If he gets more time on the power play, Teemu could have a great year with the Barons.
The Oklahoma City Barons have seen a lot of turnover this summer. Each member of the team's top line - Colin McDonald, Alexandre Giroux, and Brad Moran - has moved on, as has first-half superstar Liam Reddox. Linus Omark has probably seen the last of the AHL, and last year's captain, Ben Ondrus doesn't look to be on his way back. On the back-end, just four defenders played in all six of the Barons' playoff games - Bryan Helmer, Jake Taylor, Jeff Petry, and Richard Petiot - and three of them are probably gone for good. The Oilers have signed plenty of players to replace these guys (although they didn't get anyone with the AHL pedigree of Giroux or even Moran), but what exactly needs replacing? After the jump, I'll take a look at who was doing the scoring on the PP, on the PK, and at EV for the Barons in 2010-11.
First off, let's take a look at who was getting the job done at even strength, since that's where most of the game is played. The forwards will be in blue, the defenders in orange (regular season results only):
- The Barons have lost a lot of fire-power, but a couple of the big forwards will be returning in 2011-12. Mark Arcobello was fantastic at even strength, and he'll likely be counted on offensively going forward. Teemu Hartikainen, meanwhile, started the year in a support role but still did an outstanding job of scoring at evens, outpacing a couple of the players who spent the whole year on the top line. Some of the new recruits will obviously be counted on at the top of the lineup, but it's good to see a couple of incumbents ready to thrive with significant ice time.
- I've said it before, but the Oilers' decision to let go of Kevin Montgomery really is curious. He didn't score this much with Lake Erie, but the Barons need a lefty, and Montgomery was quality for the club one year ago. He's also young enough to make a run at the show, but... no dice.
- Further down the chart we find the trio of Taylor Chorney, Alex Plante, and Colten Teubert in a dead heat, which is pretty bad news for Chorney. If Chorney can't distance himself from the other two offensively, I think he'll have a very hard time staying ahead of them on the depth chart.
- I do not for the life of me understand how people rate Chris "ECHL'er to the right, ECHL'er to the left" VandeVelde above Milan Kytnar. VandeVelde is older, significantly worse offensively, and not particular special defensively. I'm not saying that Kytnar is any great shakes, but Chris VandeVelde is not a good hockey player.
- I'm sorry Bruce, but it's hard not to shake your head a little at Zack Stortini's place on this list. Incredibly, he was a plus player despite the lack of offense.
- The top four scorers are all gone from the team, so there will be a real opportunity here for a guy like Hartikainen to put up a big season. Most of the rest of these spots will probably go to some of the new recruits (plus Arcobello).
- Colten Teubert had zero power play points with Manchester and then four in twenty games with Oklahoma City. It's safe to say that the club was giving him a chance to succeed, and with Petry likely in Edmonton for the year, he may be the go-to guy (along with Helmer) this season.
- Good to know that Ryan O'Marra put up a decent offensive season without much time on the power play. I don't think he'll amount to much, but that at least leaves me feeling slightly more optimistic.
- It looks to me like this club has lost a couple of its regular penalty killers (Ondrus and MacDonald were in OKC for the whole year), particularly up front. It will be interesting to see who steps up, though it looks like O'Marra, VandeVelde, and Kytnar are all going to get a turn along with a few of the new guys. It looks like Todd Nelson used mostly different personnel on the PP and PK, so I'll guess that that will probably continue in 2011-12.