Common this time of year is the signing of young players whom are finished with their WHL/NCAA/Whatever seasons. Typically brought in for a “looksee”, American Hockey League teams have the ability to sign players to an ATO (Amateur Tryout Contract) to do a couple of things. First and foremost, it’s a quick introduction to professional hockey life. The city, the fans, the schedule, the workouts – that player has an opportunity to be a part of a team prior to actually signing a full fledged contract to play professionally. Second, sometimes it’s to quickly help a team. But in the case of the Barons, that’s rarely been the case.
Huge thanks to Wrap Around The Crease, a new Barons tweeter, and the Ben and Steph hockey radio show, who pointed out that Kootenay Ice Defenseman, Joey Leach is likely to join the Oklahoma City Barons in the near future.
Captain of the Ice in 2013 (on the heels of Drew Czerwonka in 2011-2012), Joey Leach is a 21 year old third round Calgary Flames draftee in 2010. Four years of heavy duty WHL play, he’s etched over 130 points in 274 regular season games. Not a bad total. His leadership qualities seemingly take the cake, and add value to that as you see fit.
“The Wonka” aside, Leach has had good company in recent years as part of the Ice including Dallas/Texas Stars players, Cody Eakin and Matt Fraser.
He’s also played on squads that have made the post season every year he’s played in the WHL including the Ed Chynoweth Cup run of 2010-2011, he knows winning.
The various prospect writers have similar things to say about this kid, and it’s all positive. He’s a really good skater, and has seen his role shift from puck mover to shut down defender. Something that the Barons have lacked in the most recent calendar year. He’s a lean 6’4″, but we’ve seen players of his stature have great success despite their wiry build.
Look for Leach to join the Baron in the next week or so.