Alex Plante has been a mainstay of Barons hockey for the entire life of the Oklahoma City Barons organization. He’s been a solid contributor to the city, the team, the fans, and his teammates. Unfortunately for Alex, it appears that his time with OKC (as well as the Oilers) will end on a terrible note.
Via Mike Baldwin at the Daily Oklahoman, Alex Plante suffered a broken jaw after taking a puck to the face in Game #2 of the Western Conference Quarterfinal matchup against the Charlotte Checkers. The injury he sustained was substantial enough that he’ll be having surgery today to repair portions of the jaw. This is unsettling news because Plante had suddenly become a key part of the shut-down portion of the Barons increasingly youthful defensive core. Having rotated as the 6/7 defenders with Colten Teubert, Plante found another gear late in the season and won the job for what would be the postseason run.
In Plante’s absence, Teubert becomes the deep pairing shut down guy, and Coach Nelson was honest in his assesment of how he’ll be used in the lineup.
Again, via the Daily Oklahoman:
“We need a physical presence in the back, and that’s Colten Teubert,” said Barons coach Todd Nelson. “It’s nice that we have depth with our forwards and our defense. We feel very comfortable Colten can move right in.”
“I think the rest of our defense will complement Colten,” Nelson said. “We feel real comfortable with the guys we have. We just need to keep playing like we’ve been playing.”
Nelson goes on to praise Alex Plante, and his ability to turn it on in the final months of the season to solidify his status on the club. Yet the comments about Colten Teubert seem double-edged. In one breathe it’s about depth and comfort, in the other it’s about the rest of the team complimenting Teubert, who in my mind should be leading the charge.
I’ll take liberty with the article just a bit, and hear me when I say this – I wasn’t in the room to hear the entire thing. However, this is another rubber stamping of the Oilers/Barons organization of Teubert, the first round pick in 2008. The hopes were high for this guy, maybe too high, and it appears that he’s made the descent from “potentially good” to “we might be done with him” in a matter of a season and a half. Coach Nelson’s comments reflect a semi-unsure belief in what version of that player he’ll get.
The Alex Plante news is bad, terrible, and I hate it. The emergence of Colten Teubert as a regular (likely paired with Randy Jones) is okay news (certainly good news for him), but keep in mind that there are other options if his play goes south. Joey Leach, Andrew Hotham, and a getting healthy Nathan Deck are waiting in the wings. Two of those three are solid contributors, Leach is slightly more untested, capable, but untested. Thus creating a scenario where Teubert could still lose that 6th man defense spot, and that would be ugly.