The 2012-13 season has been a roller coaster ride for the Edmonton Oilers’ minor league affiliate, the Oklahoma City Barons. The lockout at the beginning of the season brought them a host of talent with the likes of Jordan Eberle, Taylor Hall, and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, to name a few. However, once the lockout ended, the Oilers quickly found themselves in injury trouble and the AHL’s Oklahoma City Barons were not only without the benefit of some added offense, but missing some of their key centermen as well. Despite this, the Barons have managed to soldier on and are currently vying for a playoff spot in the Western Conference of the AHL.
The Edmonton Oilers and their fans may be forgetting what the playoffs look like. But at the lower levels of the game, Oilers' prospects are getting a lot of quality post-season experience this year. While the parent club hasn't played a post-season game since losing Game 7 of the 2006 Stanley Cup Finals, when they make it back to the post-season they'll have players with plenty of non-NHL playoff experience to draw on.
Photo: After a period of adjustment, Curtis Hamilton has looked solid in his first year of AHL play. Hamilton projects into a talented, multi-tool forward who could possibly complement star forwards Ryan Nugent-Hopkins or Jordan Eberle. (Photo courtesy of Aaron Bell/OHL Images)
The Oklahoma City Barons are the AHL's top team with a 22-8-1-3 record. The days of the Edmonton Oilers' farm teams being bottom feeders is long gone as the club has made a point both this season and last to put a winning team on the ice, committing to older players and AHL veterans rather than rely exclusively on young prospects. This season, led by players like Ryan Keller, Josh Green, Bryan Helmer, and Yann Danis, the Barons are the team to beat.