MILES TO GO

Lowetide
April 22 2012 09:13AM

The playoffs are underway in the American Hockey League, but the offensive leader--and most talented offensive player--is not on the roster. Edmonton and Oklahoma fans will say goodbye to Linus Omark over the summer, but we shouldn't be surprised if he lands in another NHL city and thrives.

NHL equivalencies are the brain child of Gabriel Desjardins, the man who gave us behind the net for those days when we simply have to find an answer to questions like "how tough an opponent is Taylor Hall up against every night?" and have nowhere to go.

Gabe's NHL equivalencies have certainly stood the test of time, and in the case of the AHL we nick all players by .44 when placing them into the NHL. Here are the NHL equivalencies for OKC Barons forwards in 11-12.

RIDDLE ME THIS BATM...ER WOMAN!

OKC BARONS NHLE’S—FORWARDS (all per 82gp)

NAME

G

A

PTS

LINUS OMARK

12

20

32

MAGNUS PAAJARVI

7

20

27

JOSH GREEN

11

15

26

RYAN KELLER

11

14

25

TEEMU HARTIKAINEN

10

13

23

MARK ARCOBELLO

8

13

21

PHIL CORNET

13

7

20

HUNTER TREMBLAY

8

8

16

TYLER PITLICK

4

9

13

ANTON LANDER

3

10

13

CHRIS VANDE VELDE

4

8

12

ANTTI TYRVAINEN

4

8

12

TANNER HOUSE

4

7

11

TRISTON GRANT

7

3

10

CURTIS HAMILTON

4

6

10

MILAN KYTNAR

3

5

8

RYAN MARTINDALE

0

5

5

CAMERON ABNEY

0

0

0

Omark is the class of the group, no surprise there. Edmonton's skill wingers of the future are all on the team and younger than Omark, save for Nail Yakupov and he'll pass the Swede on draft day. I believe the Oilers are missing out on a tremendous young player, but when the competition is Hall, Eberle, Hemsky and Yakupov then these things will happen. But please don't try to tell me the Oilers have an interest in three scoring lines. They don't, and proof will come when Omark is sent away this summer.

Magnus Paajarvi's NHLE is in line with his rookie NHL season, we could see the same player following up MP's 80, 15-19-34 debut in the NHL a year ago. I think the organization will try Paajarvi in a third line role this coming season with established linemates (say, Smyth and Horcoff or Belanger) and he'll get a full season to show he can play in a support role.

Teemu Hartikainen is in many ways the most interesting player of the group. Hartikainen's size and grit make him a "perfect fit" or close to based on team need. I can see the Oilers giving him a long look at training camp, hoping he'll bring some muscle and a physical presence to one of the kid lines. Enormous opportunity for Hartikainen, depending on players signed and traded away.

Anton Lander had a tough NA debut, struggling badly in most areas at the NHL level and given little time to regroup in the AHL before the playoffs. I'm not certain his NHL time or the AHL numbers give us a true reading of him as an offensive player. We know it'll be shy of Paajarvi, but he'll get a chance again next year to play a regular shift and establish himself in North America.

Much has been made of the offensive output of Tyler Pitlick and Curtis Hamilton this year, notably an article by Jonathan Willis yesterday here at Oilers Nation. It focused on Pitlick, but the same things can be said of the former Saskatoon Blade as well. I mostly agree with Jonathan's points, but would suggest there is a significant part of the equation missing from the discussion.

TIME ON ICE

If Tyler Pitlick's NHLE above comes on 14 minutes a night at evens plus 2 on the PP then this is not a player who will be able to survive offensively in the NHL.

If however--and I think there's evidence--Pitlick didn't become a regular in the traditional sense of the word until late into the season then the number above is likely unfair to Pitlick. In his last 23 games (including the 2 playoff games), Pitlick has posted 4-10-14 numbers. If he maintained that over an entire season, his NHLE would be 82gp, 6-16-22. Certainly not close to being a candidate for one of the skill lines, but given his other skills it would put Pitlick in a position to be a 3 or 4 line solution.

WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN?

I agree with Jonathan's overall view on the subject, and do believe Pitlick will end up being a 3 or 4 line contributor. However, the time on ice omission (it isn't Jon's fault, TOI in AHL is not available) is a major one, and I think there's a degree of danger is making a decision on a player so early in his pro career. Jason Chimera didn't do much as an AHL rookie, but blossomed when the opportunity to play presented itself. I think we need more evidence before making any kind of call on Pitlick or Hamilton. Miles to go.

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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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#51 pelhem grenville
April 23 2012, 05:26AM
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...too many I's in every way this lil fellow spells team...it's been his attitude toward his employer that has been his undoing all along...he has sulked and has made very stupid comments via the media and the twitters...he might have been in the AHL playoffs but decided to be an anus...

now where is he?

Oilers get very little for him because he's branded himself as a malcontent...he won't ever burn the Oilers with goals because he won't be able to play against the Oilers in Russia or Europe...

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#52 Copperblueandwhite
April 23 2012, 10:24AM
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I'm with Brownlee, this guy's a hot dog..he'll look good in a SKA uniform...trade him for a spare part and then trade all the spare parts.

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#53 Mulli35
April 23 2012, 10:27AM
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I've tried to do a lot of digging for a comprable for Omark and the best fit I've come up with is Fleischman and I think it's not that far off. Numbers are similar early in their careers and the eyeball test seems close. Skilled player that given the right fit and opportunity can put up points, has streaks of inconsistency and can be essentially invisible without said fit. Unfortunate that we'll lose him for pennies on the dollar but it's clear that fit he truly needs to succeed doesn't exist in Edmonton (or if it did will not come at the expense of better young talent).

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#54 Badger
April 23 2012, 02:58PM
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As some other people have alluded to, I don't think Omark's skill is in question, his attitude is. He'll find a home on another team that need his skill enough that they can ignore his attitude. So what's the deal with Hamilton anyway? Pitlick sounds like he just needs to hone his hockey sense....get better at forechecking, awareness, and such. Now Hamilton, I'm hearing its his skating. Is that right? I think its easier to learn then re-learn, so hopefully that isn't what's holding him back with the Barons.

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#55 nuge2nail
April 25 2012, 11:38AM
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Omark plays bigger than most small guys around the NHL. I can see him developing into a Martin St.Louis type forward, hes smart, creative and he works hard.

My fear is the Oilers will trade him for a 3rd rounder, one of our top 6 wingers will get injured (Nail, Eberle, Hall, Hemsky) and we will not have a Omark type skilled forward to come into the lineup.

Another Year in the AHL/NHL would be best for the organization, would hate to see Omark on the wings - providing Detroit with depth offense that our team could possibly need.

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