This morning, the Oklahoma City Barons, following a nice victory at home against the Peoria Rivermen, have announced that Cam Abney and Ryan Martindale have both been recalled from Stockton, and indeed that they will play in the Barons' lineup tonight. To add to the speculation even further, Barons' coach, Todd Nelson, tweeted, "With Brule, Green, and Cornet not making the trip to Texas, we'll have a bit of a different look to our line up tonight."
Josh Green being out of the lineup might make sense. Last night, following a first period fight, Green was tagged with a match penalty for a "check to the head", but which was actually a pretty ugly head-butt. For Green, who's finally healthy after being on the IR for some time, a suspension is probably in the works. At the AHL level, these kinds of hits go punished quickly, and this one might be for multiple games.
Brule and Cornet are the missing spokes in the wheel of confusion. Why sit Gilbert Brule, who is a sometimes-NHLer with decent power play skills? And why sit Phillipe Cornet, the team's leading scorer and the man second in the entire league in goals? Injury seems to be the first thing worth pointing the finger at, but neither showed any sign of ailments in last night's game in Oklahoma City.
Could it be that the Oilers are needing a better look at two prospects? There is a well-realized opinion, that the Oilers' management team has long been concerned about the success of the Barons. And minus a helping of Omark and a side of Hartikainen, the Barons still seem to win. Is this a case of giving a few players a glimpse while the team is surging? It just might be. And it might be a great time to give minutes to Tyler Pitlick as a center, as well as more astute placement of Curtis Hamilton. However, with a home-and-home against division rival Texas, followed by two against the quick Charlotte Checkers, the Barons' schedule doesn't get easy, and it doesn't get a break for some time.
Where Martindale and Abney will squeeze in will be interesting. Nonetheless, it will be entertaining to see two guys play as Barons that have Oilers' promise.
Here's the stat lines via the OKC Barons press release:
Abney, a 6-5, 205-pounder from Aldergrove, B.C., has played in 18 games with Stockton, scoring four points (1-3-4) and serving 79 penalty minutes. The Oilers 3rd round choice (82nd overall) in the 2009 NHL Entry Draft, attended training camp with the Barons and played in the Barons preseason game against Houston. Prior to turning pro, he played 180 games in the Western Hockey League with the Everett Silvertips and Edmonton Oil Kings. In those games, he recorded 37 points (14-23-37) and served 298 penalty minutes.
Martindale, a 6-3, 207-pounder from Oshawa, Ontario has played in 21 games with Stockton, recording eight points (1-7-8). The Oilers 3rd round choice (61st overall) in the 2010 NHL Entry Draft, also attended training camp with the Barons and played in the team's preseason game. Prior to turning pro, he skated in 243 games over four seasons with the Ottawa 67's, recording 207 points (85-122-207).