We have bid a fond farewell to Linus Omark, and now we turn back to the Oklahoma City roster that has no identifiable offense in the wingers absence. Below is a breakdown of the most recent OKC lineup. Keep in mind that fluctuation is the Barons mantra this season. The ever changing lineup occasionally has former top liners playing fourth line roles (Nesbitt and Stretch), and typical third and fourth liners playing towards the top (Hamilton x 2). The erratic nature had been slightly steadied on the top line in recent games with the call up of Anton Lander to Edmonton – Omark-Horak-Miller – and it was working to some degree. Nonetheless, here is the most recent offensive lineup
Linus Omark – Roman Horak – Andrew Miller
Curtis Hamilton – Ryan Martindale – Tyler Pitlick
Ryan Hamilton – Will Acton – C.J. Stretch
Kale Kessy – Travis Ewanyk – Derek Nesbitt
There are a couple of options on the left wing with Omark out. The candidates are both Hamiltons and C.J. stretch. With the desire for prospects to play more, Curtis Hamilton could get a look see in a top line against good comp. That’s a scary thought. Ryan Hamilton would be the easy choice, but C.J. Stretch would be the most reliable. Stretch, capable of playing all three forward positions is a versatile, and quick player. Defensive responsibility is suspect at times, but if you want speed and scoring, he’s a good choice.
Matt Ford, the Barons second leading scorer currently on the roster, will come back in, and that might allow Stretch to flip to the left wing. I like that option. I also like watching dumpster fires.
It also means that Steve MacIntyre plays more. With one less forward on the team, and Ben Eager still nursing an injury, Stevie Mac gets more opportunity to play. Again, that’s a scary thought.
Here are my predicted lines.
Stretch – Horak – Miller
Ford – Martindale – Pitlick
Hamilton – Acton – Nesbitt
Kessy – Ewanyk – Hamilton
Steve MacIntyre still out.
I won’t say this is a boring lineup because I find prospects dealing with adverse conditions absolutely thrilling. Yet this is probably the least offensively potent squad the Barons have dressed in four seasons.
If the Barons want to win games, and the Oilers would allow them to do so, the signing of a goal-scoring forward would be necessary. With offense falling solely into the hands of this core, and to a very young defensive prospects, the roster becomes rather bothersome.
The Barons play the Texas Stars tonight, and we will get a good look at an awkward Barons squad against one of the best teams in the league. Eat fiber.