News came out today regarding the Oklahoma City Barons goaltending situation. With four bodies on the roster and opening day fast approaching, decisions were needing to be made. With the surprise of Ty Rimmer being signed to an AHL deal with the Barons, there was some debate on whether the draft picks of Tyler Bunz and Olivier Roy were seeing their time in the Oilers organization coming to an end.
For Roy, he’s on the final year of his entry level deal and has fallen a bit short of expectations on where he was going to be at this point of his career. Many had pegged him as taking over the reigns for the Barons this season, but hasn’t quite shown the ability to do so just yet. Bunz began his professional career last season with the Stockton Thunder and had an extreme roller coaster of a season – seemingly unbeatable at one point, right to an extremely rough stretch that had many people wondering. Add in Rimmer, and there was sure to be a goaltending battle during training camp.
Today, we find out that Bunz is on his way to Bakersfield, California and will be with the Condors of the ECHL in the first year of a new affiliation agreement with the winged team. While Ty Rimmer will head to Illinois and join the Quad City Mallards of the Central Hockey League, in a bit of a puzzling move, with Quad City signed on this season to be the CHL affiliate of the Minnesota and Iowa Wild. Whether or not that agreement included a goalie however (as they’re still affiliated with the ECHL Orlando Solar Bears as well), is debatable.
This gives the backup AHL spot to Olivier Roy, which is where he began last season as well, but later lost it to Niko Hovinen. Once Roy returned to the ECHL for the latter half of the season, he out-performed Bunz, and certainly made a case for himself to get one more chance – one he’ll need to seize in his final contract year. The debate now turns to how much time Roy will see in net, with starter Richard Bachman taking the starting goaltending reigns in Oklahoma City in this new “development over winning” mantra of the Oilers farm system.
During practice today, the team was focusing on power play and penalty kill through most of the session. During one of the reps, defenseman Oscar Klefbom took a shot right to the ankle, and landed in a heap on the ice in extreme pain. Luckily following practice, he was walking around with just tape around the ankle, and putting weight on it as well. Plagued by injuries the last two seasons, it would be tough for him to lose another big chunk of a season but I don’t imagine this will cause any long period of absence.