For those that were at Oklahoma City Barons practice today, they were privy to the first viewing of Jonathan Cheechoo and Brett Clark. Both were signed to AHL type contracts (one PTO, the other a SPC) this weekend and look to travel with the team this week for a three game road swing.
Todd Nelson, via the Oilers Now radio show on CHED 630, made mention of where these guys will squeeze into the lineup in the next week or so.
First, Jonathan Cheechoo will instantly hit the top line. That’s not surprising. He’ll play on a line with Josh Green and Mark Arcobello, and there’s not reason that line shouldn’t produce a goal a night (or more) moving forward. Arcobello seems the most likely to benefit from Cheechoo as he likes the fast, quick, and reckless style of hockey that he hasn’t had since playing center for Taylor Hall and Jordan Eberle. That line, if it remains in tact, will be a dandy in the coming months.
Second, Brett Clark will help shoulder some of the burden of a rookie prospect on defense that the Oilers seem keen on. Practicing today alongside Taylor Fedun, coach Nelson wants to give some sturdy structure to the up-and-comer who needs some strong tutelage. Those two should make for a solid pairing. Also look for Clark to be a heavy presence on both the power play and the penalty kill. He’ll get heavy minutes despite being the oldest member of the Barons.
For more on both of these players, meander over to the OKC Barons YouTube page. Some good stuff there. (CLICK HERE)
Here’s the full practice forward lineup:
Josh Green – Mark Arcobello – Jonathan Cheechoo
Toni Rajala – Anton Lander – Philippe Cornet
Kristians Pelss – Ryan Martindale – Dane Byers
Curtis Hamilton – Chris VandeVelde – Tanner House
Extras: Antti Tyrvainen, Erick Lizon
And in a bit of news that causes me great heartburn is that Tyler Pitlick is having an MRI done today on his right knee. Coach Nelson, again via Oilers Now this morning, suggests that it might be severe enough that Tyler misses six weeks of play. In his second year as a pro, an injury like this is brutal to his experience. His struggles this season are well known, and there’s no denying that he was looking forward to “turning the page” post-January. Instead he’ll likely sit and watch for an extended period of time. Here’s hoping the MRI proves the speculation false.