TULSA, OK — As the long off season rolls into its final month, the Tulsa Oilers and head coach Rob Murray kept the ink flowing with the signings of two rookies and a veteran to the camp roster.
Rookie defenseman Connor Schmidt signed to play in Tulsa for his first season as a professional. Schmidt, 23, joins the Oilers after finishing his college career in 2016-17 at Utica College.
The Flat Rock, MI native recorded 15 points (3G, 12A) and 78 penalty minutes in 25 games for the Pioneers last season before turning pro.
Prior to Utica, Schmidt attended Ferris State University from 2012-14 and was part of the first Division I program at Arizona State University from 2014-16.
Before college, the 5’11, 174-pound defenseman played one season of juniors with Traverse City of the North American Hockey League and spent parts of two junior seasons with the Des Moines Buccaneers of the United States Hockey League. In total, Schmidt compiled 43 points (11g, 32a) and 362 penalty minutes in 136 games of juniors.
“Connor comes to us highly recommended by his coaches at Utica College,” said Murray. “He brings an element of grit to our team that is important to have.”
In the same transaction, Murray signed forward Justin Greenburg to a professional try out contract.
Greenberg, 23, played four seasons of college hockey at Miami University (Ohio), where he had 29 points (6G, 23A) in 127 career games. The rookie forward from Dallas was a college teammate of Oilers defenseman Chris Joyaux for three of those years with the Redhawks from 2013-16.
Thursday, Murray added another ECHL journeyman with the signing of veteran forward Vladimir Nikiforov on Thursday.
Nikiforov, 29, brings a wealth of experience to the Oilers roster. The winger from Hauppauge, NY enters his tenth pro season in 2017-18 and Tulsa is his seventh ECHL team.
Nikiforov finished last season with MAC Budapest in the Erste Liga, composed of teams based in Hungary, Romania and Austria. He totaled 18 points (7G, 11A) in 18 regular season and playoff games. Prior to heading overseas, Nikiforov appeared in 14 games for the Alaska Aces and recorded four points (2G, 2A).
The 5’8, 173 lbs. forward has also played for Quad City, Florida, Bakersfield, Reading, and Utah during his ECHL career. In 214 games, Nikiforov has 132 career ECHL points (43G, 89A). He also compiled 96 points (35G, 61A) in 114 Central Hockey League games for Bloomington and Quad City.
Nikiforov spent the 2012-13 season in Russia’s Supreme Hockey League (VHL), where he put up 16 points (10G, 6A) in 45 games. In 2014-15, he split time with Blue Devils Weiden in Germany, Orlik Opole in Poland and Coventry Blaze in England.
Prior to turning pro, Nikiforov played three seasons of juniors in the Ontario Hockey League, where he recorded 173 points (63g, 110a) in 179 games with the Barrie Colts and Sarnia Sting.
With these three signings, the total number of players now on the camp roster for the Tulsa Oilers totals 11 as of this writing. More are expected, of course, in the coming weeks leading up to camp which is slated to begin in early October.
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