Oklahoma City Barons: Barons will survive without the 'Fab Four'; new players will join team soon

Jordan Eberle, Taylor Hall, Justin Schultz have already left the team for Edmonton Oilers. Others on Barons roster might get invitations to Oilers' abbreviated training camp.
by Michael Baldwin Modified: January 6, 2013 at 8:07 pm •  Published: January 6, 2013
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photo - AHL HOCKEY: Oklahoma City's Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (18) struggles with San Antonio players during a game between the Oklahoma City Barons and the San Antonio Rampage at the Cox Convention Center in Oklahoma City, Friday, Oct. 19, 2012.  Photo by Garett Fisbeck, The Oklahoman
AHL HOCKEY: Oklahoma City's Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (18) struggles with San Antonio players during a game between the Oklahoma City Barons and the San Antonio Rampage at the Cox Convention Center in Oklahoma City, Friday, Oct. 19, 2012. Photo by Garett Fisbeck, The Oklahoman

Eberle (51 points, 29 goals) and Schultz (48 points) lead the AHL in scoring. Hall (34 points) is among the AHL's top scorers despite joining the Barons two weeks into the season following rehabilitation for a shoulder injury. Nugent-Hopkins scored 20 points in 19 games.

Before Sunday's 6-3 loss at Chicago, Eberle, Hall and Schultz accounted for 20 of the Barons' previous 24 goals.

Despite having the AHL's most dynamic No. 1 line, players featured on the cover of The Hockey News, the Barons didn't dominate as some speculated.

Oklahoma City, though, is among 10 teams within a few standings points of each other in the Western Conference.

“Would we have liked to have had a few more wins? Absolutely,” Scott said. “But as good as Justin was, we had a lot of young defensemen on the back end. We knew that would be a spot we'd probably have some ups and downs early in the year.”

Veteran goaltender Yann Danis was asked how losing four stars and a few other teammates might impact the Barons.

“I think everyone was prepared for it,” Danis said. “I don't think anyone expected it to be a forever thing. Everyone knew it would end eventually. It's a big loss losing those guys. But we have some depth. We managed to do well last year. One reason for our success was it didn't matter who was in the lineup.”

The Barons reached the Western Conference finals last year despite not having one player in the top 50 in scoring. In fact, veteran Ryan Keller was the only Baron in the top 80 in scoring.

“We're kind of back to square one, but every team is in the same boat,” Scott said. “It was a fun ride with the talent level we had here the past three months. But we still have some talented players. We're excited with what's to come and make a good run in the playoffs.”

With the NHL lockout reportedly coming to an end, the Barons roster will undergo some shuffling.


by Michael Baldwin
Reporter
Mike Baldwin has been a sports reporter for The Oklahoman since 1982. Mike graduated from Okmulgee High School in 1974 and attended Oklahoma Christian University, graduating with a journalism degree in 1978. Mike's first job was sports editor...
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LEAVING BARONS

RW *Jordan Eberle

C *Ryan Nugent-Hopkins

LW *Taylor Hall

D *Justin Schultz

LW *Teemu Hartikainen

D Colten Teubert

LW Magnus Paajarvi

C Chris VandeVelde

IN LIMBO

C Mark Arcobello

C Anton Lander

JOINING BARONS

RW Tony Rajala

C Ryan Martindale

LW Philippe Cornet

unsigned free agents

*projected to make Edmonton's final roster.

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