Fans of the Oklahoma City Barons are having fun this TC, as some of the Barons’ forwards from last season are looking to make the grade. The minor leagues, wearing high numbers, see a window of opportunity and are making the most of it. Let’s have a look at how things are going.
BARONS’ FORWARDS WITH A CHANCE
- C Anton Lander—Swedish center is scoreless in one pre-season game, but his one-way deal suggests Edmonton sees him as a part of the team. Lander will have to fight back some impressive youngsters (Yakimov, Khaira) but is looking good right now. Chances of making Oilers: 80%.
- R Tyler Pitlick—He’s always looked like a hockey player, and so far this TC he’s delivered the goods. Offense is never going to be a strength, so he’s going to be limited in where he bats in the order. Opportunity is knocking and Pitlick appears to be answering. Chances of making Oilers: 50%.
- R Steve Pinizzotto—Big winger came over last season in return for Ryan Martindale, and saw action a year ago. Chances of making Oilers: 20%.
- C Will Acton—Among the group who offer penalty killing ability and toughness, Acton is also a center and well known to coach Dallas Eakins. Sometimes that’s enough, Acton certainly is in the mix for employment. Chances of making Oilers: 15%.
- R Andrew Miller—Easy to forget about him, but these college men have been trumping the draft picks lately, no reason to expect Miller will be a shy butterfly. His improvement year over year is obvious. Chances of making the Oilers: 10%.
- L Curtis Hamilton—Impressed the other night when he jumped up to the top line, and the best news of the year is that his career has any good arrows at all. If he makes it, Hamilton could write a book about overcoming obstacles. Chances of making the Oilers: 10%.
- L Kale Kessy—His improvement is one of the major stories in this year’s camp, and Kessy’s emergence offers the Oilers some options they may not have expected to be available. Chances of making the Oilers: 5%.
- C Jujhar Khaira—Big man is impressive and his time will come. Offense the concern, suspect he answers those questions yes or no in OKC. Chances of making the Oilers: 2%.
I’m counting Arcobello as an NHL player, Joensuu didn’t play in the AHL and I don’t think guys like Ryan Hamilton have any chance at all. You may recall Hamilton playing NHL games early one year ago. I’ll have a look at the blue later today.
DRAFT PICKS STATS UPDATE
- R Anton Slepyshev(KHL) 10GP, 1-3-4
- C Kyle Platzer (OHL) 2GP, 0-3-3
- C Bogdan Yakimov (NHL PS) 2GP, 1-1-2
- C Leon Draisaitl (NHL PS) 2GP, 0-1-1
- D Darnell Nurse (NHL PS) 2GP, 0-1-1
- C Liam Coughlin (BCJHL) 3GP, 1-0-1
- C Marco Roy (QMJHL) 1GP, 0-0-0
- R Jackson Houck (WHL) 1GP, 0-0-0
- C Greg Chase (WHL) 1GP, 0-0-0
- D Ben Betker (WHL) 0GP, 0-0-0
- G Keven Bouchard (QMJHL) 1GP, 12.84 .688
Slepyshev is off to a nice start, and Platzer is showing well. We didn’t talk a lot about him during the Young Stars, but Platzer looked very good from here. His skills are more two-way than offensive, but the Oilers are going to need 6’s and 7’s in the future. Well placed to get a contract and turn pro next fall. Yakimov is a revelation, and the junior pair have been impressive, although Tkachev is getting a lot of the attention.
The party is just getting started, I’ll try to update every Saturday morning as the season rolls.
PROJECTED OILERS OPENING NIGHT ROSTER (23 plus Gazdic)
|LEFT WING (4)||CENTER (5)||RIGHT WING (5)|
|TAYLOR HALL||RYAN NUGENT-HOPKINS||JORDAN EBERLE|
|BENOIT POULIOT||LEON DRAISAITL-rookie||DAVID PERRON
||MARK ARCOBELLO||TEDDY PURCELL
|MATT HENDRICKS||BOYD GORDON|| TYLER PITLICK
|LUKE GAZDIC (IR)
||ANTON LANDER|| KEVIN WESTGARTH
|LEFT DEFENSE (4)||RIGHT DEFENSE (3)|
|MARTIN MARINCIN||JEFF PETRY|
|NIKITA NIKITIN||MARK FAYNE|
|ANDREW FERENCE||JUSTIN SCHULTZ|
I don’t think Aulie makes the roster based on what we know currently, and Klefbom won’t make it as 7D because the Oilers will want him to play every night (I’d keep Klefbom, for the record). I think the Oilers keep Nurse, giving him a couple of starts a week to see if he can grab a job before sending him down later in October/early November for his WJ experience.
I have Westgarth as 14F, but Kessy, Hamilton and others may push hard enough for that roster spot to make it interesting late. Don’t count out Will Acton, and Bogdan Yakimov has a story to tell as well.