Derek Nesbitt & Ryan Martindale Traded For Two From San Antonio

Photo by Steven Christy

Minor league transactions, for the Oilers organization, feel like the black jelly bean of the candy world. Some love them, some hate them, some find them revolting, but it is candy, a jelly bean no less, and quite frankly demands your approval or lack there of.

I enjoy black jelly beans.

Today the Oilers traded two to the San Antonio Rampage (Florida Panthers org) for two coming back the other way. Ryan Martindale, in the final year of his ELC, had apparently run his course in the Oilers organization. Likewise, newcomer to the Barons, Derek Nesbitt was sent packing for greener pastures.

Martindale, through injury, trips to the ECHL, and subtle inconsistencies over two and a half seasons, was enough to urge MacTavish to swap him for another. The Oilers were going to have to make a decision on the smart centerman at the end of the season, and this move clearly points to the qualifying offer not being extended to Martindale when his RFA status arrived at season’s end. A good face off winner, quality two-way defender, and a penalty killer at times, Martindale has potential. But through nearly three seasons of Thunder/Barons/Oilers hockey, he didn’t emerge enough to prove valuable outside of this season.

I’m anxious to see how he positions himself in the Panthers org. Does he play beyond this season in that destination? We saw a similar scenario play out with Cornet, whom eventually ended up with the Charlotte Checkers, and I believe that Martindale is a more complete player than Philippe.

Third line NHL would be a super high ceiling for Martindale, but more than that, he needs to prove he can continue to stay healthy. The occasional nagging lower body issues (knee) have been problematic, but he’s very understanding and realistic about his potential.

He will be missed, as we OKC fans grew accustom to having him around. Good luck, Ryan.

Derek Nesbitt, signed in the offseason to an AHL contract, was one of a handful of players that the Barons snatched to slightly beef up an otherwise green prospect group. Having spent time in both Wilkes-Barre and Peoria just prior to his move to OKC, the world was Nesbitt’s oyster. He was supposed to be a guaranteed goal scorer, and occasionally was. However, when the prospect to vet ratio of minutes quickly became lopsided, it felt like Nesbitt was nudged out a bit. Regardless, he was a 10 goal scorer and on pace to eclipse his season highs in recent memory. Don’t get me wrong, he played well just not well enough to be considered a future investment. Instead, C.J. Stretch emerges as the front-runner for most-likely-to-be-a-future-Baron. I approve.

Here is the release on the two players heading to the Oilers/Barons:

General Manager Craig MacTavish announced today the Edmonton Oilers have acquired centre Steve Pinizzotto and winger Jack Combs from the Florida Panthers, in exchange for centre Ryan Martindale and winger Derek Nesbitt.

Pinizzotto, 29, has recorded seven points (6G, 1A) and 67 penalty minutes in 21 games this season with the American Hockey League’s San Antonio Rampage.

Combs, 25, has spent time with the Florida Panthers organization over the past two seasons, posting 21 points (12G, 9A) and 20 penalty minutes in 37 games with the San Antonio Rampage.

Pinizzotto is a grinder, no doubt. Ironically, this is the mode the Barons attempted to use Martindale in with little success. Words like “grit” will be used a ton in the next couple of weeks to describe his play, and I guess that’s okay. The Barons want to be tougher to play against, but again, the Oilers do too, and continue to snatch forwards with muscle bound tendencies. Even Nelson, in his comments on the trade, used the words “harder to play against” which is an Oilers war cry of late. The systematic play on the ice isn’t the only thing being pulled taut across the NHL-AHL affiliation – so is team planning.

Combs is a quiter, a more AHL friendly player whom just needs a change of scenery. Nathan Mallet, a San Antonio Rampage blogger, had this to say on twitter of the two trades:

All good points. I’m not sure that the Barons got any better (losing more offense in Nesbitt), but this likely isn’t a trade that has OKC in mind. Do the Oilers play on trotting out Pinizzotto? If Will Acton, Luke Gazdic, and Ryan Jones can find TOI with the Oilers, nothing is out of the realm of possibility.

Both players plan to be in the lineup this evening, barring any flight situations. This will be interesting to see play out.