LINUS OMARK: CAN THIS SWEDISH HOTDOG CUT THE MUSTARD?

Robin Brownlee
April 05 2010 03:10PM

With Sneezy, Sleepy, Dopey, Doc, Happy, Bashful and Grumpy already under contract, the Edmonton Oilers continued their quest to corner the market on runts with sweet hands by adding diminutive Linus Omark to their forward mix today with a two-year entry level deal.

So, is the signing of the 23-year-old Swedish YouTube sensation news worth getting excited about or is Omark, who was drafted 97th overall by the Oilers in 2007, Rob Schremp and Fabian Brunnstrom revisited?

While I'm leaning towards the latter based on Omark's first season with Moscow Dynamo -- a campaign I'm not nearly as impressed with as some people -- I haven't seen enough of him to say for sure.

What's obvious, given his YouTube fame, is Omark is a talented little fellow, generously listed at five-foot-11 and 188 pounds in the Oilers news release, who will come to training camp next September looking for work.

We'll find out soon enough if Oscar Mayer, I mean Omark, can cut the mustard.

DANGLE FACTOR

We asked Pat Quinn today about the signing of Omark. Like most of us asking the questions, Quinn doesn't know much about him, aside from what he's seen in YouTube clips and heard in scouting reports.

"I love skill," Quinn said. "I really do. I love skill that's put to use properly. I'm not a big hotdog fan. I don't like the pretty stuff if it doesn't come up in a result.

"You know, these backhand flip passes that are lofties and everybody in practice, you can hear the players, 'Oooh, isn't that pretty?' Well, it doesn't win a helluva lot of hockey games.

"But, if he's got the kind of skill that come in here and play an NHL game, then I like that . . . even going back to the 1940s and 1950s, I don't care how far you want to go back.

"There's been a lot of people with great skill who have tried to play this game who can't manage it because of different reasons. Skill is a part of the equation. If you've got it and you've got some other stuff to go with it, boy, you're lucky."

DOES IT ADD UP?

Is it just me, or do those first quotes from Quinn basically describe the wow-factor we've been fed on Omark via YouTube?

Looking at Omark's numbers from his first season in the KHL, it's obvious some of his offensive abilities translate to game action. Not NHL game action, yet, but game action nonetheless.

Omark finished 34th in KHL scoring with 20-16-36 in 54 games with Dynamo. For some context, Sergei Mozyakin finished atop the KHL scoring race with 27-39-66, while former Oiler Patrick Thoresen finished sixth with 24-33-57. The guy who used to be Jaromir Jagr was 20th with 22-20-42.

While Omark's numbers were definitely respectable, I also wonder if they're suspect as well, at least in terms of being repeatable as he tries to make the step from KHL to NHL.

Omark's 20 goals with Dynamo came on just 105 shots, giving him a shooting percentage of 19 per cent. Of the 33 players who finished ahead of Omark in scoring, only three players had higher percentages.

That trio is made up of former NHLers -- Jan Bulis was at 20.8, Stanislav Chistov was at 20.7 and Thoresen finished at 20 per cent.

As sweet as Omark's hands appear to be, I'm guessing that 19 per cent rate of his might be a stretch against NHL goaltenders.

Listen to Robin Brownlee Wednesdays and Thursdays from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. on the Jason Gregor Show on TEAM 1260.

Aceb4a1816f5fa09879a023b07d1a9b4
A sports writer since 1983, including stints at The Edmonton Journal and The Sun 1989-2007, I happily co-host the Jason Gregor Show on TSN 1260 twice a week and write when so inclined. Have the best damn lawn on the internet. Most important, I am Sam's dad. Follow me on Twitter at Robin_Brownlee. Or don't.
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#1 quicksilver ballet
April 05 2010, 03:17PM
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Hopefully he's not another Robbie Schremp.

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#2 jake
April 05 2010, 03:22PM
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A positive is he is signed. Let the chips fall where they may.

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#3 dallylamma
April 05 2010, 03:24PM
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As long as he can bring his security blanket on the bench, I'm sure he'll be fine.

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#4 jake
April 05 2010, 03:27PM
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My guess is there is no issue whatsoever with respect to waivers with Omark? Just wondering because of his age.....anyone know?

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#5 Hemmertime
April 05 2010, 03:29PM
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quicksilver ballet wrote:

Hopefully he's not another Robbie Schremp.

Is it worth nothing that Schremps PPG this season would be tied for third on the Oilers with Brule? (of players who've played more than 25 games) So, maybe hoping for Schremp #s in first season would be fine

Schremps only -4 too, which would be good enough for 5th amongst Oiler FW - tho it would likely be worse here... than the freaking Islanders, god damn. Thats painful to type

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#6 The Real Scuba Steve
April 05 2010, 03:29PM
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It will be interesting to how he can play in the NHL, as quicksilver ballet posted I too hope he is not another Robbie Schremp.

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#7 Kizz
April 05 2010, 03:38PM
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It would have been nice to dress him for the last 4 games this year and after watching the coyotes game the other night we need someone who can put the puck in the net in the shootout... he is probably alot better of an option than gilbert there

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#8 Jamie B.
April 05 2010, 03:41PM
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Listening to Gregor's show it sounds like Omark does NOT have a European out-clause in the first year of his contract. He does in the second.

So, worst case scenario, hopefully he gives the fans in Oklahoma something to cheer about. Meh.

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quicksilver ballet wrote:

Hopefully he's not another Robbie Schremp.

I think Rob will be a fine NHLer who will constantly put up 40-50 points. Asking much more from Omark would be irresponsible.

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#11 mike modano's dog
April 05 2010, 04:05PM
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@jake

No problem with waivers because it is a 2 year, 2-way deal, so we can send him up or down as much as we need to during that time.

to: dallylamma - hahahahahaa.... I liked that one!

I am happy that at least we have been able so sign a lot of the guys we have wanted to lately. VandeVelde, Petry (I think), and now Omark, too. So, that is a good sign. I was beginning to be a little concerned because we hadn't signed some of the guys we wanted to, including Riley Nash, who wants to stay in school.

I realize that Nash can become a free agent next year, but I am happy that we at least signed these guys. I was starting to worry.

The question now is what to do with all the smurfs especially now that Omark is signed?

Omark Eberle Nilsson Comrie O'Sullivan (plays small) Cogliano Gagner

Personally, I believe Omark will start the year in the A.H.L., and Comrie may not be re-signed due to this exact reason. That still leaves 5-6 smurfs and I am curious what will be done to get to the 2-3 we can probably afford to have in the line-up at any one time.

Everyone knows we will be getting rid of some of them, but what do you think we will do exactly to get that number down, Robin? What can we expect 3 smurfs to get us on the open market?

It should be interesting.

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#13 GSC
April 05 2010, 04:15PM
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Robin Brownlee wrote:

I don't see Omark displacing anybody on the Oilers roster next season.

If Comrie is allowed to walk and Nilsson and O'Sullivan are traded or bought out, that leaves a manageable group of Eberle, Brule, Gagner and Cogliano on the top three lines.

Robin,

You think Eberle should be on the opening night roster next season? I know the depth chart as of now (minus Comrie, O'Sullivan, and Nilsson) would say so, but don't you think he should spend more time in the A?

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#14 mike modano's dog
April 05 2010, 04:19PM
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@Robin Brownlee

Thanks, Robin.

Now, I want to ask you something about that. I am not an expert at all, but I have heard time and again that we can't keep any more than 2 or 3 of those types of players at any one time.

I realize that Brule is a very physical player, especially for a smaller guy, and Cogliano has been sticking up for himself more lately. But even so, can we keep four of our small guys in the line-up at the same time and NOT get our show run? Even if we sign some muscle to play with them?

Just curious as to your thoughts, and everyone else's thoughts on that. (I have always heard 2 or 3 but don't know why that number is always used as the max. number of smurfs)

Thanks.

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#15 Bombstradamus
April 05 2010, 04:24PM
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@Robin Brownlee

Will Svennson be here next year? Are his numbers in the SEL comparable to Omark's in the KHL? I like Sven's size and thought that would make him a more attractive option next year.

I also still believe that Hemsky and/or Penner (when healthy and not saddling Horcoff) could be top 20 or 30 in the points race. Is that wishful thinking, irresponsible, or both?

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#16 Muji 狗
April 05 2010, 04:26PM
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Methinks the media is making too much of this "smurfs" thing. This isn't a rollercoaster ride: there is no height restriction. We can afford to have a bunch of smaller players. We can't afford to have a bunch of players who play small. Hopefully, Omark doesn't play small.

Also, whatever happens, this is a BIG win for the Oilers procurement department. His hype is Rob Schremp like, but remember that Robbie was drafted in the 1st round. Omark was drafted 97th (97!) overall. He hasn't even played 1 NHL game, but the hype alone has proven that it was quite a steal.

Great job scouts, especially considering the Oilers' history with European prospects.

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#18 Archaeologuy
April 05 2010, 04:32PM
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@mike modano's dog

Smurf talk is over-rated. If the team was made up of big slow guys we'd be talking about how much we need smaller, quicker guys.

Just get me some players that actually produce and I could care less about what size they are. There's no hard cap to amount of players under 6 feet the team should have.

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#19 quicksilver ballet
April 05 2010, 04:32PM
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Perhaps i was being unfair to Mr. Schremp.

It would be helpful if Omark participated in the fine art of poo re-distribution as well, this may help shake that Peter Klima vision i have.

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#20 Bombstradamus
April 05 2010, 04:32PM
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@mike modano's dog

Maybe two or three on your top two lines, but its hard to say when it comes to size. Last year Penner was still 6'4 and played like a smurf. This year Brule was still 5'10 and played like a Shrek.

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#21 Bombstradamus
April 05 2010, 04:34PM
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@Robin Brownlee

A hammer like TooToo?

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#22 Bombstradamus
April 05 2010, 04:36PM
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Oh, wait, I guess he's a smurf too.

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#25 cableguy - 2nd Tier Fan
April 05 2010, 04:45PM
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30lbs in 6 weeks with herbal magic?

atta boy brownlee..atta boy

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#26 Bombstradamus
April 05 2010, 04:46PM
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I comprehend it all, I compared Brule to Shrek, and would love to see Tootoo here, outclassed by heavies or not. Let the heavyweight on the other team play by himself for his 4-5 min a game.

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#27 cableguy - 2nd Tier Fan
April 05 2010, 04:55PM
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play by himself for his 4-5 min

speaking from experience?

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#28 OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F
April 05 2010, 05:00PM
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Archaeologuy wrote:

Smurf talk is over-rated. If the team was made up of big slow guys we'd be talking about how much we need smaller, quicker guys.

Just get me some players that actually produce and I could care less about what size they are. There's no hard cap to amount of players under 6 feet the team should have.

See Oilers up to 2005(ish) all the talk was that we needed some skill.

Just need to find some sort of happy medium.

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#29 Mike Modano's Dog
April 05 2010, 05:05PM
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To: everyone

Thanks for responding. You know what? I agree completely. I also feel that guys like Brule are not a liability in ANY way, and are not part of our size problem despite the fact he is listed at 5'10" generously. I know all of our small guys don't have to play that way but every guy that does can help a lot on this team.

As a smaller player who loved to play a physical game I always valued a team's ability to be able to police the game yourselves. And as a smaller guy, that means having a nuclear deterrent sometimes. I played on a beer league team that had Paxton Schulte on it and wow - what a luxury that was. What a great guy, hilarious, and oh my god, what a difference that guy meant physically for our team. I would sometimes play him physically in practices just for fun, and it was absolutely ridiculous how much stronger he was than me! It would seriously make me laugh out loud sometimes. Awesome guy, great team, fun year - for sure!

I could see us keeping those four, as well, heck, maybe even Nilsson as an extra scorer, as long as the Oilers bring in a knuckle-dragger, to keep the other team honest. (I personally was disappointed that we didn't keep our own nuclear deterrent this year in Steve MacIntyre.)

I was just curious what everyone thought.

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#30 Bombstradamus
April 05 2010, 05:05PM
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@cableguy - 2nd Tier Fan

It really was a toss-up between "by" and "with". Responsibility prevailed.

I just don't see the Boogards and Laraques being around in a couple of years. Who knows, with the new crackdown on headshots, maybe the Tootoos too.

Ha. Tootoos too.

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#31 Swany
April 05 2010, 05:23PM
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RB I doubt the Oil have more than Brule and Gagner left as "smurf" when the dust settles after the summer. You, Stauffer, and Gregor have all said that PattyO and Nilsson are prime for a buyout. Cogs is a good trading chip and I agree with Gregor when he said I don't think the Oil can go to much longer with both Cogs and Gagner so I would suspect Cogs to get delt. So I see Gagner, Brule one of Hall/Seguin and Eberle taking those spots. Hall has to be the pick he is playing way better than Seguin in THIS series (so far) is already 200+ pounds and CAN play centre (for all of those who want a centre)

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#33 Hemmertime
April 05 2010, 07:10PM
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@Robin Brownlee

Wouldnt Nilsson money not be possible. Wouldnt he have to sign for rookie max - tops? Or because of his age would it be different?

Also, is there a max we can do for a % difference in AHL or is that a set #? My understanding of 2-ways is it could be anywhere from 10% your NHL salary to unlimited (or maybe 35-50%). The new CBA though I dont know if that is still correct, might be a fixed % for all I know.

If that was the case having a high % on his contract if he does play in the AHL (say... 400k? We giving Arsene a pretty hefty sum for AHL) because the guy could make more in Europe.

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#35 PaperDesigner
April 06 2010, 12:07AM
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Are Omark's numbers more a product of circumstance, though? His numbers a couple of years ago in the SEL were fantastic. In the range of Swedish players who went on to have careers as NHL stars (Naslund, Forsberg). A little behind, but numbers that suggested he could be a good second line scorer.

I've heard something to the effect that on his team, he was on the second line, and was looking forward to "getting more ice-time" in one of the articles on the signing. Not certain on the validity of his role on the team. It might be a case of him getting stuck behind more established KHL talent.

Or he may have had trouble adjusting to the KHL from the SEL.

I think because of his age, he's a darkhorse to take a roster spot from an Eberle or possibly a Svensson (if he comes over next year), just because he's been playing against men a lot longer than either of those two. Or he might just completely fizzle out.

But his success in two different, tough European leagues, leads me to believe that he's a player. Whether he has the gumption to stick in the AHL and learn the North American game, we shall see.

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#37 madjam
April 06 2010, 09:16AM
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Nice to see he is finally coming over to try his luck here . Longshot to crack line up unless he can bring more than other members of squad of similiar size . Cogliano is a good complimentary player like a lot of our undersized players , but none so far has busted out to be a gifted goal score . I doubt Linus will fare much better . I hope they bring over Magnus this next season as he might be that gifted goal scorer we seek . Hall or Sequin may add to that as well . Hemsky may breakout next season if he can find a teammate more gifted than Horcoff to play with . Horcoff is a dandy player at 1-2 M/season , and we would all be praising how good he is rather than how bad he is as a 5.5 M/season player . Much maligned Moreau this season is still a good salvageable player at a decent price . Pisani is tough to move forward with considering his medical condition over last two seasons . There are some hidden gems in this years draft with some size i'd like to see Oilers take a chance on . In a heavyweight division like the N.W. size is a problem if your team lacks ability to neutalize it like our present squad has not had much success doing . A lot of our fillin callups AHL'ers are just not that good to fill fulltime rolls yet .

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#38 Wanye
April 06 2010, 01:44PM
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Robin Brownlee wrote:

Omark was handily outscored by Patrick Thoresen. Should the Oilers look at bringing him back?

Yeah right. Like he would sign here.

*looks at Thoresen jersey collecting dust in the corner*

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#39 michael clarke
April 06 2010, 04:23PM
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Gregors show on Friday talked about the need/or not for a player to protect the smaller guys and/or the rookies coming onto this team going forward. Team toughness is all well and good in theory. We've all seen how team toughness resulted in a 5.5 million dollar player (Souray) being injured and put out for a good portion of this season. Can you see Hall, Eberle or Omark being given the green light to go ahead and drop the mits? I think Hemsky should drop the gloves too to add to the team toughness. Stortini has proven he is a willing player who can play 7-10 minutes a night. But on alot of nights this season the team has needed more than he is willing to offer. Moving forward I believe that the team needs to do 2 things. First is bring in a bonafide heavyweight to protect the less pugilistic types on the team.Secondly, get another heavyweight . Via free agency, draft, or other. To play in Oklahoma City.If you are going to play an Omark or a Svenson down there the organization had better ensure that those assets are well protected; from the thugery that seems to me have increased over the past two seasons. That includes head shots, hits from behind, and other buffonery. I like skill. But tempered with a little iron on the side. Old school thinking. Maybe.

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#41 Death Metal Nightmare
April 07 2010, 03:07PM
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i wonder if Sam Gagner's sweet ass hands against Russian Flunkies will get him an NHL job at age 18 and then sort of just spin his wheels for 3 years... dudes got sweet dangles, though.

hi, my name is The Present and Chance. im here for everyone, instead of relying on Past projecting to Determinism.

We'll see what Omark can do. Simple as that.

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