The Oklahoma City Barons and Stockton Thunder announced a switcheroo today that makes me smile. Announced via twitter, left winger Kristians Pelss will be headed to Stockton to play with the Thunder. Meanwhile, Teigan Zahn and Cameron Abney will be headed to Oklahoma City. Mind you, this is all in preparation for this Friday’s divisional matchup against Houston.
The announcement is curious for one reason – history. The short and recent history of top league players on the farm being taken advantage of has become increasingly real. Both Nugent-Hopkins and Taylor Hall have spoken about it publicly. And they aren’t wrong. Schultz with rough rides on the board, the Nuge with a cage, Eberle with a scary knee on knee hit – and under ten games have been played.
And Taylor Hall, expecting to start this Friday, will likely be in the cross hairs in the near future. So what do you do? You’ve already got Colten Teubert and Dane Byers, what more do you need? The answer, for now, is two more in the form and shape of notoriously punchy players. Zahn and Abney fit the “policing the ice” moniker with pride. Good players, not great. But useful beyond skating and pucking. They rarely get pushed around, nor to they allow it to happen to their teammates.
Kristians Pelss hasn’t been the best left winger on the ice, but he hasn’t been terrible either. Excluding the obvious undercurrent of protection that this move suggests, Pelss will benefit from some better minutes in Stockton. He’ll be back.
Make plans to attend the game Friday. Faith and Family Night might be a bloody ordeal. Literally. Houston will be ready as well. And it should be an interesting one.