Needing another center (hhhmmmm, I wonder who mentioned that earlier this week), the Oklahoma City Barons have prowled around, and signed a guy to fill this role. They found a pretty interesting player in Nicholas Tremblay, who is a four year Clarkson University graduate. A guy who famously scored 110 points in 57 games in the CJHL before being sidelines with an injury, Tremblay has been a mixed bag in his collegiate years, and pretty adequate in ECHL games with the Bakersfield Condors last season (where his 29 points in 29 games are pretty solid).
Originally drafted by the Boston Bruins, Tremblay’s college numbers are not offensively eye-popping except for his senior year where he nearly averaged a point per game in 37. And perhaps the tendency is to believe in the what-have-you-done-for-me-lately, and I suppose that is okay. Having never played more than 37 games in college, you always wonder how a player responds to the grueling haul of a 70+ game season in the pros. Double the games, double the chance for injury, double the fatigue. More than Euro players adjusting to ice size, sometimes games-played-per-season is a larger hurdle to jump. However, his ECHL numbers were famous enough to earn him a “Player of the Week” nod in 2012-13. Maybe there’s more to Tremblay than we see on paper.
This is a rather interesting AHL signing, and one that I particularly like. The growing trend with AHL contracts on the Oilers farm is quite jovial of University players, and not just University players, but four year graduates. Call me old fashioned, but I like the headspace of prospects like this. As a good friend, and fellow contributor put it, “Imagine if Curtis Hamilton or Tyler Pitlick had played four years of college hockey?” Great question. An answer we’ll never get, but one worth pondering.
For Tremblay, he’ll probably play a defensive heavy centering role that was lost when Chris VandeVelde departed the team this off season. That’s a nice piece to have. A guy who can play defensive centering minutes, but just might give you a scoring threat. I’d put him down for at least 20+ points in the upcoming season, even if he remains in the AHL (rather than the ECHL). An added bonus at the moment is that the Barons just signed a guy who played minutes in their new ECHL affiliated squad in Bakersfield, California. That’s a nice vode of confidence in what appears to be a winning relationship.
Tremblay, a 6-0, 187-pounder from Candiac, Quebec, played the majority of last season with the Bakersfield Condors of the ECHL. In 29 games with the Condors, the 25-year old scored 29 points (16-13-29). Tremblay has experience in the AHL, playing a total of nine games over two seasons with the Providence Bruins where he scored two points (1-1-2).
Prior to turning pro, Tremblay played 143 games over four seasons at Clarkson University. With the Golden Knights, he scored 88 points (33-55-88) and served 68 penalty minutes. He improved his point production in each season at Clarkson, with his best season coming during the 2011-12 season when he led the Golden Knights with 17 goals and 36 points.
Originally a sixth round draft choice (173rd overall) of the Boston Bruins in the 2008 NHL Entry Draft, Tremblay scored a league-leading 51 goals and 110 points with the Smiths Falls Bears of the Central Junior Hockey League in 2008. Prior to his stint with Smiths Falls, he played two seasons with the College Champlain Cougars of the QJAHL where he scored 87 points (39-48-87) in 101 games.
Tremblay joins forwards Derek Nesbitt, Matthew Ford, Austin Fyten, C.J. Stretch and Erick Lizon as well as defenseman Joey Leach as players signed by the Barons for the 2013-14 season.