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OKC Barons: Derek Nesbitt brings veteran experience to young Barons team

The 31-year-old has logged 330 American Hockey League games heading in the Barons' two-game series Friday and Saturday against Chicago in the Cox Center.
BY MIKE BALDWIN, Staff Writer, Published: October 31, 2013

Nesbitt, who has eight points in the Barons' first 10 games, also excels in shootouts, an invaluable asset. Two years ago with Peoria (Ill.), Nesbitt was 7-for-7 on shootout chances. He's 1-for-1 for the Barons this season.

Nesbitt's value to an AHL playoff contender was apparent last season. Peoria, which was out of contention, traded Nesbitt in a late-season deal. He played in only one regular season game with Wilkes-Barre Scranton (Pa.) but had six assists in the Penguins' run to the Eastern Conference finals.

“You have to play the system,” Nesbitt said. “I've adjusted a lot of times in my career. If we play our system, are aggressive on the puck and the new guys buy in, we can be productive.”

Entering his ninth pro season, the Egmondville, Ontario, Canada, product has scored 451 professional points, including 181 goals, when you factor in 211 Double-A ECHL games, a league Nesbitt averaged more than a point a game.

Undrafted after four seasons at Ferris State University in Grand Rapids, Mich., Nesbitt is playing for his sixth AHL team.

The ultimate dream is to play in the NHL, which might never happen for Nesbitt.

“If you told me when I was 15 I'd be playing my 10th season of pro hockey, doing what you love to do as a job, I'd have been so excited,” Nesbitt said. “But it's a job. This isn't juniors. This isn't college. It's all on you. You have to work hard every day. Do that and you'll be successful and have fun.”


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