 2013-14 (61GP, 2-10-12).
This may not look like an obvious choice, but Musil’s foot speed was a
legit concern entering his first year in the minors. For him to show so
well, and change so many minds, is impressive.
- Oscar Klefbom 2013-14 (48GP, 1-9-10). The man who may end up being the best of the Barons’ rookies had a less than spectacular offensive start. Then again, his value is a lot about defense. Either way, arrows up for the talented Swede since his rookie season.
- C Mark Arcobello 2010-11 (26GP, 11-11-22). One of the fabulous success stories of the Barons, Arcobello began his pro career on the lowest possible rung and rose to great heights. You could write a book.
L Toni Rajala 2012-13 (46GP, 17-28-45).
Undersized skill winger ripped it up and then was gone. Oilers granted him his release soon after Craig MacTavish took over, signalling they had no interest in him as an NHL prospect.
L Teemu Hartikainen 2010-11 (66GP, 17-25-42).
Fans didn’t really know what to expect—Harski was a big Finn but had no
draft pedigree—but he scored at evens and on the power play
and emerged as a solid prospect.
- R Andrew Miller 2013-14 (52GP, 8-26-34). I’ve always seen him as Arco 2.0 and damned if he didn’t have a nice AHL debut. His story is not yet written but a solid debut.
- L Hunter Tremblay 2011-12 (68GP, 16-15-31). Canadian college signing, he was impressive as an AHL rookie, scoring well for the Barons.
- C Milan Kytnar 2010-11 (78GP, 13-16-29). His scouting report called him a reliable two-way C who gave effort every shift. Another curious short-term run by a Euro prospect. There WERE a lot of these, one wonders if there was a disconnect.
- C Bogdan Yakimov 2014-15 (57GP, 12-16-28). Giant hockey player from Russia started slow but delivered a good second half, appears to have a bright future.
- L Phil Cornet 2010-11 (60GP, 7-16-23). Undersized winger with grit and some skill, he looked like a tweener and that’s what he was, but Cornet has enjoyed a nice career in pro hockey.
- R Tyler Pitlick 2011-12 (62GP, 7-16-23). Rugged forward always looks like an NHL player whenever I see him. Offensive and injury issues have had a major impact on his pro career.
- C Chris VandeVelde 2010-11 (67GP, 12-4-16). Big checking center never really did get a chance in the Oilers system, but did a lot of hard work in a defensive/pk role in OKC. Now an NHL player with the Philadelphia Flyers.
- Laurent Brossoit 2014-15 (53GP, 2.56 .918). He had a terrific rookie season in the AHL and may be a future NHL goalie. That’s a rare item.
- Olivier Roy 2010-11 (22GP, 2.77 .902). A pretty famous goalie based on his junior and international career, Roy had a solid if unspectacular AHL debut.
Note: Some players, like Anton Lander and Iiro Pakarinen, were not regarded as AHL rookies in the season they would have qualified for specific reasons relating to their GP in other leagues. For the purposes of this article, I’ve used the AHL qualifications of ‘rookie’ season.
- Goal: Laurent Brossoit
- LD: Oscar Klefbom
- RD: Justin Schultz
- C: Mark Arcobello
- L: Teemu Hartikainen
- R: Andrew Miller
I cheated a little (Marincin had the better rookie numbers but Klefbom wasn’t playing with Schultz) but this is a nice group. A little shy on bona fide forwards, but the first rounders were in the NHL. Sail on, Oklahoma City. We’ll remember you.