Minutes are one of the most valuable things to a hockey prospect. The proper examination of a player is done through consistent repetition. How they fare in those minutes is key, but you have to get them to use them. The Barons have made a couple of moves that accomplish this goal. Announced today, the team has sent goaltender Olivier Roy and defenseman Brandon Davidson to the Stockton Thunder of the ECHL.
Both seem like pertinent reactions to a very thick AHL roster. Three goaltenders, Danis, Hovinen, and Roy, seems like a lot. And indeed it is. My grand conspiracy theory dictates that three were necessary because Khabibulin was considering retirement and/or not being entirely forthright about his injury status. I’ll still lay claim to that notion for a bit. In the meantime, sending young Roy to Stockton opens up more playing options. The Thunder play three-in-three, and likely ice three goaltenders of their own including Tyler Bunz. It’s a good move for each one of these netminders assuming the plan unfolds as I’ve mentioned above.
And for Brandon Davidson it’s about consistent reps in scenarios where he can focus on bringing his game back up to where it needs to be. When the season began, prior to his sudden bout with cancer, I pegged him as the defender to most likely succeed. In fact, I had him trending better than his buddy Colten Teubert. That wasn’t meant to be. Davidson, now playing full games, has dressed forward two consecutive games to fill gaps left by the injury/callups to Edmonton. Now, in Stockton, he’ll get valuable, high paced minutes, in good company with other Thunder/Baron/Oiler prospects. He’ll need that time. A long time away from the game is likely harder to overcome than we assume. This gives him the chance to acclimate.
I like both moves because it doesn’t effect the Oilers, the Barons, or really the Stockton Thunder. The only loose part in this well oiled machine might be rookie Stockton tender, Cody Reichard, who has posted some impressive numbers in 27 games. In fact, he’s in the top 15 in the ECHL in goals against and save percentages. Where does he fall, if anywhere, when Bunz/Roy are the shiny pennies. The movement this weekend will be interesting.