Lander, Pitlick, Martindale, Roy, Hartikainen, Tyrvainen, Abney, Teubert - the watch list for Oilers heading to Oklahoma City is lengthy and ripe with promise. As the Oilers surge forward with back-to-back number one overall picks, the Oklahoma City Barons also feel the weight of youth. Junior prospects, collegiate newcomers, and even a few well-traveled professionals will land in Oklahoma as they hone their craft, and pursue greatness within an Oilers organization that sees long-term success on the horizon.
With the beginning of the American League season less than 10 days away, the Barons fans are anxious to see a few shining stars in their back yard. Today, our roundtable discusses these prospects. Who are you most looking anxious to see play in Oklahoma City.
The roundtable today consists of Patricia, who's contributions to the blogging world at Artfulpuck are always entertaining; Scott, purveyor of the great minor league Oilers site OilFieldHockey.com; season ticket holder, photographer, and Barons chronicler, Candace who posts at A New Ice Age; Evan, the featured prospect writer for the notorious OilersJambalaya; Avid hockey fan, and Star Wars lover Jonathan; and, of course, your two lovable Copper & Blue writers, Neal and Eric.
Our panel on twitter: @Artful_Puck, @ScottEOFH, @SoonerPenguin, @RevingEV,
@SmurfInABlender, @AHLBarons, @tweetneal
Patricia: While I hesitate to assign anyone to the AHL prematurely, I would love to see Anton Lander play in OKC at least part of this season. He has certainly turned heads in Edmonton, and OKC needs some of that excitement this season to help broaden a growing fan base.
Scott: Lander, that's if he get assigned to Oklahoma City.
Candace: Returning players - Teemu Hartikainen & Colten Teubert (I'm a huge fan of both). Loved the way they both came into their own last season, each in his own way. Loved watching Teemu finally emerge from the shadows a bit & show off his amazing physicality once Linus Omark was called up, and Colten becoming much more of an offensive threat than he was in Manchester.
New arrivals - David LeNeveu & Corey Potter. I've been a fan of LeNeveu's since his college career at Cornell...it became a little difficult to keep track of him once he was drafted & floated around the minors a bit, but I've thought he was a very good goaltender for a while. Corey Potter comes in from my "other team's" (Pittsburgh) AHL team. While I've kept up with him stats-wise in Wilkes-Barre, I've never had the chance to see him play, so I'm excited to do so.
Dark horse selections - Mark Arcobello & Andrew Lord. As I mentioned above, Mark was just starting to become a scoring threat with the overabundance of late-season Oilers call ups last year; it'll be great fun to see if he can get the crowd on their feet this season, too. Andrew gets the crowd on their feet in a completely different way, and his on-ice desire & off-ice personality just instantly endears all who cross his path. Andrew could easily & quietly become a fan favorite.
Evan: Hartikanen as he will be pushing hard. Has had a great training camp and pre-season in Edmonton but due to numbers will most likely still start the year with the Barons. If i was to pick a player who will have the greater chance to see all year in a Baron uniform I would pick Hunter Treblay. His play has always risen to the level he is competing at and he knows this could be his break for a NHL dream.
Jonathan: I was most anxious to see Toni Rajala but he won't be making the team, I'm still on the fence on this one. Last year an entirely unknown team arrived and within a few games fan favorites were born. This year we lost a lot of people, but we're already starting with a couple fan favorites and hopefully more will be born just as quickly. However, the Oilers have a lot of talent on the big team, and some young talents that has proven way too valuable to send down. That means there is a good chance we could get some great NHL veterans dropped down to the AHL level to allow more room for the new talent trying to force their way on the big team. Wouldn't be surprised to have even Ryan Jones, or Cam Barker delegated to some time down here. It's unlikely, but if RNH's skill demands to stay up with the big team, they'll have to push more down. This also means guys who might normally make the jump like Harikainen may stay longer than normal which sucks for him, but is all gold for me!
Eric: I'm hoping we get the chance to see Anton Lander this season. I doubt that he'll be down here for too long, but I'll be happy with any amount of time I get to see him play. Antti Tyrvainen is another that I'm interested in seeing. He impressed me during the Young Stars tournament, and I can't wait to hear his checks hit the boards in the Cox Center this season.
Neal: My list is very diverse, but for reasons that I hold dear. Teemu Hartikainen will always have a place in my heart for his awesomeness. Lander is following closely behind. Antti Tyrvainen will be a smash and grab player that fans, including me, will certainly enjoy. Even the minor league minded Andrew Lord will have my attention because he reminds me of past hockey teams that played in OKC (in a good way). And although we have two so-so goaltenders, I really can't wait to see Olivier Roy play in real-time and in a Barons sweater.
Join us tomorrow for another roundtable session as we discuss how to "sell" the team to non-hockey fans in Oklahoma City and beyond.