February 04 2012 08:25AM
Linus Omark may be the most qualified player in the Edmonton system to replace Ales Hemsky.
At this point it is difficult to see what the Oilers have planned for RW moving forward. Some things are becoming more clear, however;Jason Gregor's article yesterdaywas very revealing in regard to 83's future with the team, the strongest indicator we've seen so far that the young Czech is headed elsewhere.
Which isn't to say there is no time left to sign Hemsky. However, with the knowledge we have currently it is completely reasonable to suggest the Oilers management group have indeed sussed out their options at RW with Hemsky out f the picture.
What does that look like?
I'm not going to lie, it isn't pretty. The Oilers RWers for skill lines sans Hemsky might look like this:
- Jordan Eberle 47, 20-30-50
- Ryan Jones 51, 12-10-22
- Magnus Paajarvi 33, 0-4-4
- Teemu Hartikainen 5, 0-0-0
- Linus Omark 5, 0-0-0 (injured, likely back with OKC by next weekend)
You could argue Gagner can play that position but center appears to be his strength. So, if the Oilers offload Hemsky at the deadline, which of these young men will get the push?
Jones is the safest bet, an NHL player whose offense has vanished (he's not alone) of late (0-2-2 in his last 10 games). Paajarvi performed well last winter when he got the push, but honestly keeping him in the AHL for the rest of the season might be the better plan. Hartikainen is an interesting option because he has size and is effective down low in battles but has not established himself in this year's look-see like he did last season when recalled from the farm.
Omark is an exceptional skill player, a slow start and an injury have him well down the depth chart. He's an older player compared to someone like Paajarvi, and a Hemsky deal might be his last best chance.
WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN?
A year ago, all of the options we're discussing (Omark, Hartikainen, Paajarvi) performed well at the NHL level. This season has been a different story for the three Euro's and I think Edmonton may hold open auditions for 2line RW using all of them plus Ryan Jones after the deadline.
That's if the Oilers trade Hemsky. Ryan Rishaug's tweet last night in regard to conversations between the two sides offers some hope, but I believe Jason Gregor caught the spirit of the situation covered in his article on Oilers Nation yesterday.
Good organizations have viable options waiting in the wings when dealing off notable talent. I'm not certain the Oilers can say they have the 'Hemsky slot' covered from within at this time.
Nation Radio takes a break this week, but we'll be back with Oiler talk and interviews from across the Nations before you can say 'is that a one-piece?'