After nearly a five day hiatus, I’m back to writing about the Barons. In that brief span we’ve had three major announcements come our way that have an immediate impact on the Oilers farm team residing in Oklahoma City. It’s that moment within the hockey off-season that things get dicey both for player signings and team dynamics as we trudge through the summer months en route to September/October.
The first bit of news comes via our good friend 100 Degree Hockey (the finest Texas Stars blog you’ll read). Per his sources, former Idaho Steelhound and recent Texas Stars player, has signed the dotted line on an AHL contract with the Oklahoma City Barons.
According to sources, former #txstars and Steelheads F Austin Fyten has signed a one way AHL only deal with the OKC Barons.
— 100 Degree Hockey (@100degreehockey) July 17, 2013
A one-year, one-way deal seems appropriate for the left winger. He was just too much to take in for the Stars, who are pretty stacked at this point, and thus he lands on a forward squad in OKC where some “thinning” will need to take place.
Nothing has been made official, but 100 Degree isn’t lose with this sort of thing. Expect an announcement soon. Might Fyten wind up in the ECHL again?
That leads me to the most recent affiliate news within the Oilers farm system. After seven years with a direct tie to the Stockton Thunder of the ECHL, the Edmonton Oilers have elected the Bakersfield Condors (again of the ECHL) as their runner-up farm team. In existence since 1995, the Condors have recently been affiliated with the Minnesota Wild and the Anaheim Ducks.
Craig MacTavish says, “We are very pleased to welcome the Bakersfield Condors into the Edmonton Oilers family and look forward to working with General Manager John Olver and his staff as we continue to develop our players and prepare them for the National Hockey League.”
“The Stockton Thunder organization was informed that the Edmonton Oilers would be changing their ECHL affiliation through a partnership with the Bakersfield Condors. Through the last seven years, the Thunder has appreciated the engaging and successful player development partnership with Oilers management, development staff and AHL affiliates and thanks the Oilers for their partnership. We are fully committed to continue providing an elite and excellent environment for player development and are exploring numerous options with potential other National Hockey League partners at this time.”
It was rumored for much of 2013 that the affiliation might change, and despite there being a good relationship between Stockton and Edmonton, the change felt imminent. It was also suggested many places that location had quite a bit to do with the decision, then we all chuckled knowing that Bakersfield was past Fresno, and that the Vancouver Canucks have an AHL club in New York. Bummer for Thunder fans, who’ve treasured the young talent they’ve received from the Oilers, but it’s the minor-league-way. Here’s hoping the partnership with Stockton ended nicely, and that the fresh relationship with Bakersfield goes swimmingly.
Finally, the Oilers did the right thing and signed Taylor Fedun after mild speculation of his trade bait status. Qualified earlier this summer, the defender now joins a young group of players pining for Oilers full time jobs. In a season where Justin Schultz dominated the eyeballs, and Martin Marincin played his wingman, Taylor Fedun emerged as a pretty solid, puck moving, capable of scoring defenseman. That’s good. But before we fall too far down the rabbit hole of prospect devotion, let’s pause and remember the last two calendar years for Fedun. Horrific injury, amazing comeback, slow start, picked up the pace, ended on a high note one victory away from the Calder Cup Finals of the AHL. In order for this deal to be valuable, Fedun himself will need to move his game forward even moreso. That’s a tough task considering the company he’ll keep on the blue line in Oklahoma City in 2013-2014.