Rumours That Make No Sense: Ambuhl to Edmonton

Jonathan Willis
April 09 2009 01:06PM

Ambuhl

On the same day that reports out of Europe indicated that Linus Omark had spurned the Oilers contract offer to sign on with Moscow Dynamo, Swiss hockey magazine Slapshot reported that the Oilers (along with Chicago and Toronto) were pursuing undrafted Swiss forward Andres Ambuhl (h/t HFBoards).

Ambuhl’s spent the last eight seasons playing for Davos of the top Swiss league, but this year he put up career best numbers – 17 goals and 24 assists in 50 games. Despite that, it makes no sense for the Oilers to pursue this player.

For starters, he isn’t any bigger than Omark – listed at 5’9”, 191lbs.  Secondly, the Swiss league isn’t nearly as strong as the Elitserien. Yesterday I used Gabriel Desjardin’s league equivalency to project Omark’s totals in the NHL. Here they are again, along with Ambuhl’s projected totals:

  • Omark: 82GP – 28G – 39A – 67PTS
  • Ambuhl: 82GP – 12G – 17A – 29PTS

As if that weren’t bad enough, Ambuhl’s older (turns 26 before next season) and his previous career high in points was 26 (last season).  Maybe he's just a late bloomer, but based on his track record with Davos it's pretty clear that this season is the exception rather than the rule.

I’m a big fan of trying to recruit undrafted players out of Europe, but recruiting a pint-sized forward who is older and scored fewer points in an inferior league rather than signing a first-rate prospect like Omark makes little sense to me.

And that is why I don’t especially believe this rumour.

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Jonathan Willis is a freelance writer. He currently works for Oilers Nation, Sportsnet, the Edmonton Journal and Bleacher Report. He's co-written three books and worked for myriad websites, including Grantland, ESPN, The Score, and Hockey Prospectus. He was previously the founder and managing editor of Copper & Blue.
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#1 Take6
April 09 2009, 01:17PM
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We've gotta sign Omark..

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#2 Bob Cob
April 09 2009, 01:31PM
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I agree Jonathon, its not worth it signing Ambuhl, the Oilers have enough small forwards including Porkchop Penner.

I hear Johan Franzen is a UFA. He would be a perfect fit, has size, can skate, hits, goes to the front of the net, and has good hands. He is everything Penner has shown he can be but Franzen is more consistant. There is no chance Franzen will sign in Edmonton, but one can dream.

The Oilers aren't far away, add some size and skill up front, get a 5-6 stay at home defenceman and shore up goaltending, give Harding an offer sheet, and they would be okay, well better anyway.

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#3 Kev
April 09 2009, 01:41PM
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Maybe if we signed Ambuhl, he could also bring his higher scoring teammate, Michel Riesen, over with him!

Oh wait. That name sounds familiar...

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#4 Archaeologuy
April 09 2009, 01:42PM
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too many contracts for the Oilers and too many people up at the NHL level. I think they have 40 forwards up here right now, or something like that.

The Oil need to TRADE players outta this place before they sign random unknowns from C leagues.

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#5 Jorge
April 09 2009, 01:55PM
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I first thought AMBUHL was an acronym for a league. Like american meat bull ultimate hockey league. That sounds fun bring it to edmonton!

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#6 Jon K
April 09 2009, 02:12PM
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I agree that signing such a player makes very little sense. Without knowing a whole lot about him it seems he offers little to no advantage over Omark.

For what it's worth I've seen his size listed at 5'10" and 192 lbs. Small still but not much smaller than Hemsky.

Looking at his career stats a little bit reveals that he had some decent performances statistically at the WJCs and a fairly good showing at the last WC.

Still, makes no sense. I suspect the rumour is bunk and probably something leaked by the player agent to try and create some publicity.

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#7 Jack "FMNF" Bauer
April 09 2009, 02:29PM
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"That sounds fun bring it to edmonton!"

Maybe they can produce a winning hockey team.

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#8 jeff
April 09 2009, 03:22PM
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Kev wrote:

Maybe if we signed Ambuhl, he could also bring his higher scoring teammate, Michel Riesen, over with him! Oh wait. That name sounds familiar…

we could also bring back another teammate of his in Alexander Daigle

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#9 #Swiss Oil fan
April 09 2009, 03:27PM
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Jonathan, interesting post. I agree with you to a certain degree. However, Ambuhl isn't as bad as you mentioned. He is a warrior with lots of speed towards the goal. But you're right, the Oil has already enough players of such a "type" under contract. And trust me: The Swiss Elite League is AS GOOD as the Eliteserien. Look at the Zurich Lions (won the Champions League) or the latest Swiss "products": Streit in NY or Sbisa in Philadelphia (not to mention Hiller in Anaheim). And I'm almost sure we will be successful in the world championship in our country (looking forward to seeing some Oilers players...). Cheers

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#10 Jonathan Willis
April 09 2009, 03:41PM
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@ #Swiss Oil fan:

I think if we get to counting players from each country, Switzerland's going to be a ways back of Sweden ;)

The Swiss league is a good league, but IMO it's a ways back of both the KHL and SEL.

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#11 Milli
April 09 2009, 04:49PM
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It's crazy the hype that youtube can bring.

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#12 The Menace
April 09 2009, 05:26PM
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Somebody needs to get Jagr to have a sit-down with Omark and tell him if signing in Russia right now is a good idea or not.

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#13 TonyT
April 09 2009, 07:21PM
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If Omark wants to sign in Russia, let him go. In a year, where we Oiler fans have witnessed such an incredible lack of heart, why would we want to sign a guy who's just after the coin?

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#14 Jonathan Willis
April 09 2009, 09:59PM
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TonyT wrote:

If Omark wants to sign in Russia, let him go. In a year, where we Oiler fans have witnessed such an incredible lack of heart, why would we want to sign a guy who’s just after the coin?

1,000,000$+ or 65,000$ with a chance at 1MM? Because I know which direction I would go.

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#15 Chris
April 09 2009, 11:33PM
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Rumor has it, Tambellini wants to go bigger up front. (And it't about time) Why guarantee Omark a roster spot or pursue Ambuhl when the Oilers have so many fine young undersized players already under contract? Let's get bigger, and grittier. Let's re-establish the workman like approach for which the Oilers had been famous. Let's get back on the forecheck... It's not going to be like the 90's where the Oilers will be unable to retain the services of Gagner or Hemsky for financial reasons. (Other than Lowe's BRUTAL cap management)

The team we have now was effective when awakened physically by the likes of the Canucks... We may be just a few speedy crashbangers, and a faceoff man short of an eighth place finish next year... (Let's face it: there is no one easy fix that is going to take this franchise into the upper echelons of the western conference next season)

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#16 Antony Ta
April 10 2009, 12:59AM
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Bob Cob wrote:

I agree Jonathon, its not worth it signing Ambuhl, the Oilers have enough small forwards including Porkchop Penner.

Something about this sentences makes no sense.

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#17 Antony Ta
April 10 2009, 01:00AM
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sentence*

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#18 scoutingzero
April 10 2009, 03:48AM
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compare ambuhl against omark, are you kidding me guys. ive seen omark a couple of years now delivery game after game, supertalent, now ready too fly.

and then oilers talking about size and throw peanuts at him. he is really a strong inside hard working player amazing vision, balance and he dominated the sel and his games in the national team this year.

why do u guys think khl put up this money for him and his sniper harju? omark was expected a bigger intrest in him from the oilers side, his first choice was oilers,omark wasnt theirs. he is first in everybodys list in europe, he choosed the second best league and in swedish media he is a free agent next year.

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#19 Stuart
April 10 2009, 10:40AM
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Oilers should sign Omark. If we've got too many of one type of player, than we can trade one away to plug a need. Letting quality walk just because it's duplicated is a waste of assets.

I've got no problem giving Omark a $1,000,000 contract, problem is, it should be a two-way deal, and if I were Omark, I might want to take the guaranteed million. Wouldn't you?

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#20 Chris
April 10 2009, 01:59PM
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I just don't see Omark as being that great... Horcoff (~and we all know what kind of offensive superstar he is~) was able to put up very similar numbers in the SEL during the lockout... against rosters infused with NHL talent. Horcoff brings a long list of intangibles to the ice that Omark does not, and is still hardly considered a first line NHL player by many on this site... I guess the point I'm trying to make is that it's not like the Oilers missed out on a legit first line Left wing prospect...

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