GOODBYE, OKLAHOMA

Tonight at the Cox Center in Oklahoma City, the Barons begin their final act as a franchise. The Edmonton Oilers will move lock, stock and two smoking barrels to Bakersfield for next season, leaving behind a dedicated fan base, a substantial blogging community, and the memories of a fascinating period in Oilers history. All we have left is the postseason, and that begins tonight.

In their first season, I followed young Finn Teemu Hartikainen with great interest, while also being shocked and impressed with Colin McDonald and his 42 goals. Reports of Linus Omark’s wizardry flooded north, and I think we knew early on in that season that Jeff Petry was going to be a bona fide NHL defender. We got a glimpse of some guy named Mark Arcobello that season and Colten Teubert came over in time to play 20 games right at the end of year year. That was 2010-11.

In year two, I listened to Jim Byers’ fabulous delivery of the play-by-play as Tyler Pitlick and Curtis Hamilton turned pro and began the long journey to NHL action. Arcobello and Hartikainen continued to progress, while Magnus Paajarvi was sent down from Edmonton to get his game back. The leading scorer that season, Ryan Keller, had a good year but did not get a callup to the NHL. Josh Green, also having a good year, did receive a call. Todd Nelson began to emerge as a legit coaching prospect and Rocky Thompson made a name for himself, too. That was 2011-12.

Year three was the lockout season, with the young NHL kids spending time in the minors and Justin Schultz playing his first pro games. Toni Rajala had a tremendous season after being called up to OKC and defenders Martin Marincin and Taylor Fedun impressed as well. Alex Plante, once a prominent prospect and a sign of hope for the future, played his final games as an Oilers prospect in the spring. That was 2012-13.

In the fourth season, Anton Lander showed for the first time in North America that he could do enough offensively to find a way. Oscar Klefbom led a trio of defenders (David Musil, Martin Gernat) making their NA pro debuts in their journey toward the NHL, and Klefbom showed tremendous growth during that first season. Brad Hunt came over as a free agent and was exactly ridiculous as an offensive defender. Laurent Brossoit came over from the Flames organization and made his debut as an Oilers prospect, Andrew Miller began walking in Arcobello’s footsteps and the Pitlick/Hamilton train sputtered along. That was 2013-14.

In the final year, Laurent Brossoit began to emerge as a bona fide NHL prospect. Brad Hunt continued to be a dominant player at this level and Andrew Miller showed he had NHL potential. We didn’t know much about Iiro Pakarinen but soon learned he was a crowd favorite and a real NHL prospect. Tyler Pitlick played well enough to earn another NHL recall and Hamilton would get one later in the season. Youngsters like Bogdan Yakimov, Jordan Oesterle, Josh Winquist, Dillon Simpson, Jujhar Khaira and Mitchell Moroz all made their pro debuts and began the long journey to the world’s best league.

When I was young, the minor leagues were lines and lines and lines of boxcars. The names of the towns (Rochester, Hershey, Fort Wayne, Omaha) and the outstanding players who remained in the minors were never going to get famous, but the men who made their way to the NHL did so by competing in those towns and against those men.

NHL players who have been developed since the Barons arrived in OKC? It depends on how you measure it, depends on your ‘line in the sand’ for success. Here are the prospects who passed through Oklahoma territory and their NHL GP since 2010:

  1. Jeff Petry 314
  2. Magnus Paajarvi 228
  3. Justin Schultz 203
  4. Colin McDonald 138
  5. Anton Lander 132
  6. Mark Arcobello 119
  7. Chris VandeVelde 118
  8. Martin Marincin 85
  9. Linus Omark 79
  10. Oscar Klefbom 77
  11. Teemu Hartikainen 52
  12. Will Acton 33
  13. Tyler Pitlick 27
  14. Colten Teubert 24
  15. Iiro Pakarinen 17
  16. Brad Hunt 14
  17. Brandon Davidson 12
  18. Taylor Fedun 11
  19. Andrew Miller 9
  20. Jordan Oesterle 6
  21. David Musil 4
  22. Darnell Nurse 2
  23. Phil Cornet 2
  24. Bogdan Yakimov 1
  25. Laurent Brossoit 1
  26. Curtis Hamilton 1
  27. Tyler Bunz 1
  28. Milan Kytnar 1

Five years, 28 names. The last Oklahoma City Barons player to retire from the NHL? It might be Klefbom and he should be wrapping up his career around 2033 or so. Thank you, Oklahoma City. We enjoyed your company and we will not forget you.

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433 Responses to "GOODBYE, OKLAHOMA"

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  1. Woodguy says:

    striatic: Not sure you want to cross that Rubicon when it opens up the possibility of a McDavid offer sheet.

    Unspoken rules, mutually assured destruction and all that.

    Plus there just isn’t and won’t be the cap space. Offer sheet contracts are huge.

    D will need to be addressed in a more clever, cheaper fashion. Diamond in the rough stuff. Giordano like witchcraft.

    McDavid never hits July 1 without a contract until he’s 29 and maybe not even then.

    He’ll play out his ELC then get an 8 year contract and it will be done long before anyone can sheet him.

  2. LMHF#1 says:

    Woodguy: 50 man serves the players.

    Doesn’t allow a player to get permanently “lost” in a team’s system, but forces teams make decisions on players in order to give them opportunity elsewhere.

    Lots of stories of NHL caliber players not getting a shot because they pissed off the wrong guy back in the sponsorship era.

    Also limits the number in the profession and squeezes a bunch of fringe players into AHL or less deals though.

    I get it in the pre-free agency era as a gripe, but it doesn’t help the players anymore.

  3. hunter1909 says:

    McDavid Miracle aside, the promotion of Nicholson/imminent hiring of Chiarelli can mean only one thing: The end of the Lowe/MacT Axis of incompetence.

    Alcoholics run deep in this Irishman’s family tree. Alcohol post-trauma condition appears to finally overtaken long serving Oilers player/coach/GM MacT…leaving “He of the Bold Moves” and “Taking Responsibility for the Eakins Fiasco” etc basically paralyzed to act in the face of the upcoming season, even talking like he’s standing pat.

    Mr Katz has finally come to his senses. A brand new arena cannot work without a competitive team. Mr. Katz finally has decided to blow the final whistle on this three pope long Tag Team of Dynasty(lottery) Proportions. The promotion of Nicholson, with his first hiring being Chiarelli will seal it.

    McDavid + Lowe/MacT gone = Christmas+New Year’s+Klondike Days+Birthday for Oiler fans.

  4. VanOil says:

    RexLibris: Man, I’d forgotten about Schultz.

    That changes his standing on the team in a hurry.

    Recall how WG said he wanted Schultz to get the Yandle treatment.

    My witty retort was “trade him to the Rangers for a 1st round pick?”

    Now…I wonder if it isn’t at least possible.

    My guess would be that it is possible to find a GM that values Jultz over Marincin. Jultz + Pits 1st or 2016 first should be able to return a competent ride sided defender. Nurse and Klefbom provide better passing ability and player like Patrik Hersley can provide a PP bomb.

    Jutlz + 2016 1st for Adam Larsson and NJ 2016 2nd would make me almost McDavid giddy.

    edit: i did love your witticism

  5. Pouzar says:

    spoiler: From ESPN’s comprehensive guide to analytics..In 2014, the Bruins promoted long-time front office staffer Ryan Nadeau into the role of director of hockey operations/analytics, and general manager Peter Chiarelli has long been a hockey analytics advocate.The Bruins and Minnesota Wild were the first two organizations to start using Sydex Sports’ PUCKS analysis software, signing on with the company in 2007. That number has now grown to 18 teams. The primary focus of the PUCKS software is charting scoring chances and their respective categories — who created the chance, who the opposition was, where on the ice it took place and the quality of the chance. The overarching term Sydex uses is shot value.Since the start of that 2007 season, the Bruins have had a Corsi for percentage of 52.3 percent, the highest among Eastern Conference teams.………………….That’s a welcome sign.

    Nice find thx.

    Now back to the narratives.

  6. Kool Aid Olive says:

    t’s ramping up!

    Oilers staffing conference call @ 9am MT

    Bobby Mac and Craig Button both tweeting ‘significant’ changes to be made.

    That deserves a Mr Burns Excellent: Exxxxcellent.

  7. frjohnk says:

    With Chiarelli coming here, he wont be looking at this upcoming year as a “developmental year”

    He will know that the expectation is not a bottom 5 finish, but competing for the playoffs.

    Cause if the expectation is to not compete for the playoffs, then its just a continuation of the status quo and this is all for nought.

    Now we can debate whether or not this team is close to competing, but with McDavid, with Chiarelli and +?, there will now be added pressure to compete.

    So this means that everyone, except McDavid is on the table.

    Chiarelli has absolutely no attachment to any of the core players and prospects.

    Could Hall be traded? Yes
    Could RNH? Yes
    Could Nurse be traded? Yes

    Maybe there are two trades and leaving the Oilers is Hall, Draisaitl, Pitts pick and coming back is a number 2 D man, another number 2 D man, a young goalie that is a possible starter and a young gritty winger who pots 20 goals.

    For the above trade, maybe we get more or less, that’s not what Im looking at here in this example, it’s just that I see Chiarelli more willing to change things up to make this team more able to compete this year.

    More likely a prospect like Draisaitl is gone, but a blockbuster is not out of the question.

    I also believe he would be more willing to get rid of the guys that have boat anchors of contracts. Im looking at you Nikita.

    Everyone and everything is on the table, boys.

    He is gonna want to put his stamp on this team, which will basically be graded on how quickly this team turns north and how competitive it is.

    To me, this is exciting, scary but necessary.

  8. Ca$h-Money! says:

    VanOil:

    Jutlz + 2016 1st for Adam Larsson and NJ 2016 2nd would make me almost McDavid giddy.

    edit: i did love your witticism

    Of course it would, that would be an incredibly lopsided trade. It won’t happen, New Jersey has no reason to take that deal. If they move Larsson, and I don’t think they will, it will be for a forward of note.

    I could see Schultz as part of a package to Ottawa for a defenceman and a goalie. They undervalue Wiercioch so maybe Schultz + + for Wiercioch and one of Anderson/Lehner would be possible. Not sure what the + + would have to be but it wouldn’t be light.

  9. Kool Aid Olive says:

    Pouzar: Nice find thx.

    Now back to the narratives.

    I remember Doug Wilson on Stauffer’s show, Stauffer asked him if analytics would be a route the Sharks would consider taking. Doug Wilson said they’d been doing it for years anyway, but refused to be drawn at exactly what they looked at. He also said the tricky part is separating the wheat from the chaff, which is a good analogy. Everything is relevant in the growing, but only the wheat is pertinent in the end.

  10. Kool Aid Olive says:

    frjohnk:
    With Chiarelli coming here, he wont be looking at this upcoming year as a “developmental year”

    He will know that the expectation is not a bottom 5 finish, but competing for the playoffs.

    Cause if the expectation is to not compete for the playoffs, then its just a continuation of the status quo and this is all for nought.

    Now we can debate whether or not this team is close to competing, but with McDavid, with Chiarelli and +?, there will now be added pressure to compete.

    So this means that everyone, except McDavid is on the table.

    Chiarelli has absolutely no attachment to any of the core players and prospects.

    Could Hall be traded? Yes
    Could RNH? Yes
    Could Nurse be traded? Yes

    Maybe there are two trades and leaving the Oilers is Hall, Draisaitl, Pitts pick and coming back is a number 2 D man, another number 2 D man, a young goalie that is a possible starter and a young gritty winger who pots 20 goals.

    For the above trade, maybe we get more or less, that’s not what Im looking at here in this example, it’s just that I see Chiarelli more willing to change things up to make this team more able to compete this year.

    More likely a prospect like Draisaitl is gone, but a blockbuster is not out of the question.

    I also believe he would be more willing to get rid of the guys that have boat anchors of contracts.Im looking at you Nikita.

    Everyone and everything is on the table, boys.

    He is gonna want to put his stamp on this team, which will basically be graded on how quickly this team turns north and how competitive it is.

    To me, this is exciting, scary but necessary.

    Let’s er, just cool the jets a little. It’s going to be an exciting day, for sure. We will have a better idea by lunch, I think. Chiabread would indeed be foolish to come straight in and trade everybody with little or no evaluation.

  11. Kool Aid Olive says:

    Ca$h-Money!: Of course it would, that would be an incredibly lopsided trade.

    I know! NJ would have to add to that for a D with Norris potential!

  12. Kool Aid Olive says:

    BTW, I’m posting a lot because I have Fridays off and guess who’s turn it is to get up with the brats?

    So you lucky bastards have the pleasure of my inane drivel. Deal with it, bitttt-chez!

  13. season not played says:

    Woodguy: Pretty sure he’s damaged goods now.

    I think he really improved drafting.

    There is very little evidence that suggests MacTavish improved the drafting.

  14. Pouzar says:

    I think we will know what’s up shortly after the 9AM internal meeting and sometime before the presser.
    Will be some peed off employees.

  15. Ca$h-Money! says:

    Pouzar:
    I think we will know what’s up shortly after the 9AM internal meeting and sometime before the presser.
    Will be some peed off employees.

    Yup. Social media sure is fun.

  16. Yeti says:

    frjohnk: To me, this is exciting, scary but necessary.

    Indeed. Bold moves, one might say.

  17. Kool Aid Olive says:

    I forgot why I don’t use Sportsnet.ca anymore. Doug MacLean yapping about how he’d run the Oilers and how Chiapets should jump on any job offer. I think there’s a reason he’s a very borderline analyst still. One I hope Rogers is looking long and hard at.

    It’s a shame, Bobby Mac would be awesome anchoring for whoever has the TV rights.

  18. Southern Oil says:

    Pouzar:
    I think we will know what’s up shortly after the 9AM internal meeting and sometime before the presser.
    Will be some peed off employees.

    Have they announced what time the presser is yet?

  19. Kool Aid Olive says:

    Nothing up yet on Oiler’s twitter feed about a media avail. Must be having Denny’s before coming to the office.

  20. Kool Aid Olive says:

    Connor McDavid Home Oilers Jersey, $138 @ coolhockey.com, $199 at e-bay. Enterprising scallywags, aren’t they!

  21. Kool Aid Olive says:

    LT, you awake yet? What’s the word on the street?

  22. Pouzar says:

    Southern Oil: Have they announced what time the presser is yet?

    9AM MT

    EDIT: 9AM is the internal meeting…not sure about presser

  23. Kool Aid Olive says:

    Pouzar: 9AM MT

    That’s the Oilers internal conference call @ 9am MT as per Bob M. Would imagine it’ll be a one way conversation, so roughly about lunchtime we’ll know all.

  24. Kool Aid Olive says:

    There’s going to be a lot of sphincter tightening between now and 9am on Kingsway…..

  25. Southern Oil says:

    Spector tweets what we have all known – but somewhat more official now.
    BREAKING: Former POHO Kevin Lowe moves out of hockey dep’t in EDM, retains role on business side of Oilers Entertainment Group.

  26. Unicorns says:

    No team will let a good player go that they want via offer sheet. Salaries and structure are too limited now. You can’t offer 18 years with massive front loading to cash flow strap a team.

    It can be used to damage another team (which brings in to play another level behind the scenes) because they might match and have to lose lesser assets to free up cap or cash if they internally cap.

    Or you could try to pry a mid level player out they won’t match, but then you create your own cap problem. This is why they are so rare.

  27. Pouzar says:

    Southern Oil: Spector tweets what we have all known – but somewhat more official now.BREAKING: Former POHO Kevin Lowe moves out of hockey dep’t in EDM, retains role on business side of Oilers Entertainment Group.

    Keep the news comin. Much appreciated.

  28. Kool Aid Olive says:

    New thread

  29. Магия 10 says:

    Kmart99:
    Would it be hilarious if all of a sudden every single one of us just (as a prank) started agreeing with everything DSF posted?No matter how ridiculous his claims get.
    Just some casual +1s and THIS posts sprinkled in, but never any disagreements. Just want to see what would happen.Like a psych study, only with a sample size of 1 DSF.

  30. Магия 10 says:

    How about when he points his ship straight into the sun a simple Hi DSF

  31. Lowetide says:

    Kool Aid Olive:
    BTW, I’m posting a lot because I have Fridays off and guess who’s turn it is to get up with the brats?

    So you lucky bastards have the pleasure of my inane drivel.Deal with it, bitttt-chez!

    The EXACT reason I started this blog! What to do, what to do…. 🙂

  32. Магия 10 says:

    Southern Oil:
    Spector tweets what we have all known – but somewhat more official now.
    BREAKING: Former POHO Kevin Lowe moves out of hockey dep’t in EDM, retains role on business side of Oilers Entertainment Group.

    Always expected that to happen by end of 1st new arena season. Should have happened earlier. from December on this was probably the best timing.

  33. Lummeropenet84 says:

    I’m gonna miss that space between the A and H.

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