Edmonton Oilers Farm Report: OKC Barons Starting to Find Their Groove
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It may have taken the Oklahoma City Barons a little longer to establish their chemistry on the ice, but it appears that the star-studded Barons are starting to hit their stride.
The team has compiled a respectable six-game winning streak heading into their game against the Houston Aeros on Nov. 29, a streak that seems to have been sparked by the Nov. 3 addition of Taylor Hall to the roster.
Hall has made an immediate impact, registering 15 points in 10 games, and he appears to have shaken off the rust after undergoing shoulder surgery last April.
Thanks to an effort which saw Hall register one goal and eights assists with a plus-six rating in a three game span, Hall was named CCM/AHL Player of the Week for the week beginning Nov. 26.
Hall isn't the only Edmonton Oiler benefiting from his time in the AHL.
Schultz has been as good as promised so far for the Barons, racking up points at an astounding rate and holding a plus-minus rating of plus-14.
Schultz was awarded CCM/AHL Player of the Month for October and could very well repeat in November.
Jordan Eberle is only two points behind Schultz in the AHL scoring race, with the talented winger having registered 26 points in 18 games.
Who will benefit the most from their time in the AHL?
Eberle has had no troubles adapting to the AHL game and leads the Barons with 11 goals.
Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, currently sitting in fifth place in AHL scoring, has also benefited from his time in Oklahoma City.
Point scoring aside, the time in the AHL will allow Nugent-Hopkins to work on aspects of his game that were lacking last season for the Oilers, such as winning faceoffs.
It has already been reported that RNH appears quicker and faster in the faceoff circle and he should only continue to improve.
Playing in the Oklahoma may not be as glamorous as playing in Europe, but the fact that so many of the Oilers top prospects decided to play and grow together in the AHL can't be overlooked.
If the Barons can continue to establish familiarity and chemistry on the ice and keep winning, then this young core can once again begin to establish a winning culture in the Oilers' locker room.
Hall, Schultz, Eberle and Nugent-Hopkins all had distinguished minor hockey careers with successful teams but joined an Oilers team that has finished last in the NHL standings two out of the past three seasons.
The team has already learned to lose together, but now the Oilers' young prospects are learning how to win together, something which will prove invaluable going forward.
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