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.
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.