It’s been an odd day of transactions for the Oklahoma City Barons and Edmonton Oilers.
First, the day began with Teemu Hartikainen returning to OKC for what will likely be the remainder of the season (sans injury to an NHL guy). This isn’t all that odd given how often he’d been scratched with the Oil. But it is odd considering that once his promotion to the NHL was complete, we in Oklahoma City never expected to see him return.
And in another move, C.J. Stretch has been released from his PTO which is likely a move to “lighten the load” just a bit as the end of the season rapidly approaches. Case in point, both Ben Eager and Darcy H0rdichuk didn’t make the trip to San Antonio from Oklahoma City on Saturday night because there just wasn’t room to “bunk” so many bodies. So they stayed behind. Stretch was bound to be the first casualty mainly because he was unable to traverse to Stockton (based on his PTO), and upon ending said PTO, he’d return to the team from whence he came (Ontario Reign).
Also odd, Stretch was positioned to be the guest on tonight’s weekly Barons radio show at Buffalo Wild Wings. I guess no one showed him that remote that “extends” games. Maybe it could have worked for his contract.
What I find interesting is that with his release comes perhaps the conclusion that Teemu Hartikainen is to stay put in OKC for the remainder of the season. And if that’s the case, the next milestone in the life of the Finn is to get a good contract. What are the Oilers willing to pay? What are his comparables? Is he worth keeping as only a 3rd/4th line guy? To that last question, I say, “YES”. He’s young, sturdy, capable, and determined – on top of the strong set of actual hockey skills that he brings to an NHL club.
Back to Stretch. He was a very good AHL player. He won’t stay in the ECHL much longer. Perhaps he lands again on the Barons radar in the future. Ten games played, four goals scored, two assists notched – I was a fan. He was whipper-snapper quick, a good full throttle puck release, and a mustache worth an Oklahoma sunset. But, again, this is about space, and he drew the short end of the stick.
The Oklahoma City Barons released forward C.J. Stretch from his PTO, General Manager Bill Scott announced today.
Stretch, a 5-11, 195-pounder from Irvine, Calif. signed his PTO with the Barons on February 26 and had an immediate impact, scoring a goal in his first game with the team. He appeared in nine games with the Barons and scored six points (4-2-6).
He returns to the Ontario Reign of the ECHL. With the Reign, he has scored 60 points (27-33-60) in 57 games played. His 27 goals and 33 assists are among the best on the team.
Last season, he split time between the Reign and the Houston Aeros. With Houston, he played in 23 games and registered six assists. With Ontario, he registered 50 points (20-30-50) in 45 games. In all, he has appeared in 218 professional games, scoring 150 points (57-93-150).
Prior to turning pro, Stretch played five full seasons with the Kamloops Blazers of the Western Hockey League. In 341 games over four seasons, he scored 248 points (85-163-248) and served 342 penalty minutes.