Barons Camp, Season 5, Starts Today

Pitch your tent. Unroll you pack. Head to the mess hall. Camp is here! Today the Oklahoma City Barons kick-off the 2014-15 season with training camp in Bricktown starting at 10:00am. The roster is thin, more likely in the rotation by tomorrow and Wednesday, but the excitement isn’t lessened knowing that ECHL/CHL/AHL players make up the majority of the on-ice fellas. This, after all, is the “guts” of your roster. The players most likely to back-fill when needed, and if history repeats itself those players will be huge in the Coach Nelson well-oiled machine come mid-January.

More than anything it is nice to have pro hockey back for another season, and the encouraging face of one Todd Nelson and crew. But along with the familiar comes a dose of the new, both in the coaching rotation and the on-ice performers. Tony Borgford has made the shift from a lengthy career doing work with the Thrashers/Jets organization, and will be highly visible for most of training camp. No Bill Scott watching high in the Cox Center this season, instead the coaching staff will be called upon to judge the right-standing of the players. This is a bit of a new twist to a familiar tale, one of great success in four previous seasons. I think things will be fine especially when you know your coaching staff can get the job done, as they say.

Here is the current roster for the Barons skate this AM (all info via OKC Barons official Google Spreadsheet found here):

No. Player Pos
2 Graeme Craig D
4 Brendon Nash D
5 Gabriel Verpaelst (ver-plast) D
11 Matthew Ford RW
20 Connor Jones C
23 Kellen Jones LW
24 C.J. Ludwig D
33 Kevin Noble D
34 Greger Hanson LW
36 Mitch Holmberg RW
37 Joshua Winquist LW
38 Chase Schaber (shay-ber) C
40 Nick MacNeil LW
41 Steve Mele (mee-lee) C
42 Tommy Mele LW
43 Adam Pleskach LW
44 Drew Fisher D
# Goaltenders Pos
1 Frans Tuohimaa (two-oh-hee-mah) G
34 Tyler Bunz G
35 Ty Rimmer G

 

As is common with the first day of minor league camp, sometimes the numbers don’t match the players so we will do our best to communicate whom is where and such. Three interesting goaltenders in the bank should be rather interesting. I’ve always been a fan of Tyler Bunz, but Rimmer and Tuohimaa are coming off decent camps. This will be one of the most important things to watch over the next two days. The likelihood that one of these guys is the Barons #3, but starting in Bakersfield is very high. This is worth paying attention to.

We get to see Kellen and Connor Jones again along Holmberg, Winquist, and a fan fave a year ago, Matt Ford. Defensively Craig and Ludwig are the only truly recognizable in the bunch, but Brendon Nash will be familiar to some as he’s the older brother of Hurricanes forward, Riley Nash.

Two players from the city up north (Tulsa, by the way) Pleskach and Fisher, are full-time Oilers of the Central League variety, and as the ongoing saga of ECHL/CHL merger continues, these are guys that become sorta interesting.

Chase Schaber is no stranger to the Oilers organization having played with the Bakersfield Condors last season where he had 44 points in just over 60 games. His game is on the up, which means he might be available when the injury bug comes nibbling.

In all, this is one of the smallest camp rosters the Barons have had over the last four, now five, seasons. Expect more Edmonton cuts in the next 24 hours, and then the Cox Center gets a bit more crowded.

Here is the camp schedule this week:

September 29                                           September 30
Practice @ 10 – 11:15 a.m.                           Practice @ 10 – 11:15 a.m.

October 1                                                   October 2
Practice @ 10 – 11:15 a.m.                           Practice @ 10 – 11:15 a.m.

October 3                                                   October 4
Preseason Game @ 7 p.m.                         Preseason Game @ 3 p.m.
OKC @ Texas Stars                                     OKC @ San Antonio Rampage