The Oklahoma City Barons have signed defenseman Joey Leach to a tryout contract general manager Bill Scott announced on Thursday.
Originally drafted by the Calgary Flames in the third round of the 2010 NHL draft, Leach has played the last five seasons with Kootenay in the Western Hockey League. In those five seasons Leach has scored 134 points in 274 games.
This past season Leach was the Ice’s top scoring defenseman (43 points).
The Edmonton Oilers traded forward to the Washington Capitals in exchange for defenseman Garrett Stafford. Both players were on Triple-A rosters.
In his 10th season, Stafford, 33, will join the Barons this weekend. He’s played 665 pro games the majority in the AHL with seven teams. He’s scored 366 points and compiled 508 AHL penalty minutes.
Byers scored 10 points in 58 games with the Barons but is best known for his physical presence (144 penalty minutes).
Stafford’s pro debut was nine years ago when he was named second team All AHL with Cleveland. He scored 46 points that season but has appeared in only seven NHL games.
Byers, 27, has appeared in 14 NHL games but like Stafford has spent the bulk of his pro career in the AHL with six different teams.
Oklahoma City Barons defenseman Taylor Fedun, who experienced a gruesome leg injury, can relate to Louisville’s Kevin Ware’s injury in an Elite Eight game Sunday but will not watch video replays.
Fedun, an undrafted rookie defenseman, was attempting to make Edmonton’s roster last season but suffered a horrific broken leg in the Oilers’ final preseason game that sidelined him the entire season.
“I heard a lot of people talking about it (Ware’s injury),” Fedun said. “I’ve got enough of the details that I think I’m going to stay away from watching it. I’ve lived through something similar.”
Ware jumped to try and block Duke’s Tyler Thornton’s 3-point shot. When he landed his right leg snapped midway between his ankle and knee, the bone skewing almost at a right angle.
Fedun can relate.
In his first training camp the relatively unknown defenseman turned heads before he suffered the type of injury that can derail a career. Racing Minnesota’s Eric Nystrom to the end line, Fedun reached the puck first to force icing but Nystrom’s stick got caught between Fedun’s skates.
Slamming into the end boards, Fedun suffered a shattered femur. His bone shattered into several pieces. Orthopedic surgeons placed a titanium rod and four screws in the largest bone in the body. It was six months before Fedun could even skate at a public rink.
“It was the type of injury I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy,” Fedun said. “(Rehabilitation) is not something you can do half-heartedly. He’ll have to commit fully to it if he wants to get back to where he was. I really feel for him to be so close to the national championship.”
Growing up in Edmonton Fedun’s dream was to play for the hometown Oilers. Fedun, who played four years at Princeton, was thankful he wasn’t drafted. It allowed him to sign with the hometown team he rooted for as a kid.
After undergoing a rigorous rehabilitation process Fedun has appeared in 59 games with the Barons. He’s scored 24 points, including 18 assists.
“I’ve definitely learned a lot this year,” Fedun said. “It’s really hard to say if I’m where I was before. I’m a different person, a different player. I’ve grown a lot, especially mentally. Physically I don’t feel my leg is holding me back.
“Foot-speed is something that can always be improved. But I don’t think it’s something that’s hindered my play. It’s allowed me to move forward. I’m really thankful for the opportunity I’ve been given here. This season has been really good for me.”
Barons center Anton Lander, who scored a franchise record six points in Oklahoma City’s 7-3 win at Rockford Saturday night, has been named the American Hockey League Player of the Week.
Lander, who was recalled to the Edmonton Oilers on Sunday, scored eight points for the week. He also scored a goal in a shootout loss at Chicago and notched an assist in a win at Peoria.
“It’s fun when you see a player have a big night,” said Barons coach Todd Nelson. “Over the years we’ve had a lot of players have big games. To set the (franchise) record says a lot.”
Lander, 21, started the season with Edmonton following the lockout but was sidelined for six weeks following a broken foot. The six-point outing also was an American Hockey League season high.
“It was one of those nights where everything they touched went in,” Nelson said of the six-point outing. “That line was really clicking. Six points is pretty remarkable. His first goal got us going when we were down 2-0. We just got rolling from there.”
Lander was a second-round pick, the 40th player selected, in 2009.In 45 games with the Barons this season Lander has scored 19 points. He had one assist in four games with Edmonton before being sidelined by the broken foot.
Barons center Anton Lander, who scored six points in Oklahoma City’s 7-3 win at Rockford Saturday night, has been recalled by the Edmonton Oilers.
Lander, who began the season with the Oilers after the NHL lockout ended, got off to a slow start and then suffered a broken foot blocking a shot Feb. 6 against Dallas. Lander has one assist in four games with Edmonton.
After being sidelined six weeks, Lander returned a couple of weeks ago with the Barons. He’s scored 19 points, including eight goals in 45 games with Oklahoma City. Scoring, though, won’t be Lander’s job with Edmonton. For now he’s insurance and could be a healthy scratch.
There is speculation the Oilers might make a trade which could move fourth line center Ryan Smyth to the third line, possibly opening a roster spot for Lander.
Early this season with the Barons, during the lockout, Lander was on a line known as the Nordic Line with Magnus Paajarvi and Teemu Hartikainen, who recently was sent to Oklahoma City.
Prodigal LLC, the operating entity for the Oklahoma City Barons, is showcasing creative juices at the debut of Science Museum Oklahoma’s Out of the Box program on Saturday night.
Science Museum Oklahoma’s Out of the Box program challenges area businesses to construct a work of creativity that celebrates the inherent scientific and aesthetic quality of the world around us by using miscellaneous supplies provided by SMO. Each participant’s demonstration must perform at least one of the following tasks: stack two objects, turn on a light, zip a zipper, draw a geometric shape or play a tune.
Prodigal is joined in this fun endeavor by 10 other local businesses including: Frankfurt/Short/Bruza, Buy for Less / Uptown Grocery, Red Earth Systems, @Link Wifi, Hanger Prosthetics & Orthotics, Kimray Inc., SAIC, Hom by Warhall, Funnel Design Group and The Boeing Company.
The companies will unveil their creations at Science Museum Oklahoma Saturday at 6 p.m. The event is open to the public.
The Barons are in the midst of a four-game road trip with a game Wednesday night at Chicago and road games this weekend at Peoria (Friday) and Rockford (Saturday).
Oklahoma City Barons general manager Bill Scott announced the team has released forward C.J. Stretch.
Stretch signed a tryout contract with the Barons on Feb. 26, scoring a goal in his first game. Stretch scored six points in nine games with Oklahoma City.
He returns to the Ontario Reign of the ECHL. With the Reign, Stretch was one of the league’s top scorers with 60 points, including 27 goals, in 57 games.
Last season Stretch split time between the Reign and the Houston Aeros in the AHL. With Houston, Stretch played in 23 games and registered six assists.
The Oklahoma City Barons have recalled defenseman Nathan Deck from Stockton.
Deck, 22, joined the Barons in December and recorded an assist in his first American Hockey League game. He scored six points in 25 games with the Thunder before being sent to Stockton in the ECHL.
With Stockton, Deck recorded 22 points, including seven goals. Over two seasons with the Thunder, Deck has scored 48 points in 88 games.
Before turning pro, Deck played four full seasons with the Prince Albert Raiders in the Western Hockey League. In 272 games with Prince Albert Deck scored 118 points.
The Oklahoma City Barons signed defenseman Kendall McFaull on Monday. Originally drafted by the Atlanta Thrashers in the 2010 NHL draft, McFaull recently finished a four-year career with the Moose Jaw Warrios in the Western Hockey League.
During his four seasons with the Warriors, McFaull scored 58 points in 269 games. This past season he compiled career highs for games played (17), assists (15) and points (20).
The Edmonton Oilers sending goaltender Olivier Roy to Stockton in the ECHL is an indication the organization wants to take a long look at Niko Hovinen the remainder of the season.
Roy is still on Edmonton’s radar. The 21-year-old Quebec product, who speaks with one of those cool Canadian accents, has been hot the past month, including his first stint in Stockton (3-1-1, 1.23 goals against average) last month.
Roy also has played well with the Barons, improving to 9-9-1 with a 2.77 GAA with the Barons. Roy posted two quality road wins in tight games in San Antonio to move the Barons into the eighth and final playoff spot before some team probably passes them this weekend when OKC is idle.
Hovinen is 24. The Oilers picked him up off waivers from Philadelphia on Jan. 25. Hovinen is 4-4-2 with a 3.40 GAA. Even though Roy might be the better long-term prospects, Hovinen, 6-foot-7, has shown some flashes.
The Barons have veteran Yann Danis, last year’s American Hockey League goalie of the Year, who recently returned from Edmonton where he saw limited action backing up starter Devan Dubynk.
The storyline to monitor the rest of the season is how many games does Danis start the final 17 games of the regular season. With some games in hand, OKC is in position to reach the playoffs for the third consecutive season but are far from a lock.
The Oilers most likely want to reach a conclusion on whether they want to keep Hovinen in the organization. But how much will Hovinen play?
Does Danis get more starts to try and improve playoff possibilities?
Also, would the Oilers consider promoting Roy for the playoffs if he stays hot in Stockton and the Barons qualify?