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Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Oklahoma City Barons Possible Lines


As the first playoff game in Oklahoma City Barons history moves closer, one mystery still remains. How are the lines going to look for the team, now that they have their complete Clear Day roster? While the call ups were in Edmonton, many players stepped up and showed that they would be an integral part of the postseason line up. So here's my guess on the lines for Thursday night.

Line 1: Alexandre Giroux - Brad Moran - Colin McDonald

This line has been together since the 2nd weekend of the season, when the original line of Giroux-Moran-Omark didn't click. After a slump in the middle of the season, and being broken up when Giroux was called up to the Oilers, this line ended the season strong. Giroux ended the season as the Barons leading scorer(32G, 46A) and finishing as the league's 2nd leading scorer, Moran as the team's 2nd leading scorer(20G, 52A) and finishing tied for 5th in the league, and McDonald as the team's 3rd leading scorer(42G, 16A) winning the league's goal scoring title in the process. This line has worked all season, and there's no way they can break this one up now.

Line 2: Teemu Hartikainen - Chris VandeVelde - Linus Omark

As the call ups slowly started making their way to Edmonton, Hartikainen and VandeVelde did well to step up and fill in the void. Hartikainen has worked well with both VandeVelde and Omark seperately, but it would remain to be seen how Omark would work with VandeVelde as Omark had O'Marra as his center for the majority of his time in OKC. After a very successful rookie campaign, Hartikainen finished as the 4th highest scorer on the team(17G, 25A). Linus Omark only played 28 games with the Barons this season, but he still comes into the postseason as the team's 6th highest scorer(14G, 17A). VandeVelde only had 12G and 4A, but 5 of those goals came in the last 15 games of the season, and he is extremely successful on faceoffs, which is all the other two players would need.

Line 3: Mark Arcobello - Milan Kytnar - Ben Ondrus

Arcobello was called up to the team from Stockton as the injured list in Edmonton grew a lot and he made the most of his time with the Barons. In 26 games, he scored 11 goals, added 11 assists and finished at +7, tied for 2nd behind O'Marra. Arcobello performed well enough to earn himself an upgrade from his AHL deal to the Oilers signing him to a 2 way NHL deal. The Captain, Ondrus, has done well in adding a physical presence to his lines. Kytnar has been on a tear the last few games, with a 7 game point streak scoring 6 goals and adding 4 assists. Kytnar and Arcobello's scoring with Ondrus' physicality would be a solid third line.

Line 4: Andrew Lord/Greg Stewart - Ryan O'Marra - Zack Stortini

Lord and Stortini have been an extremely effective shutdown pair and add the strong men to the lineup. O'Marra's faceoff success would help that out even more. Stewart's the odd man out for me, as he hasn't really done much, but he's a strong body on the ice.


Photo © Candace Riley


D-Pair 1: Colten Teubert - Alex Plante

During the long road trip, Todd Nelson paired these two together and it's been a solid pairing. Plante beforehand looked like he was floundering around on the ice, not being able to do a lot. Since getting paired with Teubert, he looks like he gained some confidence and isn't afraid to hit people. Teubert's been a beast since getting traded to the Barons. His cannon of a shot has helped a lot on the PP and hits like a wall.

D-Pair 2: Jake Taylor - Richard Petiot

This pair has been together for most of the season, barring the time that Petiot was injured early on in the season. Petiot's checking is tremendous and both do well to break up the other team's play. Both guys lead the team in +/- with +14.

D-Pair 3: Bryan Helmer - Jeff Petry

Helmer's experience and Petry's scoring along with the experience he gained in Edmonton, this is going to be a tough pair.

Kevin Montgomery is the last one out, but should there be any type of injury, he's definitely a great defenseman to have waiting in the wings.

Goalies:

Jeff Deslauriers has stepped it up tremendously in the last couple weeks. After a tough weekend in Houston for their 3 game series, JDD has 3 shutouts in 4 games and only letting 2 goals in San Antonio past him. Hopefully it isn't a short peak, they're going to need all the goaltending they can get.

Martin Gerber has been injured for the last almost-month after suffering a neck injury in Grand Rapids. He returned last weekend in Houston, letting in 6 goals but it was with a roster full of players not getting regular starts. It still remains to be seen how well he does after coming back, but hopefully it'll be at the same level or above where he was at before the injury.

On the reserve list, the Barons also have Matt Marquardt, Jesse Gimblett, and Philippe Cornet, as well as Tanner House, Martin Marincin, Hunter Tremblay, and Brandon Davidson on Amateur Tryouts who would be eligible to play should there be any number of injuries. I wouldn't be surprised either if Bryan Pitton joins the team, just in case.

Game 1 is Thursday at 6:30 CDT. There hasn't been any indication of a free internet stream or anyone showing the game on television. AHL Live released their playoff packages. A single game is $9.99 and if you order the 1st and 2nd rounds together for a single team, it'll be $39.99(a potential $10 a game to a potential $3 a game).

-Written by Eric Rodgers-

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