CVV & Plante Receive One Year Oil Contracts

Photo Courtesy of Steven Christy Photography. All rights reserved.
Photo Courtesy of Steven Christy Photography

It was rumored about a week ago that one of these guys would receive a contract. Chris VandeVelde seemed pretty optimistic about a return to blue and orange, while Alex Plante remained mum on the topic. Announced today by the Edmonton Oilers, both have received one-year, two-way deals that will keep both in the Oilers pipe at least for the 2012-13 season.

Regardless of which side of the fence you lean on either of these prospects, there’s no denying that they are both coming off really strong seasons, and have proved they have a little left in the tank. No longer considered prospects at this point, (both because the Oilers are increasingly youthful and because they’ve run through their ELC’s without hitting the big league roster consistently) their minor league value has likely never been higher. But it remains a head-scratcher as to why the Oilers would consider blowing contracts on both, who’ll likely only serve as call-up players when the season begins.

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Josh Green Signs AHL Contract With Barons

Photo courtesy of Steven Christy Photography. All rights reserved.
Photo courtesy of Steven Christy Photography

As the minor league off season soldiers on, the Barons received an unexpected bit of news this week. Signed to a one-way, one-year, AHL contract, Josh Green returns to Oklahoma City for another season. On his second tour of duty with the Oilers (the first being from 2000-2003), Green played a vital role as the top centerman for the teams farm club in Oklahoma City. 51 games, 16 goals, and 21 assists later, the team surged all the way to the Western Finals of the Calder Cup. Throw in 7 games, 1 goal, and 1 assist at the NHL level, and you have a very nice season for the 34 year old from Camrose. And for the Oilers they accomplished their mission of aiding their farm team, and simultaneously having a pretty good centerman to recall if needed. However, with this most recent contract, Green’srole is slightly different, albeit equally as important.

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Chris VandeVelde Fully Expects An Oilers Offer

Photo courtesy of Steven Christy

‘Tis the season for charity hockey events I suppose. No stranger are current, former and potential Oklahoma City Barons to lending a helping hand to the communities with which they reside. Three players from the Oilers farm have popped up in the news lately for all the right reasons. First it was Taylor Chorney, who played in a semi-star-studded NHL charity event at Cottage Grove. Then it was Alex Plante returning to his native roots of Brandon to play in a local celebrity softball game. Finally, Chris VandeVelde extended a hand in the Cully’s Kid’s Celebrity golf tournament in Moorehead over the weekend. Ironically, all three of these players (and fantastic do-gooders) ended their official contracts with the Oilers club this last season. Chorney, of course, has moved on to the Blues/Rivermen organization to add some depth to their blue-line. And while we’ve not heard anything official from the Alex Plante camp, it seems that CVV is highly expectant of another Oilers-sized offer.

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Barons Sign Defenseman Dan Ringwald

The business major from R.I.T who idolizes Scott Niedermayer, loves ice cream, and the Shawshank Redemption has inked a one-way AHL only contract for the upcoming minor league season in Oklahoma City. Dan spent four years at R.I.T where overcame injuries to solidify his spot as one of the best defenders in Atlantic Hockey. He now takes a huge step in his young career.

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Teigan Zahn Becomes Barons Defender

Nearly ten days after signing Dane Byers, the Oklahoma City Barons again nab a player for the upcoming season with a cantankerous spirit. Announced today, OKC has signed the 6′ 1″, 210 lbs, left shooting, defender, Teigan Zahn. The twice drafted Zahn has spent the majority of his youthful career with the Saskatoon Blades where he played the better part of five seasons. Across that span he netted 9 goals, 52 assists, and a whopping 549 penalty minutes. Most recently, Zahn played 27 games at the University of Calgary and posted 3 goals, 12 assists, and (no surprise) 75 penalty minutes.

Zahn is an interesting bird. Drafted twice, once by the Blackhaws in 2008, and again by the Lightning in 2010, he eventually returned to his WHL or University squad after attending training camps with the clubs that drafted him. His style of play, crash and bang/smash and grab, has come at a price. A broken jaw and the promise of hammering opponents has kept Teigan from earning an NHL contract. So the kid, now 22, has to begin somewhere. That somewhere will now be in Oklahoma City.

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A Quiet, Simple Win For Stockton California

I’ve never been to Stockton, California. Probably never will. However, I hear stories of the city from two extreme perspectives. I know a family that resides within the city limits. They speak of a great city with spirited folks that love the Central Valley as much as they possibly can. Art, history, culture, music, food — all abound. And then there’s the city I read about. #2 per capita in violent crimes, crimes against elderly on the rise, and most recently its nomenclature of becoming the largest city to ever file bankruptcy. These two worlds, one that I know from first hand recollection and the other from various news sources, couldn’t be more opposite.

Every city, in every state has it’s share of black eyes. No matter how large or how small — we’d be foolish to think it’s all sunshine and lollipops within every far reaching corner of the U.S. Since I’ve never been to Stockton, nor do I live there, I’m in no place to comment in right standing on what’s wrong or right in that city. It’s not my right. Instead I’ll champion the underdog. I’ll choose to take pride on behalf  of a city that recently had a quiet, simple win.

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Nelson, Fleming, Thompson All Returning to OKC

Photo courtesy of Steven Christy Photography. All rights reserved.

In what comes as no surprise to anyone, all three Oklahoma City Barons coaches will return for at least a few more seasons. In a press release that comes about two weeks late, the Oilers have locked in their trifecta of coaching in the minor leagues to hopefully continue bending the development curve in the proper direction.

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Byers Signs With Oilers, Fits Barons Vet Need

Photo courtesy of BridgetDS on Flickr. All rights reserved.

Leave it to a kid born in Saskatchewan and an infamous Oilers tweeter to break some Oklahoma CIty Barons news amidst the US’s birthday party. Tonight, one hour before the end of the July 4th holiday, Bob Stauffer tweeted:


Dane Byers, the 2nd round pick selected by the New York Rangers in 2004, is a semi-feisty left winger who seems to have made a living as a minor leaguer with some NHL time thrown in.

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Curate The OKC Barons Game Day Playlist

Philippe, tell me you like the Black Keys? No!? That’s a problem. Photo courtesy of Steven Christy. All rights reserved.

It’s not that uncommon for me to be caught with earbuds strategically placed near my lobes. From mowing the back 40 to grilling on the back porch – I’ve always got a song to sing, a foot to stomp, and a sweet dance move to unleash. My love of sports also has a musical tendency. The link between sports and music has always had a common bond. I dare you to flip on a TV right now, dial in a pre-game warmup of any sport, and not find some gigantic Beats By Dre headphones in a vast array of embarrassingly bad colors. I’m clearly not an athelete, but music and sports have always gone hand in hand for me. I’ve always appreciated the X Games embracing rock artists that no one has likely heard of. I applaud the ESPN Wimbledon coverage for using euro-dance tracks for bump in and bump out excitement building. The NBA on TNT has magically transformed me into a lover of all things Lupe Fiasco. So it’s no wonder that fans (including this one) crank the dial up when headed to the rink for some hockey.

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Yann Gets One More Year

Photo courtesy of Steven Christy Photography. All rights reserved.

It could have been Justin Peters. It might have been Michael Leighton. Perhaps Curtis Sanford. Or maybe it was Josh Harding. In the end, it was Yann Danis that earned a spot with the Oilers. As the free agent frenzy begins today, many early signings have already caused ripples amongst the OKC Barons future roster. Yann, coming off a remarkable minor league season, wasn’t always the sure thing as the #3 goaltender in the Oilers organization. However, in the end it was the right choice. You’d be hard pressed to find a better AHL starter, mentor to young tenders, or an NHL callup than Yann Danis. And the Oilers again give him another year long contract, that somewhat solidifies the goaltending situation for the entire organization — top to bottom.

I’m anxious to see the type of money that Danis has earned. He’s certainly worth the price tag, even if it exceeds last seasons totals. Simply put, he’s proven he’s a valuable commodity, and the Oilers likely recognized this and upped his salary. Last season his two year contract had him roughly at $105,000 in the AHL and $650,00 in the NHL. That’s quite a disparity across two leagues, but not uncommon. I’d look for that AHL number to climb (certainly not higher than $125,00 would be my guess), and perhaps the NHL number does as well. There had to be some movement for Danis to remain an Oiler/Baron or perhaps there was mention of more frequent callups. The world can only speculate.

This is a good signing for two levels of hockey. The farm team gets “their” guy back after a league leading season, and the NHL squad gets a sturdy replacement when one of the top two goes down (or plays terribly). Congrats to Yann and his family. And welcome back to OKC.

UPDATE: Yann Danis will make roughly $300,000/$775,000 on his one-year contract. This will likely continue to hang near the top of the AHL salaries, but $300,000 is a pretty common tier one minor league salary base. What is more interesting is noting that he’ll likely be the only goaltender in that category this season and probably the only one over 30 on that pay scale too. Good for him.