Photo by Steven Christy
The fourth line of the Okahoma City Barons has been the one consistent for the squad in October and November in terms of how often the three stayed together not necessarily how well they played. But there was one fellas that flowed out of that fourth line, and sometimes into the third line. It was the way that he balanced agitation and scoring chance that led Todd Nelson to promote him. No it wasn’t Ben Eager – it was Kale Kessy.
A fourth liner nearly by definition, Kale Kessy was dangerous with the puck in an agitation and heavy checking role. I liked him from day one, and nearly twenty games in I still do.
Placed with Eager and Ewanyk (at center), the three were occasionally gifted offensively. That’s huge for any fourth line, and certainly one in the Oilers farm squad. So the news today that Kessy had been placed in Bakersfield of the ECHL came as a bit of a surprise.
Playing better than Erick Lizon, and probably better than Eager, Kessy was the fourth liner (sometimes third liner) playing greater minutes than Eager which was well north of eight minutes a game. In eighteen games played in OKC he earned a goal, an assist, twenty penalty minutes, and a -3. That’s not awful for the rookie, and I hate to see him go.
Choosing him over Eager makes sense. Over Lizon does not. Especially in a world where “prospect” is more important. But keep in mind, Steve MacIntyre is hitting the Barons roster soon, and that means a big heavy has to move out. Imagine an Eager-Ewanyk-MacIntyre line? Harumph.