Jordan Eberle, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Justin Schultz, Anton Lander and when ready and healed, Taylor Hall are going to be in the OKC Barons lineup.
This is a once in a lifetime (probably not now with Bettman still in charge) opportunity for the people of Oklahoma City to come out and watch some very good NHL talent play right in their own back yard.
Jordan Eberle was a Lady Byng finalist this year. He piled up the numbers while playing a gentleman's game. He's classy through and though. To have him around your community is something to cherish and embrace. He's a great ambassador of the game.
Ryan Nugent-Hopkins was a finalist for the Calder trophy which is awarded to the NHL's top rookie. Some say he should have won. Who better to be a part of your hockey club to show what hard work really is than RNH? His work ethic will rub off on the rest.
When he's ready to play again in a couple of weeks, Taylor Hall is going to bring leadership to the team like they have never seen before. He oozes a winning attitude and no doubt, he will help bring the team to new heights in their quest to winning the Calder Cup.
Let's not forget the fact they still have Oilers prospect Magnus Paajarvi on the team. He's a year older and another year wiser. I'm expecting a big year from him too before he can make the jump to the Oilers.
Oklahoma City is extremely lucky to be getting these guys. Coach Nelson was given an NHL top line to have at his disposal. I can guarantee he isn't going to squander this. You can hear it in his voice, he's excited.
Not only are the OKC Barons going to flourish because of the NHL lockout, so will the ECHL affiliate, the Stockton Thunder. With the Barons gaining a few new players, that means they are taking spots from guys up there. Those guys will go down to Stockton until a spot becomes available with the Barons.
Goaltender Tyler Bunz and at least 3 other players will be sent to the Stockton to play in the ECHL with the Thunder. It could even be more.
The ripple effect has begun. Enjoy this Oklahoma City, it won't last forever.
-WRITTEN BY SMOKIN' RAY BURNT-