The Oklahoma City Barons are running into injury troubles, and have put out the call to Stockton for wingers Cameron Abney and Toni Rajala. Both men are recent Oiler draft picks–Rajala a 4th round pick in 2009 and Abney a 3rd rd selection, same year.
At 5.10, 163, Rajala is a longshot when he gets off the bus. However, the young man from Finland is very skilled and was having a terrific time in Stockton.
- Stockton Coach Matt Thomas: “He’s not a huge guy, but he’s got great speed and vision, and every time he has the puck you think he can do something with it. Size doesn’t mean that you are quick or smart, and Toni is both.”
Rajala is 14, 11-12-23 with the Thunder so far this season and had a fine year in the SM-Liiga last winter. He is a guy fans like me cheer for because the bias against his player type is enormous despite evidence that smaller players can be effective.
Abney is the exact opposite of Rajala. Abney’s size (6.05, 205) and ability to fight make him a prospect of note despite a limited arsenal as a hockey player.
The callups were made necessary after this past weekend, when Tyler Pitlick and Tanner House were both concussed, and Antti Tyrvainen suffered a broken wrist.
Neither callup would be considered a strong prospect, although I believe Rajala has a chance. The Barons begin a seven-game stretch away from home Wednesday in Cedar Park, Texas against the Texas Stars.