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Oklahoma City Barons: Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Jordan Eberle to sit out exhibition games

Barons coach Todd Nelson knows what those No. 1 draft picks can do. Friday and Saturday games vs. Houston at Cox Center will be a test for those still trying to make the American Hockey League team.
By Mike Baldwin Published: October 4, 2012

Oklahoma City Barons fans will have to wait to see Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Jordan Eberle. But most of the 16 players who skated for Oklahoma City last season will participate when the Barons host the Houston Aeros in American Hockey League preseason games Friday night and Saturday night at the Cox Convention Center.

Eberle led Edmonton in goals last season. Nugent-Hopkins was the No. 1 overall pick in the 2011 NHL Draft. The Oilers' two young stars are playing with the Barons during the NHL lockout, but they won't make their OKC debuts until the season opener, Oct. 12 at Lake Erie.

Barons coach Todd Nelson said Justin Schultz, an All-American defenseman at Wisconsin, probably will play in one of the two preseason games.

Players who were part of the Barons' run to the Western Conference finals will play in one of the two games. The majority of ice time among 32 players in camp will go to those battling for roster spots.

“Some guys, we know what they bring to the table, so those aren't the people we're looking at,” Nelson said. “We're looking at the guys that are on the bubble of staying here.”

Nelson might keep as many as 24 players.

“All the players here can play in the American Hockey League,” Nelson said. “We can't keep 28 players. We'll have to make some tough decisions. It's pretty competitive. We'll probably have eight guys play both nights while the others will just play in one game.”

Nelson announced two cuts already. Goaltender Ian Keserich and forward Gary Steffes were released, but they are expected to play for Tulsa of the Central Hockey League.

Admission to both preseason games is free with a cash donation or baby items to Infant Crisis Services.

The Barons home opener is 7 p.m. Friday, Oct. 19, against San Antonio.


Houston Aeros vs. Barons

What: American Hockey League exhibition games

When: 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday

Where: Cox Convention Center

Tickets: Admission is free with a donation of funds or baby items to Infant Crisis Services.

Radio: KXY-FM 96.1. Jim Byers play-by-play, Doug Sauter color analysis.


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