You move one, you move at least two others. Or so that’s where the Oklahoma City Barons find themselves today following a pretty great victory over the Texas Stars last night as they downhill sprint towards a playoff spot. Two goaltenders and a defenseman were moved, all are important in the grand scheme of the OKC Barons 2012-13 campaign.
Let’s start with the most minor of the transactions, which is actually anything but minor to Barons fans.
Announced today, the Oklahoma City Barons have re-assigned Nathan Deck to the Stockton Thunder of the ECHL. Having been benched nearly the entire month of February after signing a standard player contract (previously PTO), the Barons elect to send the sturdy defender to Stockton while PTO’d players remain with the squad. Odd.
Also announced was the callup of Yann Danis to Edmonton as Nikolai Khabibulin is placed on the IR with a groin pull, an injury that has been ongoing for the Bulin Wall. Yann, playing the last three games for Oklahoma City, hasn’t been great, but he’s likely the best option at the moment. That leaves Niko Hovinen and Olivier Roy (pulled from Stockton) in OKC where they’ll form a tandem that pushes the Barons towards the playoffs.
A couple of interesting things going on here.
Deck being moved after signing an AHL contract seems odd. He’s been really good for the Barons this season, during the lockout and after. Six points in 25 games, and a -3 isn’t all that bad. I’ll make a grand assumption that Deck gets the short end of the stick because the Oilers guard want Alex Plante, Colten Teubert, Taylor Fedun, and Martin Marincin to get ice time. They’ve rotated in and out for some time now. And that makes sense. What doesn’t make sense is that the team elected to leave Andrew Hotham (who has played for two ECHL teams in addition to the Barons this season), who’s on a PTO through ten games, in Oklahoma City. He’s played well, but can he keep his head above water?
On Danis. The last five games went as follows for the Barons goaltenders – Hovinen, Hovinen, Danis, Danis, Danis. Nothing odd except that Yann’s final start came mid-week following a brutal home and home with Houston. The good money would have been on Niko. But then you looked up into the almost-empty press area at last night’s game, and there was Steve Tambelinni and Ralph Krueger. Which instantly made Yann’s start feel like a “show me” moment. And that’s fine too. But how long have the Oilers known about Khabibulin’s groin pull? Likely longer than just today when they announced Yann’s callup. And that leads me to one final point. This is a historic season for all hockey in all nations in all forms. The same goes for OKC hockey. There are many stories to be told, and many more we’d choose to forget. But one thing that might be happening subtly is the strong arming of Barons coach, Todd Nelson (and Bill Scott by extension). He, management, and pretty much everyone within the fold of the Barons/Oilers organization would tell you that this isn’t true, but moves recently have me curious. And I’d be foolish to think that Oilers management didn’t in some way dictate a bit of what happens in Oklahoma City in terms of player ice-time, etc., etc. It just feels a bit more “stiff” this season, than in the previous two before.
Good luck to Yann, we’ll see you soon (or maybe not). Good luck to Nathan, we’ll definitely see you soon. And welcome back Olivier Roy, we are anxious to see you again.
Official Release On Nathan Deck:
The Oklahoma City Barons have assigned defenseman Nathan Deck to the Stockton Thunder of the ECHL, General Manager Bill Scott announced today. Deck, 22, joined the Barons December 3 and had an immediate impact, recording an assist on his first shift of his first AHL game. He signed a standard American Hockey League contract on February 19. With the Barons, he has scored six points (1-5-6) in 25 games. Before joining the Barons, the 5-11, 185-pounder from Sedley, Saskatchewan has amassed 43 points (12-31-43) in 79 games with the Stockton Thunder over two seasons. Prior to turning pro, Deck played four full seasons with the Prince Albert Raiders of the Western Hockey League. In 272 games over those four seasons, he scored 118 points (22-96-118).
Official Release On Yann Danis/Olivier Roy:
The Edmonton Oilers, parent club of the Oklahoma City Barons, have recalled goaltender Yann Danis. In a separate transaction, the Oilers assigned goaltender Olivier Roy to Oklahoma City from the Stockton Thunder of the ECHL.
Danis has appeared in 32 games for the Barons this season, posting a 16-13-3 record, 2.99 goals against average and .903 saves percentage. This is Danis’ second stint with the Oilers this season. He attended camp with the Oilers and appeared in one game, stopping all 14 shots he faced in 40 minutes of action. Danis has played in 51 games at the NHL level with the Oilers, New York Islanders and New Jersey Devils.
In nearly two seasons with the Barons, Danis has a 41-27-5 record, 2.47 goals against average, .915 saves percentage and five shutouts. During the 2011-12 season, he earned the American Hockey League’s Aldege “Baz” Bastien Goaltender of the Year Award.
Roy, a 6-0, 170-pounder from Amqui, Quebec was assigned to Stockton on February 12. With the Thunder, he appeared in five games, posting a 3-1-0 record, 1.24 goals against average, .962 saves percentage and one shutout. With Oklahoma City this season, has appeared in 19 games, posting a 7-8-1 record, 2.86 goals against average and .899 saves percentage. The Oilers 5th round draft choice (133rd overall) played four seasons in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League with Cape Breton and Acadie-Bathurst before turning pro.