The Barons lost last night but enjoyed long stretches of outstanding play and might have deserved a better fate. Toni Rajala (in photo, courtesy Rob Ferguson all rights reserved) is 9 games into his AHL season and is 3-2-5–those boxcars put him ahead of all forward prospects not named Anton Lander.
- Arcobello-Green-Cornet: Two veterans and the guy they sent to Stockton after he led the club in scoring one year ago. Cornet hasn’t looked like much, but then again neither has Green. Arco has been stellar.
- Lander-Rajala-Pelss: This line was outstanding last night top to bottom. Rajala is clearly skilled enough at this level and Pelss has some grit to his game combined with some ability. Lander should be the best prospect on the club and has looked better in recent days.
- Martindale-Byers-Pitlick: Martindale scored his first AHL goal last night and Pitlick made a brilliant pass to him. Pitlick was awful on the PP though and overall I’d say he was a net minus on the night. Byers joins Green as a veteran who needs to be better.
- VandeVelde-Hamilton-Lizon: VV remains consistent although an offensive black hole, Hamilton has improved his lot in life because of PK opportunities but is miles from the player estimated by draft number. I think it comes down to desire: if he doesn’t start showing something we won’t be talking about him as a prospect. Lizon had a terrific set of shifts in last night’s game, first time I liked him.
- Deck-Fedun: Strange tandem and yet it works. Fedun has established himself as a real callup option for the Oilers. Deck is a guy I’d like them to sign in the spring.
- Lafranchise-Teubert: Teubert had a chance here but didn’t take advantage. Had he been more able the Oilers might have acquired an AHL veteran and elevated Teubert. As it turned out, they acquired Fistric and left Teubert in the AHL. He needs to establish himself at this level.
- Hotham-Marincin: I think they’ll push the prospect up the depth chart at some point this season but am pleased they have him in a depth role. Defense is a tough position to learn and this guy has potential. Hotham has been one of many additions, its kind of a blur at this point.
- Roy: He’s going to get a nice run with Danis in the NHL, this is a real opportunity.