The Oklahoma City Barons played two games sandwiched around the Thanksgiving week, and boy did they shine. After the two-set in Cedar Park, they undressed a dynamo San Antonio Rampage team in the final twenty minutes of play, and thus punched their ticket of awesomeness again. Scoring three straight goals to end the game after being pummeled defensively prior to that, and eventually winning the game, was truly a remarkable turning point for this young OKC club. Todd Nelson, an absolute coaching solider, resurrected his team’s third period scoring, and that might be more important than owning the league’s top power play unit (which has dipped lately).
Yet as December slaps us in the face with an icy chill, so to does the re-assignments and eventual tweaks to the roster.
This weekend a handful of transactions took place, all with OKC Barons implications.
First up is the news on Tyler Pitlick:
— Edmonton Oilers (@EdmontonOilers) November 30, 2014
The chances are high that Matt Hendricks is still dinged up, and thus Tyler Pitlick gets a recall to Edmonton land. Pitlick remains a winger that Dallas Eakins and Craig MacTavish enjoy in theory. His three goals and six assists to start the season in fourteen games aren’t mind blowing, but with the forward rotation squashing a bit of momentum for several players, there’s no wondering why Pitlick hasn’t scored more. I digress.
The Pitlick you knew at the beginning of last season is still the Pitlick you know in December of 2014. He has become a good positional winger that is a good angular shot taker, a smart passer, and sturdy on the boards. Defensive responsibility is admirable, but he has a tendency to be a bit vanilla. Oh I like vanilla, it is indeed the base flavor by which I judge all other ice cream shop flavors, but in the end it lacks something. For Pitlick it might be the lack of up charge. He has gotten wiser with age, but I think we have found the ceiling for Pitlick. The question of, “Where does he go from here?” might have gone the way of Chris VandeVelde in that he has run his course as an Oiler. Good player, but low-range wingers aren’t what the squad in Edmonton needs. Right? Or maybe that’s exactly what they need.
He will play in the Oilers lineup tonight with Drasaitl and Perron. Good opportunity for Mr. P.
In return Jesse Joensuu clears waivers, and enters the Todd Nelson forward rotation of doom. No, really, Jesse J will be a good addition to the roster. It is truly remarkable how often the Oilers make odd decisions, and the Barons somehow benefit.
In addition to the forward swaps, Martin Marincin lands softly in Oklahoma City rather than being scratched in the Oilers rotation. Oscar Klefbom remains, and perhaps the Oilers are sacking Marty away for a future trade. He is a solid defensive prospect, even more so than I originally assumed, and he is also probably paving the way for Klefbom to steal his coveted future defender spot – “if he can do it, so can I”.
The Barons hit the road this week, and with a few changes to the lineup. I’m excited to see Marinicn back, Joensuu in, and the Kellan Lain trade to actually pay off (HINT: It won’t).