The Oilers got Nail Yakupov signed to an entry-level contract yesterday, but the Oilers weren't the only part of the organization getting things done over the last week. The Oklahoma City Barons have signed forward Josh Green, defenseman Dan Ringwald, and defenseman Teigan Zahn to one-year AHL contracts.
Josh Green was a big part of last year's squad and had a brief call-up to Edmonton. I'm a bit surprised that he wasn't able to turn that into a two-way contract somewhere, but maybe the Barons put out some extra cash to make the one-way deal worth his while. Whatever it was, getting him signed without giving up an NHL contract is a nice piece of business.
Dan Ringwald was on an AHL contract last season, and took a nice step forward. He had played all of 2010-11 in the ECHL, and spent a little bit more time at that level in 2011-12. But by the end of the year, Ringwald had established himself as an AHL regular on a very good team, playing in all fourteen playoff games. The Barons were a little bit weak on the left side, so Ringwald should provide a nice boost.
Teigan Zahn is another left-handed defender, and comes to the Oilers as a free agent after being drafted but not signed by the Blackhawks in 2008 and then by the Lightning in 2010. He played his junior hockey in Saskatoon and spent last season playing with the University of Calgary. In 549 career WHL games, the 6'3'' Zahn averaged 1.9 penalty minutes per game with a total of 38 fights. So that about tells you what you need to know about his role.
Now, let's take a look at OKC's depth chart so far.
For the purposes of this exercise I have assumed that the Oilers will carry eight defensemen and thirteen forwards in order to accommodate all of the one-way NHL contracts. I have also assumed that the Oilers will be healthy to start the season. That may or may not end up being true, and if the NHL season starts late, we might even see something like Justin Schultz starting in OKC. I've also included Alex Plante but not Chris VandeVelde since I think it's a lock that Plante gets signed, but not so much with VandeVelde. So this is pretty tentative... but here goes:
Magnus Paajarvi - Josh Green - Teemu Hartikainen
Dane Byers - Mark Arcobello - Tyler Pitlick
Philippe Cornet - Anton Lander - Antti Tyrvainen
Curtis Hamilton - Tanner House - Cameron Abney
Kristians Pelss - Ryan Martindale - Toni Rajala
Dan Ringwald - Colten Teubert
Martin Marincin - Alex Plante
Brandon Davidson - Taylor Fedun
As you can see, if in fact everyone does stay healthy, it's going to be a challenge for some of these players to get into the line-up every night. Players like Curtis Hamilton, Kristians Pelss, and Ryan Martindale look like they're going to be fighting for a spot, and this is assuming that the Barons don't bring back VandeVelde or make any more additions.
The blue-line isn't quite as crowded, but players like Dylan Yeo, Kirill Tulupov, and Ryan Lowery still haven't signed with anyone and might be back to provide these young men with some competition. Yeo, in particular, played a pretty big role last season, and could provide the Barons with some needed experience on the left side.