The Oklahoma City Barons, AHL affiliate of the Edmonton Oilers, got a big win in game two of the conference finals on Saturday night to pull their series against the Grand Rapids Griffins (Detroit Red Wings) even at a game apiece. The Oilers may have some open roster spots heading into training camp, and a few Barons players are making strong cases for a promotion next season.
In the win over the Griffins in game two, Mark Arcobello scored his league-leading 10th goal of the playoffs. Arcobello is a small player (5-9, 165) but was almost a point-per-game player for the Barons this season. He scored 22 goals and recorded 68 points in 74 games, and was one of the team’s strongest players after the lockout ended and Jordan Eberle, Taylor Hall and Justin Schultz returned to the Oilers. He’s earned comparisons to David Desharnais of the Montreal Canadiens based on his scoring ability and size, and he could have an outside shot at some time with the Oilers next season.
Another player stepping up in the postseason is Teemu Hartikainen. He’s seen some time with the Oilers over the past two seasons, and his six goals and 13 points in 12 playoff games is only going to strengthen his case for more. He had 14 goals and 37 points in 47 games for the Barons during the regular season, but only a goal and three points in 23 games with the Oilers.
Finally, 2009 fourth-round pick Toni Rajala continues to impress in his first season in North America. Rajala had 38 points in 29 games in the ECHL before being promoted to the Barons, and scored 17 goals while picking up 45 points in 46 games with Oklahoma City. He has three goals and 15 points in the playoffs, and should get a good look at camp later this year. The Oilers have a lot of young scoring talent already, and each of these three players faces an uphill battle to make the team. If they keep playing the way they have been in the postseason, they make be taking home the Calder Cup before getting a shot with the Oilers next season.