The Oil Barons Run Dry


Following last nights game seven loss in the Calder Cup Western Conference finals to the Utica Comets, the four year run that the Oklahoma City Barons have had has come to an end.

The time the Barons spent in OKC can be considered nothing short of success and it is hard to argue that.

Anton Lander (EDM), Mark Arcobello (EDM, NSH, PIT, ARI) and Chris VandeVelde (EDM, PHI) all got their pro careers started in OKC and have all since gone on to play over 100 games in the NHL.

Two other former Barons played over 100 NHL games (Bryan Helmer and Josh Green) as well, but neither got their start in Oklahoma.

Lander, a 2009 2nd round selection by the Edmonton Oilers has taken some time to develop as a player in North America, something that was a big adjustment for him coming from the SEL in Sweden.

Led by Todd Nelson, Lander was able to improve his game and could very well turn into a formidable 3rd line center for the Edmonton Oilers moving forward.

Over 384 regular season games during the five seasons, the Barons posted a 202-132-15-35 record.  During the postseason, the Barons posted a 26-24 record during each of the five seasons of postseason play. –

Mark Arcobello showed plenty of promise for the Oilers as a whole when he put up 68 points in 74 games during the 2012-2013 season, but was unfortunately unable to earn a roster spot with the Oilers. He was shipped off to Nashville for Derek Roy, and subsequently placed on waivers.

Arcobello is now with the Arizona Coyotes organization.

Chris VandeVelde was a 4th round draft choice of the Oilers in 2005, but like Arcobello, was unable to fit into the organization and he now plays for the Philadelphia FLyers.

There is no denying the role that the Oklahoma City Barons played in the development of the Edmonton Oilers as a whole. As Jonathan Willis from Oilers Nation alluded to today, prior to the Barons inaugural season in 2010-2011, Edmonton had a very shaky farm system that saw few wins, and little player development.

Todd Nelson could still single handedly be turn out to be one of the key pieces for the Oilers in the next number of years, despite the fact he could end up elsewhere at the start of next season.

When you look around the NHL, the teams that are most successful in the NHL often have an AHL team that of great quality too. The organizational depth that the growth of the Barons provided for the Oilers will be incredibly beneficial moving forward.

Nelson began his tenure with a team of misfit soldiers, but ended with a team filled with young, quality prospects. His knowledge and expertise helped the Barons reach the playoffs in all of their four seasons as well as two of them including Western Conference appearances.

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Greg Chase, Brandon Davidson, Jordan Osterle, Dillon Simpson, Jujhar Khaira, Mitch Moroz, Matin Gernat and Bogdan Yakimov are all players that have excelled under Nelson in OKC, and are all names that Oilers fans should grow accustom to hearing about.

All of these players could end up being Edmonton Oilers at some point, and will likely be difference makers moving forward.

"We have known about the end of the Barons era in Oklahoma City for many months at this point, but I wasn’t ready for the emotional gut punch I felt when that final horn resounded. Dadgumit, when did I get soft?The radio broadcast sign-off was professional, but emotional as Jim Byers said his farewell to fans, broadcast partners, and a squad he was so intimately tangled within. Even the normally stoic John Zondlo who produces the Barons radio show back in OKC turned to Dr. Seuss’ “Don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened” quote while pushing back emotion.This is a tough time for Oklahoma City hockey fans, and we know we aren’t the only team on the planet that has ever lost a club they loved. But boy it hits you in the feelers more than you think, and probably more than it should. – Neal Livingston, Tend the Farm"

Looking ahead, the Barons will now relocate their team to Bakersfield, where they will adopt the Condors name from the ECHL affiliate that was there prior.