In what is probably the most surprising ATO moment for the Barons this year, it was announced yesterday that Tyler Bunz had been assigned to the Barons of Oklahoma City. Oddly enough, we’ve seen nothing official at www.edmontonoilers.com or at www.okcbarons.com as of the time of this post. It’s surprsising because Bunz is a young, young goaltender who’ll be considered a part of an “in house” roster with the best goaltender and the best backup in the entire American Hockey League. So what’s guy to do? Simply put he’s being added to the ATO pile to gain exposure.
We’ve seen it in the lives of many players over the last two seasons in Oklahoma City — development is every bit as much about atmosphere, surroundings, and “life living” in the AHL than it is about getting time on the ice. Ultimately players are paid to play a game, but how they ease into living alone, paying for things by themselves, and making decisions apart from another can really take time to mature properly. This is a part of the minors that rarely gets noticed, but is felt. Philippe Cornet, Teemu Hartikainen, and a handful of other Barons all have mentioned the “living” learning curve that takes place off the ice for pro rookies.
It will be interesting to see where this Bunz moves goes from here. The ongoing discussion of Oilers goaltending prospects starts with two names — Olivier Roy and Tyler Bunz. With Bunz’s WHL season now over, and his stat sheet of junior hockey quite bright, Bunz will continue to come up in conversations as the future of Oilers goaltending.
Will he play in a playoff series while with Oklahoma? It’s highly unlikely. But don’t completely ignore the fact that he’s there, and that he’s ready to continue proving his worth as a 5th rounder that everyone SHOULD have taken sooner.
ATO NOTE: Mike Marcou was released from his ATO this week, while Martin Marincin continues to be solid recording an assist and a +4 rating in four games. He’s also gaining solid time on ice alongside Alex Plante.