After spending the better part of an entire ECHL season in Stockton, it appears that Cameron Abney will have another go in California. Announced today, Abney will be assigned to the Stockton Thunder of the ECHL where he spent 29 games in 2011-2012. The heavy handed forward received the short end of the stick so to speak as Jordan Eberle, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and eventually Taylor Hall cause the scales to tip in favor of the top of the lineup, not at the bottom. Rightfully so, something had to give, and it had to give quickly. With Hall’s yellow contact jersey being removed last week, and reports of him taking minor contact this morning, it seems as if The Cannonball is ready to fire in the AHL.
There is a silver lining here for Abney, whose fists earned him 11 total fights in the ECHL a season ago, in that he will get time with a club he’s familiar with, and a better placement in the lineup. Abney, for me, has always represented something the Barons have lacked — a heavy fighter. But even the AHL is changing these days, and fisticuffs doesn’t get you far in an increasingly speedy and youthful league, especially during the lockout. It also didn’t bode well for Abney when, in the offseason, the Barons/Oilers signed Dane Byers who knows a thing or two about a good scrap, but with a much better upside than Cam.
Take a moment a think about the players that have been effected by the NHL lockout with direct ties to OKC. Philippe Cornet, Teigan Zahn, Cameron Abney, Toni Rajala – all now playing in Stockton. Except for Rajala, the other three were anticipated to skate in OKC for a full season. Yes, the trickle down has trickled down.
Wishing nothing but the best for Cam Abney, and much like last season, I’m sure he’ll pop up in OKC from time to time. He certainly makes games interesting, and the fans love him for it (most of the time).