The Oklahoma City Barons spilt two games with Lake Erie this past weekend, losing 2-1 on Friday night but winning the Saturday night game 3-2.
Oklahoma City has a very well structured team so its not a surprise that the first two games were close, low scoring affairs. What is surprising is two of the super youngsters in Jordan Eberle and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins were held pointless in those two games. It may take a bit more time for the youngsters to acclimate themselves to the AHL game but I have little doubt their skill will shine through. The AHL game is a different breed in the sense that the play can get a bit more scrambly at times with players learning on the job. What isn’t different is that the players are just as competitive as they are in the NHL.
One rookie who did shine through was newcomer Justin Schultz. Schultz tallied an assist in the first game but finished the game -2. In Saturday night’s game he finished +2 and tallied the winning goal with under 4 minutes left to play. His first goal as a pro player. His puckmoving and skating abilities will be a real weapon for the Edmonton Oilers.
Super Swedes Maginus Paajarvi and Anton Lander would held in check as well. Paajarvi had an assist in Friday night’s game while Lander was held pointless.
Goaltending held up strong for OKC this weekend as veteran Yann Danis stopped 27 of 29 in the 2-1 loss while Olivier Roy stopped 37 of 39 in the 3-2 win. Goaltending figures to be strong this upcoming season for the Barons. It helps that the Barons play aa defense conscious system under Todd Nelson which is something the youngsters can learn from in their time in Oklahoma City.
Its a start for the youngsters. It’s good for them to keep playing during the NHL lockout and under Todd Nelson, it should be a positive experience. Something they can draw from in the future. The youngsters should come back to Edmonton much more well rounded players than when they left.