How about some Oklahoma City Barons news on this fine weekend? The news came in waves early this morning, and in trifecta form. Scott touched on the impact of Giroux with the Oilers. Giroux, a fan favorite and important masthead on the OKC hockey ship, will be missed. Along with Giroux being moved, Johan Motin heads the other direction to the ECHL (#24 on the Top 25 Under 25). Piled into the announcements was an important signing. Bryan Helmer, now through his PTO has signed a new deal with the Barons.
Here are the details and a smattering of commentary from the confines of The Farm.
He's had time in the NHL, he's showed promise with the Barons this season, but the defensive heaviness of the current team in OKC has caused GM Bill Scott to prune the trees (note: Colten Teubert and Kevin Montgomery). Motin, heading down to the Thunder just happened to be the lowest branch on the heavy tree. He's got the size and power, but lacks the chutzpah to simply get it done. In 34 games this season, he only tallied a goal and three assists. However, the last 19 or so games he's been injured, and unable to prove his worth. Is it time to give up on ole Johan? I think the Oilers have for the most part. More to come.
File under "should have happened a month ago". No surprise to Barons faithful, but veteran defenseman Bryan Helmer has been signed to a contract that will take him through the 2011-12 season. No salary numbers were mentioned, but it is expected to be a decent AHL wage. Having just surpassed the 1,000 AHL games played mark, Helmer has been a steadying force for the better part of the season amongst a group of developing, young Oilers. Through 24 games, Helmer has 14 points, and helps QB a stingy power play featuring Alexandre Grioux-Colin McDonald-and Brad Moran. Forget his on ice dynamic - he's been fantastic in the locker room, and more importantly in the community.
Barons GM, Bill Scott on Helmer:
"We are very excited to have Bryan under contract through next season," said Scott. "He has brought our team a wealth of experience and leadership since he arrived to Oklahoma City in January. He is a true professional both on and off the ice and exemplifies everything we want
in a player as we continue to grow our footprint in the community. As a former NHLer and captain of back-to-back AHL championship teams he will help to develop our younger players and help to give us the experience we need to make our push for the playoffs."
With the Barons in a battle to make the playoffs in their first year, an interesting move was made earlier this morning that moves the vet goal scorer to the Oilers. He went deep into the training camp prior to this season, but we all knew he was signed to give the Barons some offensive muscle. How important is he to the Barons? Through 61 games his 29 goals and 26 assists are tops on the team, and nearly tops in the league.
Many find this uprooting of their leading scorer quite curious. In the hunt for a playoff spot in a tight division, to lose your leading point getter is brutal. However, it continues the slow "thank you" from Oilers management to players in the lower league. Giroux has earned a shot in the NHL, and many Oilers fans will be excited to see him play. However, if this were an Oilers team in the thick of a playoff run (we're dreaming here people), he'd still be an after thought. But is this really the right move at the right time?
I begin to wonder what the roster for the Barons might look like in the next few days as we approach the 'Clear Day' in the AHL. Omark. Paajarvi. Eberle. All might be potential candidates for entering the Barons roster. Why? The reasons are now two fold. Bring a few strong Barons up to finish the season; send a few Oilers down to bolster the team in OKC. Imagine what OKC might look like with a few more offensive juggernauts on the squad. Wicked.