Oklahoma City Training Camp ’14 Begins September 29th

Photo by Steven Christy

Physical evaluations and such have begun in Edmonton, and thus it feels like the hockey season is only a breath away. As players go from off season to early season, we now have a good shape to our pending rosters both in the majors and in the minors. September 29th, a Monday, the Oklahoma City Barons kick-off their 5th season of play with an open-to-the-public training camp.

Sandwiched around a preseason schedule for the Oilers, the AHL Barons will begin receiving players as soon as the weekend prior to the 29th. This means that the shedding of players in the NHL, and the re-assignment to the minors can commence.

The Oklahoma City Barons will then slowly march toward their first game of the season on October 11th, on the road, against the San Antonio Rampage.

For those curious, here is the current Edmonton Oilers training camp roster. Over the next ten days MacTavish and Co. will massage every moment. Eventually players will be reassigned to OKC, and that’s when the fun begins for those of us down south.

Team Gretzky

Forward Lines:

Hall-Nugent-Hopkins-Eberle

Hendricks-Gordon-Joensuu

K. Jones-C. Jones-Ford

Kessy-Ewanyk-Holmberg

Westgarth

Defensive Pairings:

Nikitin-Fayne

Aulie-Klefbom

Hunt-Gernat

Goaltenders:

Scrivens

Fasth

Team Messier

Forward Lines:

Pouliot-Draisaitl-Perron

R. Hamilton-Acton-Pitlick

Roy-Yakimov-Chase

Moroz-Khaira-Baltisberger

Krushelnyski

Defensive Pairings:

Nurse-Petry

Marincin-Schultz

Craig-Betker

Goaltenders:

Bachman

Tuohimaa

Bunz

Team Kurri

Forward Lines:

Yakupov-Arcobello-Purcell

Pakarinen-Lander-Pinizzotto

Winqvist-Williams-Tkachev

C. Hamilton-Platzer-Miller

Houck

Defensive Pairings:

Ference-Simpson

Musil-Rowley

Oesterle-Ludwig

Boland

Goaltenders:

Brossoit

Rimmer

Bouchard

Former OKC Barons at NHL Training Camps

In addition to the current Oklahoma City Barons participating in the 2014 Edmonton Oilers training camp, the Barons are well represented with 21 former players in 13 NHL camps as well this week.

Three are on PTOs (Bryzgalov, Deslauriers & C.J. Stretch);

Nine on AHL contracts (Broda, Burgdoerfer, Byers, Cornet, Fyten, Grant, Lafranchise, Leach & MacIntyre);

Nine on NHL contracts (Chorney, Fedun, LaBarbera, Martindale, McDonald, Paajarvi, Potter, Stortini & VandeVelde).

 

2014 NHL Training Camp break down by Players:

Broda, Joel — Washington Capitals (AHL)

Bryzgalov, Ilya – Minnesota Wild (PTO)

Burgdoerfer, Erik — Washington Capitals (AHL)

Byers, Dane – Washington Capitals (AHL)

Chorney, Taylor – Pittsburg Penguins (NHL/AHL)

Cornet, Philippe – Washington Capitals (AHL)

Deslauriers, Jeff – Los Angeles Kings (PTO)

Fedun, Taylor – San Jose Sharks (NHL/AHL)

Fyten, Austin – Philadelphia Flyers (AHL)

Grant, Triston – Nashville Predators (AHL)

LaBarbera, Jason – Anaheim Ducks (NHL)

Lafranchise, Kane – Vancouver Canucks (AHL)

Leach, Joey  – Colorado Avalanche (AHL)

MacIntyre, Steve – Anaheim Ducks (AHL)

Martindale, Ryan – Florida Panthers (NHL/AHL)

McDonald, Colin – New York Islanders (NHL)

Paajarvi, Magnus – St. Louis Blues (NHL)

Potter, Corey – Calgary Flames (NHL)

Stortini, Zach – Philadelphia Flyers (NHL/AHL)

Stretch, C.J. – New York Islanders (PTO)

VandeVelde, Chris – Philadelphia Flyers (NHL/AHL)

 

2014 NHL Training Camp break down by NHL Teams:

Anaheim Ducks – 2 (LaBarbera & MacIntyre)

Colorado Avalanche – 1 (Leach)

Calgary Flames – 1 (Potter)

Washington Capitals – 4 (Broda, Burgdoerfer, Byers & Cornet)

Florida Panthers – 1 (Martindale)

Los Angeles Kings – 1 (Deslauriers)

Minnesota Wild – 1 (Bryzgalov)

Nashville Predators – 1 (Grant)

New York Islanders – 1 (McDonald & C.J. Stretch)

Philadelphia Flyers – 3 (Fyten, Stortini & VandeVelde)

Pittsburg Penguins – 1 (Chorney)

St. Louis Blues – 1 (Paajarvi)

San Jose Sharks – 1 (Fedun)

Vancouver Canucks – 1 (Lafranchise)

 

 

Good luck to all!

For current locations of all former OKC Barons check out my updated list at ArtfulPuckFormer OKC Barons Whereabouts

WSHL OKC Blazers To Wear “Throwback” CHL Sweaters In Inaugural Season

The WSHL Oklahoma City Blazers have exceeded my expectations in their attempt to be a legitimate hockey team in the central Oklahoma market. From day one the goal has been to develop young players, and embrace the historical roots of hockey that so many have grown to love in this state. Despite the league being vastly different from the CHL (and the cross-town AHL neighbors), they have managed to envelop the things that many found great about the Blazers.

Only days ago the Oklahoma City Blazers unveiled their inaugural jerseys, and boy do they take me back.

Tyler Fleck, head coach and GM of the team, says that embracing the Blazers has been a no-brainer for them. “We wanted to bring it all back. There were several great uniforms from the old pro team that we considered and at the end of the day these were the ones that we chose. I know our old Blazer fans can’t wait to dig out their jersey’s from the past and support this team.”

Described as throwbacks, but with slight modifications, the sweaters can be seen below. Take notice that each jersey represents a different time in CHL Blazers history.

More information on the OKC Blazers and the new sweaters can be found on their website by clicking here.

GIF: Kale Kessy. Not A Hunter Smith Fan.

Kale Kessy meets Hunter Smith. Hates Flames organization forever. Joins an elite club of Edmonton Oilers fans. Welcome to the club, kid. Just wish it didn’t have to go down like this.

Some Thoughts On Penticton & The Afterglow

“Tread lightly,” I told myself about a week ago. “Don’t get swept up in the emotions of watching actual Oilers hockey,” I shouted in my backyard. “Watch Jujhar, Musil, Chase, Brossoit, Gernat, and others, but don’t get attached to what you actually see as ‘good’ versus ‘bad’,” I promised my family. In the end the Penticton tourney, now an annual tradition in BC for the Edmonton Oilers, became everything I thought it would be, and thus everything I knew it shouldn’t.

Prospect tourneys are the first drag from a new bag of pixie sticks. You start with the red one, and it tastes sugary sweet. Once you’ve hit the rotation, ending with blue of course, things get yucky, bitter even. On the dawn of the finale in Penticton for the Oilers sprouts, I’m regretting not choosing Jolly Ranchers.

But despite the tourney being awfully triumphant, obese in its endeavors, there are some truly remarkable things worth noting. None of which, by the way, have much impact on the coming season of AHL/NHL hockey.

As we watched Tkachev turn into a revolutionary(??) player on twitter, we saw David Musil and then Martin Gernat and then Dillon Simpson and back again struggle in the minute portions of the game. Yet despite their little indiscretions, they looked much better than they did in September 2013.

Jujhar Khaira again showed his net presence was spot on, Kessy displayed good hands, then bad mits, and the Jones twins proved they are indeed ‘Perfect Strangers’ (and Connor is totally Balki, right? I loved Balki.)

Frans and Laurent looked far more poised than anticipated, and sparked a bit of a goaltending head scratcher when the Barons get locked and loaded in October. It was their own doing. They can’t help themselves. They are young Oilers – world beaters, constantly positive – and we thank them for their sunny approach.

Then came Mitch Moroz, the prize winning pie, who needs no 2% milk chaser. He is potentially an AHL goal-scoring magician, and a “top four Oilers forward” according to the radio broadcast team. His razzle and dazzle aren’t without their defensive misgivings, but he knows that. That’s why he and I will be fine acquaintances.

Yakimov was sparkly, agile, strong down the middle. If he were an Instagram filter he would be Nashville. A hue only reserved for bright, intense scene captures.

Nurse still moves like a freak-of-nature, the good kind, but occasionally has “Bambi legs”. He will be fine, I promise.

Nelson, Flem, and Borgford. Our first glimpse at the “new three” at work, and again they look ravishing. High-minded hockey thinkers for the working set, Nelson is going to make one NHL team very happy in the coming years (Nelson raising cup in three years > Oilers raising a cup in five – call Vegas).

Some good-times quotes from the event:

Frans Tuohimaa on the current state of Edmonton Oilers prospect tenders – “We have a lot of goalies”. It could be worse (and has been), Frans. Stay tuned…

He put on eight pounds, and is near 215 this season. I did the same this offseason, but for all the wrong reasons. Ladies and gentlemen, Jujhar Khaira on the difference between this prospect tourney and last year’s – “We have more skill, and we need it. I’m glad I can give the Oilers something they need.”

Todd Nelson gives us an insight into what he has been dealing with via Oilers call-ups, try-outs, and such – “Last year I coached 52-54 players, nine goalies, and everyone got a chance, that’s for sure.” Love you, coach.

The Penticton tournament wraps up tonight as the Oilers face the Winnipeg Jets. Then it is training camp full steam ahead. I’m ready.

Instigating Forward, Greg Chase, Signs Three Year ELC With Oilers

Must love six workouts a week, ‘Superbad’, the number 25, and kind-hearted, but dangerous smiles. No, that’s not Greg Chase’s Tinder profile, but it is close.

It was inevitable, really, that Greg Chase and his kind grin would be signed to the Edmonton Oilers. The instigating forward with a great attitude, and genuine offensive skill, has signed a three year entry level contract with the NHL team. Chase, currently playing in the Penticton Prospect Tournament, played five games with the Oklahoma City Barons last season after the completion of his third full season of WHL play with the Calgary Hitmen. In those five games he fared well enough to score a goal.

At 19 Greg Chase will be subject to one more year of WHL eligibility. This isn’t a bad thing, but rather the complete opposite. As a membert of the Hitmen he made a name as an offensive player with an angsty upside. This is a player the Oilers have long said they’ve needed, but have rarely attained (think Stortini, Gazdic, etc.).

134 points scored in the last two seasons seems like a lot, and simply put it is. His PIM totals nearly run parallel to his point totals, and he has become a more potent scorer as time has soldiered on. One more season of “dub” play will only make him a more exciting player, and thus a potential success with the Oilers.

The reasons I like Chase, and this signing in particular, is that it comes at time when the Edmonton Oilers need rough and tumble players whom can also score goals. Rather than attaining said player via years of emotional ups and downs in the trade basement, they’ve gone back to the drawing board, the strengthened draft model, and the nabbing of potentially solid players from the otherwise pool of unfamiliarity. Chase is a prime example of a signing and a player who really could aid the team within a three year cycle of development. The key, like so many, is how fast will he emerge from the pack.

Congratulations to Greg Chase. We are rooting for you here in Oklahoma City. Say cheeeeese! *snap*

Brossoit, Gernat, Khaira & A Host Of Other Recent Barons Invited To Oilers Rookie Camp 2014

In less than a month we will have hockey. Not across-the-pond, roller or the kind being played via an XBox, no, actual real ice hockey. With minor and major league teams in North America gearing up for another season of play, slowly rookie camps and prospect rosters are being announced. The Edmonton Oilers released their plans for the 2014 Rookie Camp, and per usual it features a host of recent and future Oklahoma City Barons.

The official 2014 Rookie Camp and Young Stars Classic roster:

Forwards:

RW – Mitch Holmberg, Jason Houck
LW – Josh Winquist, Kale Kessy, Mitch Moroz, Jujhar Khaira, Vladimir Tkachev, Alex Krushelnyski, Connor Jones, Kellen Jones
C – Bogdan Yakimov, Marco Roy, Leon Draisaitl, Kyle Platzer, Greg Chase, Travis Ewanyk

Defense:

RD – CJ Ludwig
LD – Ben Betker, Darnell Nurse, Martin Gernat, Dillon Simpson, Jordan Oesterle, Connor Boland, David Musil, Graeme Craig

Goaltenders:

Laurent Brossoit, Keven Bouchard, Ty Rimmer, Frans Tuohimaa

This is a good group of prospects and a handful of surprises.

Tkachev, and Krushelnyski are relatively unknown to Oklahoma City barons fans, and rightfully so.

Tkachev is an 18 year old whose birthday makes him a young KHL product by the very definition of the term. Having played 50 games only once, at least in recognizable play, but he did have a 2012-13 season of QMJHL play where he earned 10 points, 20 assists in 30 games. Interesting.

Alex Krushelnyski is coming off four seasons of collegiate play with Colorado College. The 23 year old forward also earned his stripes in the USHL for two seasons prior to his days of higher education. The good news is that his numbers look really good. The bad news, he went undrafted, and thus largely unnoticed. Oilers GM, Craig MacTavish, likes taking chances on collegiate players (see Andrew Miller) so this will be another interesting player to watch offensively.

Defensively Connor Boland is your prototypical defender with four years of OHL experience. Not flashy, but nudged along “by doing the job”. CJ Ludwig suffered a pretty nasty knee injury while at Northern Michigan so this will be our first opportunity to see him lace ’em up as an Oiler.

No Tyler Bunz in the “rookie” group, which kinda makes sense, but odder things have happened. Brossoit is the future, Rimmer an option, and Tuohimaa young and gangly. Keven Bouchard is the lone ranger of this group, but still has Oilery proliferations as a recently drafted player (2014, round 7).

More details on the event via EdmontonOilers.com:

The Edmonton Oilers announced today their roster for the 2014 Rookie Camp, which includes the 2014 Young Stars Classic Tournament, being held in Penticton, BC, from September 11-15th.

The Oilers Rookie Camp will open on Thursday, September 11th with medicals and fitness testing at Rexall Place, before the Oilers travel to Penticton to take part in the Young Stars Classic.

GAME TEAMS DATE TIME
Game 1 Vancouver vs Edmonton Sept. 12 8:30 pm
Game 2 Calgary vs Edmonton Sept. 13 8:30 pm
Game 3 Edmonton vs Winnipeg Sept. 15 12:30 pm

 

These types of events are huge in markets that really matter, like Edmonton. The wetting of the whistle, if you please, prior to the start of the season. It is a time for us to see the greenest draftees, and future “stars” show off some of their talents. It is also a bit of a goofy undertaking. We don’t learn anything about whom these players are, just how they look in practice and brief, horrible competition. Yet I find value in them for two reasons – fun and future. Although we can’t really grasp a prospects true worth in these environments, you certainly can begin to pick out specific mechanical things that spark your interest. Movement, skating, prowess, smarts – all things that naturally come out when kids hit the ice. Remember when Colten Teubert punched people, paid for it, then rode off into the sunset? Things happen. Enjoy the games, the roster, the players, but take it with a tiny grain of salt.