(Photo: Courtesy Steven Christy. All Rights Reserved.)
The Oklahoma City Barons have released their training camp schedule and roster in anticipation of next week’s training camp. And as we wait for the bulk of who will be on the opening day roster on October 4th, the roster is currently filled with many CHL and ECHL players all hoping for a chance to prove their worth as an AHL-caliber player.
Camp will begin on the ice on Monday, September 23rd with an entire camp practice at 10am. The rest of the week will see the players split into two groups, practices beginning at 9am, and scrimmages in-between their sessions. One thing to note is the Edmonton Oilers flying into town on Wednesday for their preseason game on Friday night. The Barons don’t leave for Cedar Park until Friday morning, meaning some overlapping of the teams presence on Thursday. It’s obvious that management is trying to keep the teams separated, which leaves questions as to if and when the Oilers may practice on Thursday. Maybe they send the Barons to the Blazers Ice Centre that day, or maybe even the Oilers, but that remains to be seen.
Early on in camp, you can more or less divide the roster into three groups – those that will be on the team, the AHL contracts that may end up in the ECHL or CHL, and the ECHL and CHL players trying to make a mark with somebody that they deserve an AHL try-out. The majority are going to be in that last group, as we’ve seldom seen much of those players throughout the course of the season. We’re going to talk about the first two groups a lot over the next two weeks, and even more over the course of the season, so today we’re going to take a look at the new faces we’ll see on Monday.
Andrew Himelson – D 5′ 9″, 180 lbs., Signed with Tulsa Oilers The shortest player in camp, Himelson is entering his first season as a pro hockey player after finishing his four years at Clarkson University in his home state of New York where he scored 32 points in 112 games.
Jesse Dudas – D 6’2″, 215 lbs., Signed with Wichita Thunder A former 6th round pick by Columbus, Dudas hasn’t seen any games above the ECHL or CHL level since leaving the junior ranks. Last season was his first time playing any more than 17 games in a pro season, splitting time between ECHL Orlando and CHL Bloomington.
Matt Krug – D 6’0″, 230 lbs., Signed with Evansville IceMen Torey’s brother, Matt hasn’t quite seen the success of his brother. Matt has only played in one AHL game in his career so far, with Chicago in 2010-11. He split last season with ECHL Evansville and CHL Missouri.
Joel Broda – C 6’0″, 203 lbs., Signed with Bakersfield Condors Broda is a name that many Barons fans will find familiar as he has played the last three seasons with the now-defunct Houston Aeros. After a full season with Houston in 2011-12, he ended up spending a small bit of time in Orlando last season.
Chase Schaber – C 6’0″, 194 lbs., Unsigned Schaber may sound like a random player, but he should ring a bell with Oilers fans, as he’s been an Edmonton training camp attendee the last few seasons. Taking the step to pro this season after a year at University of Lethbridge, Schaber hopes to re-join his former teammate, CJ Stretch.
Kale Kerbashian – LW 5’11”, 200 lbs., Signed with Allen Americans Kerbashian hopes to establish himself as an AHLer after spending most of last season with Allen. 22 points in 33 games, Kerbashian added 14 more points in 19 playoff games as the Americans won the Ray Miron Cup of the CHL last season.
Alex Lavoie – C 5’10”, 170 lbs., Signed with Allen Americans My dark horse pick of training camp, Lavoie enters his rookie season with Allen after a strong QMJHL season with Rimouski and Cape Breton. In 63 games last season between the two teams, Lavoie ended the season with 96 points.
Wes Cunningham – D 5’11”, 175 lbs., Signed with Bakersfield Condors Returning to North America, Cunningham spent the last season in Norway with Lorenskog, where he scored 21 points in 38 games. In seasons prior, Cunningham has scored at a 0.6 PPG pace in the ECHL.
Preston Shupe – C 6’1″, 195 lbs., Signed with Bakersfield Condors A rookie out of Canisius College, Shupe helped lead the Golden Griffins to an AHA championship last season. Scored 29 points in 43 games last season.
Ryan Barlock – D 6’1″, 185 lbs., Signed with Tulsa Oilers Barlock split his rookie season last year between Tulsa and Texas of the CHL, re-signing with Tulsa this season. Barlock scored 11 points in 40 games with the Oilers last season, going scoreless in six with the Brahmas.
Shane Madolora – G 5’10”, 175 lbs., Signed with Tulsa Oilers Madolora started in the SPHL with the Fayetteville FireAntz last season, earning a call-up to the Tulsa Oilers after their overhaul at the goaltender position. Went 4-1 in Fayetteville, 14-18-3 in Tulsa, en route to a 3.18 GAA and .912 Saves %.
Despite the team’s goaltending and defense being set for this season, with many of the pieces still in Edmonton, these early camps for ECHL and CHL contracted players give them a great chance to get a head start on the season. Neither league’s camps have started yet, and it gives the players a chance to learn from the coaches at the AHL level as well, something very beneficial for the rookies. It also gives them a chance to see what it takes to stick at the AHL level, and there’s always that chance we see one of these players again on AHL ice, either for the Barons, or in an opposing team’s jersey.
Camp runs until the season starts on October 4th, and the Barons prepare for the season with preseason games in Cedar Park against the San Antonio Rampage and Texas Stars. When they return, they’ll have some players waiting for them, as I’m sure Edmonton makes their final cuts before they head back to Canada. Be sure to tune in on Monday for camp reports, live tweets, and more from us here at Tend The Farm.