The balance of skill and toughness has long been a delicate high wire act for minor league hockey teams in the AHL (and hockey teams in general).
It’s not that it’s hard to find offensive skill or heavy fisted fighters, but rather striking a balance of the two in the same moment. Oklahoma City, no stranger to this feat has become an Oilers farm team very much focused on quality prospect play. Yet, the Barons have added a piece that offsets the high skill in the top with some nastiness at the bottom.
Former Blazer, semi-current CHLer, Erick Lizon has come to terms with the Oklahoma City Barons for the upcoming season. He becomes the third player to sign an AHL deal in OKC (C.J. Stretch, Joey Leach prior).
The Oklahoma City Barons agreed to terms with forward Erick Lizon on an American Hockey League contract, General Manager Bill Scott announced today.
Lizon, a 6-4, 234-pounder from Kitchner, Ontario played in 17 games with the Baron last season and served 30 penalty minutes. He has played the majority of his seven seasons as a pro in the ECHL and Central Hockey League. In 362 games over those seven seasons, he has scored 52 points (21- 31-52) and served 1,019 minutes in penalties.
He played the last two seasons with the Wichita Thunder of the CHL. In 95 games with the Thunder, he recorded 11 points (5-6-11) while serving 234 penalty minutes. The 27-year old has played previously in the American Hockey League during the 2010-11 season with the Worcester Sharks. He appeared in eight games and served 24 penalty minutes.
Prior to turning pro, Lizon played parts of two seasons with the Victoriaville Tigres of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League (QMJHL). He played in 103 games, scoring 34 points (14-20-34) and served 230 penalty minutes.
Erick was brought in to give some oomph to a buttery soft Barons team in 2012-13. His role was clear. His time was likely short. After seventeen games as a Barons, Lizon found favor with the coaching staff, and perhaps a bit in the locker room with fellow teammates. He trended his game towards a more useful version of a grit player – hard work in front of the net, muscle bound along the boards, instigating diversions – he became far removed from the CHL player we knew him to be. But don’t think for a moment that Lizon doesn’t intend on mixing it up. Old dog, new tricks and such.
I like Lizon about as much as I liked former Baron Andrew Lord. He has the personality and tenacity that Oklahoma City fans enjoyed during the 90’s during Central League play. Don’t expect him to give you a ton of minutes, goals, assists, points or even scoring chances. Accept him for what he is, and hope he is used properly.
Lizon career stats: