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MARTINDALE EXPECTED TO TAKE ON BIGGER ROLE
By Chris Wescott,
Martindale Expected to Take on Bigger Role
Sometimes, you can just feel when you’ve turned a corner in your career. That was the case this pastseason with the Oklahoma City Barons’ 21-year old center, Ryan Martindale.
The Edmonton Oilers third round pick, in 2010, has come a long way from his first professional season and took a big step in development in his second season.
“I really put in a lot of hard work in the summer last year and felt I came into camp really good,” Martindale said.
“He has turned himself into a gym rat which is paying dividends on the ice,” Said OKC General Manager Bill Scott. “You could see it late in the season and especially in his playoff game.”
But sometimes, life throws obstacles in the way of progress. Martindale sustained a knee injury early in the season. Martindale didn’t make excuses. He used the situation to his benefit by working even harder to return to the ice and contribute.
“Unfortunately, I had a knee injury early in the season to work back from. But, I am happy with the progress I’ve made.”
Martindale finished the 2012-13 season with 41 games in OKC. He contributed 14 points (6-8-14) in his time in the AHL. He also had a five-game stint with the Stockton Thunder of the ECHL, scoring two goals.
Injuries on the roster allowed Martindale to step in and help the Barons in the playoffs. It was an experience that left the young forward excited and yearning for more.
Following OKC’s loss to Grand Rapids in Game 7 of the Calder Cup Western Conference Finals, the Barons hockey ops staff was left to evaluate their young core of players.
In talking with them, it is clear that OKC and the Oilers see Martindale taking on a much bigger role with the club this upcoming season.
“Ryan took significant steps last season despite there being increased competition at his position withthe NHL lock-out in the first half of the year,” Bill Scott said.
“This will be a big year for Ryan but he has the confidence of the coaching staff and we are expecting him to have a breakout season where he will establish himself as a solid two-way center who can win face-offs and distribute the puck to his line mates.”
Is the Oshawa, Ontario youngster ready for that challenge and responsibility?
“Absolutely, I am ready,” said Martindale. “I’m really excited about it. I want to have that entrusted upon me. I want to be a big part of this team and really contribute and help them win that championship.”
“I’m excited for it. I’m going to work hard… I’ll be ready when next season comes.”
The Barons coaching staff agrees that Ryan is ready.
“I think our fans are going to see a marked improvement from Ryan and he’s going to be an important contributor to the success of Barons in 2013-14,” said Scott.
Martindale appears to be hungry, considering the opportunity in front of him. He even issued a vow that he will come back ‘even stronger’ than he did last year. For Barons fans, that could be an exciting development for the young Oilers prospect.
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