Roster fluctuation is common in minor league hockey. But because the Edmonton Oilers have experienced an unusual rash of injuries, the AHL's Oklahoma City Barons have undergone an inordinate number of changes during the first three weeks of the season.
“We've never seen anything like this so early in the year,” said Barons general manager Bill Scott. “That's why you sign a lot of guys to build your depth.”
During a 4-5-1 start, the one constant for OKC was goaltender Richard Bachman. After posting a 2.37 goals-against average and a .925 save percentage in eight starts with the Barons, Bachman was recalled by Edmonton over the weekend. He stopped 47 of 48 shots in the Oilers' 2-1 shootout loss to the Los Angeles Kings on Sunday and was slated to start Tuesday night.
Olivier Roy, 22, inherits the Barons' No. 1 job heading into a two-game home series this weekend against the Chicago Wolves at the Cox Convention Center. Tyler Bunz, who spent last season in the ECHL, will be OKC's backup goaltender.
Another option is Ty Rimmer, who made an impression during training camp and is playing with Quad City in the CHL. At some point, Bachman or veteran NHL backup Jason LaBarbera might be sent to OKC, but LaBarbera would have to clear waivers.
“I'm not looking too far ahead,” said Barons coach Todd Nelson. “I'm looking at this weekend with the two young goalies. The ball is in their court. If we don't get anyone sent to us from Edmonton, those are our guys. We have confidence in them. It's up to them.”