DOWN IN THE TUBE STATION AT MIDNIGHT

Lowetide
March 11 2012 10:29AM

Linus Omark is back in the NHL and trying to establish himself as a player. Linus has some nice things but will have to overcome shortcomings (play away from the puck) and bias (Omark's size--especially on a smaller team--is a negative for many). What is Omark good at? What does he have to recommend him?

 

Linus Omark has some things in common with Robbie Schremp--youtube sensations and offensively driven talents both. However, Omark's resume has a few bullet points Hockey Jesus lacked and NHL teams can use. During his rookie season, we were able to see Omark show us

  • Solid scoring at even strength--his 5x5/60 number ranked 4th on last year's Oilers (1.76)
  • He could make hay against soft opposition with lower end linemates and generous zone starts.

That has value, especially on a team like the Oilers--a team with enough skill to ice two skill lines when everyone's healthy but not enough depth to keep it going. This season, Omark started well enough, and the team started extremely well, but he was sent down because the team had waiver options on him and then he got hurt and the heart of the season drifted by in the wink of an eye.

At no time during his injury time (or his games in OKC after coming back) did we hear anything from the organization that implied he was definitely part of the solution. That's a tell, one could argue the Oilers should wear dark glasses when discussing their European kids. Now, he's back and getting his chance to show coaching and management what he's got. In the 3 games since recall, Omark has performed thusly:

In the last 2 games, Omark has been playing with Gagner and Hemsky. His SC total in three games since the callup is 7-15 and he's currently on one of the lines that should be making hay. Still, small sample sizes and all that jazz.

WILL HE BE AN OILER NEXT SEASON?

Under the Steve Tambellini regime, some very productive NHL players have exited (Brodziak the prime example) and Omark is a prime candidate to be in a strange town in the fall. Why? Although Omark has all kinds of skills that we didn't see with Schremp or Robert Nilsson (he's effective cycling the puck and can win battles despite lack of size; he has shown an ability to produce against the soft parade; he has speed and has shown chemistry with players like Paajarvi) the Oilers are running these kids through the chute 6 at a time and there's very little time to show your stuff.

Omark is actually one of the lucky ones in that he got a nice long look in 10-11.

WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN?

When Edmonton signed Ryan Jones and Ben Eager in the summer, it pushed back men like Omark and Hartikainen. The summer moves haven't resulted in any kind of movement in the standings, but the Oilers worship at the feet of the waiver wire and so Omark and Hartikainen once again are waiting in line.

I suspect the wait ends for Omark in the summer. I also believe an NHL team will take a chance on him, either in the fall or after another season for Omark in Europe. Omark's skills are clearly NHL calibre, he showed that a year ago when delivering offense with limited partners.

10-11 5x5/60 among bottom 6 forwards

  • Linus Omark 1.78
  • Ryan Jones 1.38
  • Magnus Paajarvi 1.36
  • Liam Reddox 1.09
  • Zack Stortini 1.07
  • JF Jacques 0.85
  • Steve MacIntrye 0.50
  • Colin Fraser 0.48

The Oilers gave the bottom 6 winger jobs in 11-12 to Eager, Jones, Petrell and Hordichuk. Omark and Hartikainen were down in the tube station at midnight. I suspect Omark's Oiler career died there.

 

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Lowetide has been one of the Oilogosphere's shining lights for over a century. You can check him out here at OilersNation and at lowetide.ca. He is also the host of Lowdown with Lowetide weekday mornings 10-noon on TSN 1260.
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#1 Stocc
March 11 2012, 10:36AM
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Omark is one of the guys I'd love to see succeed simply because of what he could be. I don't know if he's big enough or defensive enough or whether he fills a specific need. I only know how fun it is to see a talented offensive guy do spectacular offensive things.

14:41 against COL, 2 shits, EV SC's 3-6 according to Dennis King SC's

I know you're an advanced stats guy but is it really statistically significant how many bowel movements he takes out there? :)

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#2 cableguy - 2nd Tier Fan
March 11 2012, 12:51PM
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Stocc wrote:

Omark is one of the guys I'd love to see succeed simply because of what he could be. I don't know if he's big enough or defensive enough or whether he fills a specific need. I only know how fun it is to see a talented offensive guy do spectacular offensive things.

14:41 against COL, 2 shits, EV SC's 3-6 according to Dennis King SC's

I know you're an advanced stats guy but is it really statistically significant how many bowel movements he takes out there? :)

~ if omark was a real legit top 6 NHL forward he would be able to hold it like everyone else. ~

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#3 TLHansum
March 11 2012, 01:17PM
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11-12 5x5/60 among bottom 6 forwards

Think this link goes to the 10-11 5x5 60 among bottom 6 forwards page.

Anyway, i just want them to package up some talent, even promising talent, from the front to get something for the back. Its about time. Balance the lineup.

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#4 They're $hittie
March 11 2012, 10:53AM
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Teams may take a shot on Omark, but really on deeper teams does he get a fair chance. Not a supporter or a hater. just a hater of his fans who watch too much youtube and not enough of him out of the offensive zone.

After the oilers draft yakupov where does he really fit in. Yakupov will likely play left wing as right is cemented for two years in the top 6, as will center. On left though i see mps and smyth ahead of him. And 3rd line RW is most likely jones job next year.

Side note, With the failed carter experiment in Columbus, and nash staying in town, if Howsen is gone and all things forgiven, does columbus draft the big center grigs (even though he has no drive and will likely not be a top player in the league, and yes maybe for his first couple of years he is good but look at most top end russians play does not stay consistent, even malkin has had two sub par years).

Either way with the oilers playing the way they are and Renneys insistence on playing the 3 kids together on the road, we are very likely to get yakupov. Why else would you let these three kids get exposed so bad defensively.

please swap hall and omark and have the gagner line take the hard minutes.

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#5 spOILer
March 11 2012, 11:21AM
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From Matheson earlier this week:

Omark has to guage whether he fits with two other players (Jordan Eberle, Sam Gagner) of his ilk and size already here? “If Omark was 6’2″ and 205 pounds would he have a better shot with this team?” Renney was asked. “Yes, he would” said Renney, without hesitation.

We talk about balance all the time, and I think it is fair to say the Oil want some balance between size and lack thereof. There's no denying Omark's compete level--he's miles ahead of Schremp and Nilsson--but compete can only take you so far. The trick would be to turn Omark into an asset that fits that balance better. Matheson speculates in today's Hockey World that there might be a market for Omark this summer.

I think you've mentioned before, LT, that Omark has had the bad luck of coming along at the same time as other players with the same size and more youth and skill. That observation was dead on. Renney goes on to say:

“Timing is everything and as we rebuild and integrate young players into our lineup and a certain type of player (smaller), that’s maybe cost him a bit,” said Renney, “but he’s got terrific skill. He’s got a knack and a courage to play the game and also to try things, not just to throw the puck away but know when to. Give it up to get it back.”

He says elsewhere in the same article that they org views Omark as a top 9 guy who can play top 6 for stretches when necessary. He hopes to give Omark every opportunity to make the most of this audition, including some PP time.

I'm cheering for the kid, but don't think he has the chops for anything but sheltered minutes and he seems awfully old to get that crutch and he seems too old to be waiting on his play away from the puck to mature. The goal against yesterday sticks in my head as typical stuff.

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#6 vetinari
March 11 2012, 11:50AM
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Omark is part of the second tier of youth and talent which will take time to develop, and either make or break the rebuild.

They are the players who ultimately end up being more useful to the team in the long run than guys like Hordichuk (who play 6-8 minutes a game) and at this stage of the season, where nothing is on the line, should be getting 10-15 minutes of icetime a game and some time on the top couple of lines.

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#8 Rob...
March 11 2012, 12:48PM
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Omark is developing some chemistry with Hemsky. I would like to see those two play a lot more together to close out the season. If that chemistry seems stable and productive it would be worth keeping Omark.

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#9 Dog Train
March 11 2012, 01:10PM
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I'm not sure where Omark fits in but he needs to be given this opportunity. I hope he gets a fair chance.

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#11 Stocc
March 11 2012, 01:36PM
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cableguy - 2nd Tier Fan wrote:

~ if omark was a real legit top 6 NHL forward he would be able to hold it like everyone else. ~

Not only did this get a legitimate LOL out of me but now I'm speculating that the reason for the bottom six forwards getting less ice time is due to all the pants changing that must go on.

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#13 David S
March 11 2012, 02:02PM
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This team desperately needs players with courage and determination, something many of the "vets" seem to be lacking. If anything, Hemsky has been the one letting down Omark and Gagner. Dude simply isn't finishing the dishes the kids are setting up for him.

I also have to wonder why it's so hard to comprehend three scoring lines. Wouldn't that be the ultimate hard team to defend against?

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#14 Stocc
March 11 2012, 02:08PM
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@Lowetide

Here's all that Matheson had to say about Omark:

Market for Omark? Is there a market for Linus Omark if the Edmonton Oilers feel he's redundant because he's small like Jordan Eberle, Sam Gagner and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins? Yes, according to a well-respected NHL team management type who was very high on the Swedish winger when Omark was playing in Europe, before the Oilers brought him over two years ago. "If another team feels Omark can play in their top six, I don't think there's any question the Oilers can get something good for Omark in a trade if they want to trade him. The key is finding that team," said the NHL team executive.

Full article is here.

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#16 Stocc
March 11 2012, 02:09PM
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Lowetide wrote:

One would think it would have a bigger impact on the defense. :-)

There's a reason they refer to them as the "back end".

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#17 David S
March 11 2012, 02:12PM
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Lowetide wrote:

We shouldn't even talk about three scoring lines. The Oilers roll that out every damn summer and every damn summer we fans start dreaming and thinking about gold in them there hills.

And every winter the Oilers have three forwards who don't need a damn stick.

I'm off that old three scoring lines business. Complete and utter bull. The Oilers don't plan on having three scoring lines.

Ever.

Despite the fact that we have enough decent players in the pipe to make this dream a reality. Too bad.

Omark/PRV/Harti Done.

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#19 Yourmomthinksimhot
March 11 2012, 02:16PM
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They're $hittie wrote:

Teams may take a shot on Omark, but really on deeper teams does he get a fair chance. Not a supporter or a hater. just a hater of his fans who watch too much youtube and not enough of him out of the offensive zone.

After the oilers draft yakupov where does he really fit in. Yakupov will likely play left wing as right is cemented for two years in the top 6, as will center. On left though i see mps and smyth ahead of him. And 3rd line RW is most likely jones job next year.

Side note, With the failed carter experiment in Columbus, and nash staying in town, if Howsen is gone and all things forgiven, does columbus draft the big center grigs (even though he has no drive and will likely not be a top player in the league, and yes maybe for his first couple of years he is good but look at most top end russians play does not stay consistent, even malkin has had two sub par years).

Either way with the oilers playing the way they are and Renneys insistence on playing the 3 kids together on the road, we are very likely to get yakupov. Why else would you let these three kids get exposed so bad defensively.

please swap hall and omark and have the gagner line take the hard minutes.

Jesus man, did Grigorenko sleep with your sister or something? Or are you an actual scout, because until the guy is playing in the NHL and displaying this apparent lack of drive/consistency, maybe its not the best idea to be bashing him on this site.

Also, the oilers very well may be drafting Grigs, so its best to accept it now and be happy on your own terms if we dont draft him.

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#20 Saytalk
March 12 2012, 05:48AM
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So if 3 forwards can't back-check, you can just call them a "scoring line" and they get a free pass. 2 scoring lines is enough.

On another topic, are there any updates on what Robbie Schremp has been up to lately?

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#21 Dman09
March 12 2012, 08:31AM
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Well I say trade Gags and Omark + and get a top defenseman. Draft Gregor to replace Gags.

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#22 Evilas
March 12 2012, 10:32AM
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The biggest disappointment for me this season, other than the poor team results has been the seeming unwillingness to play Omark with Lander and PRV. They had one shift together early in the season, and they were buzzing the opposition net. I thought there was something there, and have been waiting for it ever since. I think these 3 would make a tremendous 3rd line next year. And I do think there should be 3 scoring lines, it is so frustrating to watch the 3rd and 4th lines completely useless. Until we get consistent depth contributions, the Oilers will never make it to the post-season.

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#23 D-Man
March 12 2012, 11:52AM
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Evilas wrote:

The biggest disappointment for me this season, other than the poor team results has been the seeming unwillingness to play Omark with Lander and PRV. They had one shift together early in the season, and they were buzzing the opposition net. I thought there was something there, and have been waiting for it ever since. I think these 3 would make a tremendous 3rd line next year. And I do think there should be 3 scoring lines, it is so frustrating to watch the 3rd and 4th lines completely useless. Until we get consistent depth contributions, the Oilers will never make it to the post-season.

I hear what you're saying, but then I think you'd see your top three lines looking like this...

Hall-RNH-Eberle

Smyth-Gagner- Hemsky

Omark-Lander-MPS

See a problem?? Your top three lines have no toughness and can pushed off the puck easily... We'd have a subpar faceoff tandem (although RNH and Gagner are getting better) and I'm guessing you'd also have some important guys on the PK like Horcoff and Belanger getting no more than 8 minutes per game...

Realistically, we have too many players with the same ilk... Skilled, too small without exceptional speed...

How I see it is that the organization needs to make a decision on Gagner vs Omark coming up to this draft... Although they're in different positions both guys are small with great hands... We've already committed ourselves to Hemsky/Ebs/Hall/RNH in our top six with Paajarvi on the wings... With having almost a lock on the 2nd pick overall - we have options... Should the organization say Omark's their guy - look to move Gagner and draft Gregorenko (apologies for the poor spelling) to be your #2 center... If they keep Gagner (which I think they will) - deal Omark and you have more options with potentially drafting a d-man with that 2nd pick...

I know - it's sad that Omark might be a casualty and one might argue that he wasn't really given a fair shake - but such is life on a rebuilding hockey team...

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#24 Evilas
March 12 2012, 12:30PM
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D-Man wrote:

I hear what you're saying, but then I think you'd see your top three lines looking like this...

Hall-RNH-Eberle

Smyth-Gagner- Hemsky

Omark-Lander-MPS

See a problem?? Your top three lines have no toughness and can pushed off the puck easily... We'd have a subpar faceoff tandem (although RNH and Gagner are getting better) and I'm guessing you'd also have some important guys on the PK like Horcoff and Belanger getting no more than 8 minutes per game...

Realistically, we have too many players with the same ilk... Skilled, too small without exceptional speed...

How I see it is that the organization needs to make a decision on Gagner vs Omark coming up to this draft... Although they're in different positions both guys are small with great hands... We've already committed ourselves to Hemsky/Ebs/Hall/RNH in our top six with Paajarvi on the wings... With having almost a lock on the 2nd pick overall - we have options... Should the organization say Omark's their guy - look to move Gagner and draft Gregorenko (apologies for the poor spelling) to be your #2 center... If they keep Gagner (which I think they will) - deal Omark and you have more options with potentially drafting a d-man with that 2nd pick...

I know - it's sad that Omark might be a casualty and one might argue that he wasn't really given a fair shake - but such is life on a rebuilding hockey team...

I agree with the lack of size, but moving forward:

1 Penner - RNH - Eberle 2 Hall or Hartikainen - XX (Gregorenko or Hall at C) - Hemsky 3 Tre Kroner 4 Smyth - Horcoff - Eager

Trade Gagner + (2013 2nd, Jones, 2 of Peckham, Plante, Barker, Potter) to Chicago for Seabrook or Keith, or to Phoenix for OEL

Trade 2012 1st, Belanger, 2 of Peckham, Plante, Barker, Potter, Tuebert) to Nashville for Suter or Weber

I think Gagner has reached his ceiling, and Omark hasn't come close. I don't think the Oilers are a playoff team with Gagner in the mix. He is more valuable as a trade asset.

As they did last year, management needs to get rid of dead weight and cash them in for something of value moving forward. The blue line must be bolstered with 2 legit top minutes Dmen and there must be more size up front.

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#25 D-Man
March 13 2012, 11:43AM
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Evilas wrote:

I agree with the lack of size, but moving forward:

1 Penner - RNH - Eberle 2 Hall or Hartikainen - XX (Gregorenko or Hall at C) - Hemsky 3 Tre Kroner 4 Smyth - Horcoff - Eager

Trade Gagner + (2013 2nd, Jones, 2 of Peckham, Plante, Barker, Potter) to Chicago for Seabrook or Keith, or to Phoenix for OEL

Trade 2012 1st, Belanger, 2 of Peckham, Plante, Barker, Potter, Tuebert) to Nashville for Suter or Weber

I think Gagner has reached his ceiling, and Omark hasn't come close. I don't think the Oilers are a playoff team with Gagner in the mix. He is more valuable as a trade asset.

As they did last year, management needs to get rid of dead weight and cash them in for something of value moving forward. The blue line must be bolstered with 2 legit top minutes Dmen and there must be more size up front.

Penner?? Are you kidding??! He's struggling on a team with a better supporting cast - why would you want him back??

Also - you're not getting Seabrook/Keith/Suter/Weber for what you're putting on the table... Maybe on NHL 2012 on your XBox, but not in the here or now... You don't offer substandard players and expect bonafide #1 defensemen... That simply doesn't happen...

You also forget that Gagner is 22 years old; Omark is approaching 25 years... Omark has had more time to prove his ilk - and he hasn't...

Although I agree that we need more size and better D-men, you're not getting them the way you're suggesting...

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