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?
Barons goaltender Olivier Roy, who recently won back-to-back road games against San Antonio, has been assigned to Stockton in the ECHL by the Edmonton Oilers.
Roy is 9-9-1 with a 2.77 goals against average and 90.2 saves percentage in 22 games with the Barons. A 21-year-old second-year pro, Roy also was 3-1-1 with a 1.23 GAA in an earlier stint with Stockton.
The Barons had an a third goaltender on the roster when Edmonton returned veteran Yann Danis to Oklahoma City after Oilers veteran Nikolai Khabibulin was activated off the injury list.
Oklahoma City’s other goaltender is Niko Hovinen, who the Oilers picked up off waivers earlier this season. Hovinen, age 24, is 4-4-2 with a 3.40 goals against average with the Barons.
The Barons return to action Tuesday night when they host Rochester at the Cox Convention Center at 7.
The Edmonton Oilers on Tuesday assigned center Anton Lander to the Oklahoma City Barons.
Lander was recalled by Edmonton on Jan. 31 but has been sidelined a month with a broken foot after appearing in four games with the Oilers. In 39 games this season with the Barons Lander has scored 10 points, including three goals.
The Oilers’ second-round draft choice in 2009, selected 40th overall, Lander has played in 60 games the past two seasons with the Barons after playing four seasons in the elite league in Sweden, his home country.
The Barons next game is Wednesday night at San Antonio.
Roster shuffling is common in Triple-A hockey. But this season has featured even more transactions due to the NHL lockout.
The Barons collecting 15 standings points in their last 11 games could be a sign a revamped roster is starting to jell.
“We’ve kind of settled in a little bit,” said coach Todd Nelson. “I like where this team is.”
The first 30 games, the Barons were extremely young but four young Edmonton Oilers stars compiled eye-popping offensive statistics.
After the lockout ended Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Jordan Eberle, Taylor Hall, Justin Schultz, Teemu Hartikainen and Magnus Paajarvi joined the Oilers.
Barons general manager Bill Scott methodically filled roster spots with veterans with NHL experience and players from Stockton in the ECHL.
The first veteran Scott signed was Jonathan Cheechoo, who has scored 563 points in 13 professional seasons, including 305 points in the NHL.
Scott later signed Brett Clark and Randy Jones, two veteran NHL defensemen with a combined 1,046 games of NHL experience.
“Our veteran presence has been excellent in the locker room and on the ice,” Nelson said. “When things get hectic they’re a calming voice. All those guys, plus (team captain) Josh Green, has been very good for us.”
The Barons also have benefitted from players like Toni Rajala and Philippe Cornet, who were All-Stars with Stockton in the ECHL. Recent ECHL additions Eric Hunter and C.J. Stretch also have chipped in.
“Some of the guys called up from the ECHL are playing very well for us,” Nelson said. “They complement guys like Cornet, Cheechoo, Arcobello and Rajala. It gives us a different dynamic.”
Oklahoma City is tied with Rochester for ninth place in the Western Conference. The Barons, though, are only one point out of eighth, only two points out of sixth and seventh. And OKC has played four less games than Lake Erie and Abbotsford.
The Barons return to action Friday and Saturday at home against Rockford.
Any road win is cherished. The Barons winning two of three games on a grueling road trip could be a defining moment in the 2012-13 season.
It’s difficult to play three games in three days. The Barons played three games in three days in two different time zones, in arenas nearly 1,200 miles apart.
“There were a lot of positives on the road trip,” said coach Todd Nelson. “Getting two out of three despite tough travel is a pretty good accomplishment.”
The trip opened in the Austin, Texas, area against the Stars. After posting a shootout win on Saturday night, the Barons bused to Dallas late that night, then boarded a 7:30 a.m. flight to Charlotte, N.C., the following morning to play a late Sunday afternoon game.
“We only got a couple of hours sleep,” Nelson said. “I didn’t know much energy the guys were going to have. We played well. To be honest I feel we should have won that game. We outshot them and I felt outplayed them.
“It was one of those things (Justin) Peters, their goaltender, stole a game for them. It was disappointing. We felt we deserved a better fate.”
The trip ended with a win Monday night in Charlotte.
“It was a really big road trip for our team,” Nelson said. “Getting that win on Tuesday night at home started the week off really well. Then we got four (standings) points. We would have loved to have gotten all six points but it was a very rewarding trip.”
The Barons return to action Friday and Saturday with home games against Rockford at the Cox Convention Center.
Barons forward Tanner House has been suspended two games for an illegal check to the head of an opponent in a win over Texas last Saturday. House will sit out Oklahoma City’s home games Friday and Saturday against Rockford at the Cox Convention Center.
House has scored only five points, including four goals, this season in 40 games with the Barons.
After talking to Edmonton general manager Steve Tambellini and head coach Ralph Kruger Tuesday night at the Barons game it will be interesting to see if the Oilers can make the playoffs this season.
Since four young stars — four future NHL All Stars — played three months in the Cox Convention Center diehard Oklahoma City Barons fans are a little more vested in the Oilers than your typical season.
After the lockout ended, the Oilers got off to good start but lost eight of 10, although they earned one standing point in three of the losses. Most games have been close. It’s merely been a play or two that’s made the difference.
“Every game is the same,” Tambellini said. “There are no easy games.”
Similar to their play in Oklahoma City, Taylor Hall, Jordan Eberle, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Justin Schultz help form a potent power play but the Oilers consistently had been outscored in five-on-five situations before Edmonton romped to a 5-1 win over Dallas on Thursday.
“There’s more time and space (on the power play),” Tambellini said. “They’re tremendously skilled with vision, all those things that make a great offensive player. The other part, five on five against big men, fast, smart, experienced defensemen you have to get to another level to score regularly.”
Tambellini said the Fab Four’s time together in Oklahoma City was beneficial.
“From an organizational standpoint it was fantastic,” Tambellini said. “They got to play together and played at such a high level. The National League is such a tough league. You have the best defensive players playing against you every night. You have to work for it. It’s hard.”
Edmonton is undergoing a major rebuilding process. But now that the Oilers are in Year 3 it’s time three consecutive No. 1 overall picks and a roster stocked with some special young talent starts producing.
Not quite to the halfway portion of a sprint-to-the-finish season, the Oilers are among a dozen teams in position to grab one of the final six playoff berths in the highly competitive Western Conference.
In a 48-game, strike-shortened Edmonton can ill afford another extended slump. The next two weeks will be pivotal. The Oilers still have seven games left on a nine-game road trip.
There have been signs the Oilers should stay in the race until the end, Thursday’s lopsided win in Dallas being Exhibit A.
Good goaltending, like pitching in baseball, is essential.
Devan Dubnyk, 26, might be coming into his own. Dubnyk has played better than his stats — 2.66 goals against average and 92.1 saves percentage — indicate when you consider he gave up six goals in one period in an early-season loss. Throw out the bad period and his stats are very good.
Because of the TV series Oil Change fans around the world monitor the on-the-rise Oilers. (FYI this season’s second episode first airs this Sunday on the NHL Network).
It’s probably 50-50 whether the Oilers make the playoffs.
My prediction is Edmonton will end a six-year playoff drought. The time the Fab Four spent in OKC will help in addition to a roster full of young legs.
How will the Edmonton Oilers recalling veteran goaltender Yann Danis effect the Barons chances of making a playoff run?
Danis hasn’t been as sharp this season after being named AHL Goaltender of the Year last season. In 32 games with Oklahoma City this season, Danis is 16-13-3 with a 2.99 goals against average and 90.3 saves percentage. But Danis has been playing better in recent weeks.
It will be interesting to see how coach Todd Nelson divides goaltending duties while Danis is in Edmonton. Danis will fill in as the Oilers backup goaltender as long as Nickolai Khabibulin is sidelined with an injury.
The Barons recalled Olivier Roy from Stockton. Roy was 7-8-1 with a 2.86 GAA and 89.9 saves percentage with OKC earlier this season. But Roy has been on a roll in the ECHL. In his past five games with Stockton, Roy went 3-1-0 with a 1.24 GAA.
Oklahoma City’s other goaltender is Niko Hovinen, who the Oilers picked up off waivers in mid-season. Hovinen is 2-1-1 with a 3.18 GAA with the Barons.
Both goaltenders will be needed the next two weeks. The Barons have three games in three days both this weekend and next weekend.