There Was Ford, Then Winquist & Rimmer

The signings have begun, and with my head stuck in the sand for nearly a week at this point, I’ve darkened the door of the blog to pass along news you already knew about. How’s that for a Harvard-like introduction?

The signing of Matt Ford several weeks ago began the Oklahoma City Barons’ offseason contract rigmarole. It was bound to be interesting – the “who” and “what” of the offseason – but it appears that we have already had a peek behind the Great Oz’s curtain.

Signed this week were forward Josh Winquist and goaltender Ty Rimmer.

These players, like Ford, are young, but familiar to us all.

Having played two games, one in the regular season and one in the postseason, Josh Winquist is very much a work in progress. He does have some nice wrinkles to his game, and per usual I saw him wobbly in game one of the Calder Cup first round against the Texas Stars.

Josh Winquist, slotting in on the top line with Matt Ford scratched, was well over his head in terms of what he saw taking place in front of him. He’s a sharp kid, no doubt, with some upsides that make me really anxious to project his value. However, he was thrown in the deep end of the pool, expected to do really good things, sorta struggled, and in the end was not the champion of the offense we needed him to be. Nelson will adjust, no doubt.

A five year WHL player, Winquist can score, but he has some sharpening to do in the “man’s world” of the AHL. Perhaps some ECHL time prior.

Then there’s Ty Rimmer. Assigned to the Quad City Mallards after playing minutes in only three Barons games, Rimmer found his groove down the CHL stretch. The Central League has had a resurgence of sorts in recent years, and its potency seems more legit than it has in recent memory. Yet…Rimmer’s 39 games played at near 3.0 GAA and a just over .900 SV% doesn’t have me hopeful, then again you really never know with goaltenders that are 22 years old.

The list of goaltending options in the Oilers org is quite interesting. For now, place Laurent Brossoit at the top. From that point you can pick and choose between Tyler Bunz, Frans Tuohimaa, and now Ty Rimmer. There is “some” wiggle room here, but it depends on how the Oilers view their #3 goaltending position.

Bunz and Tuohimaa remain the only two on this list actually drafted by the Oilers. So they’ll watch their properties closely. If the Oilers need a solid #3 tender, the shuffle will go deeper with Brossoit moving to number two on the AHL farm club. What about Bunz? The kid that has not quite panned out in the AHL? Or what about Tuohimaa? The draftee with interest from previous Oilers management? And Rimmer? Why sign him if you will hang on to five underling tenders? Strange summer indeed. But, hey, at least the Oilers are giving themselves options here. That’s nice, I guess.

More signing to come, no doubt. Stay tuned.