Linus Omark: Plotting An NHL Return Through Switzerland

Jonathan Willis
August 29 2012 10:53AM

The Spengler Cup (Abercio/Wikimedia Commons/CC BY-SA 2.0)

This morning, Linus Omark tweeted that he had a new team: Zug, of the top Swiss league. While his detractors undoubtedly will imagine that as the beginning of the rest of his career in Europe, Omark actually chose Zug specifically to enable him to return to the NHL.

Dan Tencer fills in some of the gaps via Twitter:

Linus Omark's agent Patrik Aronsson tells me that they turned down multiple KHL offers and felt Zug was the best fit to get back to the NHL.

Aronsson says that Omark is looking forward to playing a full season of games and is totally focused on one day playing full time in NHL.

I got the sense from Aronsson that a) the pending lockout + b) the Oilers still owning his rights = easy decision to sign overseas for now.

Martin Lunden, also known around the blogs as dohfOs, fills in some more of that picture by translating a piece in a Swedish newspaper. The full quote is here, but here’s an excerpt:

I’ve decided to return to Europe due to the lockout. It’s an especially bad timed lockout for me (personally), seeing I was injured for the majority of last season. Had this been one year ago, I might have been traded earlier - before I got hurt. Basically all I want is to play hockey but if this lockout turns out to be for just 2 months my situation will be even worse. I want to play in the NHL and that’s it. But at this moment, all I can do is to have one heck of a season (in Switzerland) and hopefully that could open up for a return (to the NHL).

Zug and the top Swiss league will be Omark’s fifth club as a professional; he’s previously played in Sweden (with Lulea), in Russia (Moscow), in the AHL (Oklahoma) and of course also has 65 NHL games under his belt with the Oilers.

At this point, a solid season in Switzerland would be the best for all parties. The Oilers obviously haven’t dealt Omark because they haven’t been able to get a decent offer for him; I doubt very much it’s because they see him as a vital part of their long-term plans. If Omark can play well, and catch the attention of some NHL team, then he might get another NHL opportunity sooner rather than later because the Oilers will have a better shot at moving his rights (although the odds of that happening aren't great. Check out other NHL odds here).

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Jonathan Willis is a freelance writer. He currently works for Oilers Nation, the Edmonton Journal and Bleacher Report. He's co-written three books and worked for myriad websites, including Grantland, ESPN, The Score, and Hockey Prospectus. He was previously the founder and managing editor of Copper & Blue.
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#51 Archaeologuy
August 29 2012, 01:52PM
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TigerUnderGlass wrote:
If he played LW he MIGHT have stood a chance

Funny that he did play left wing everywhere else but here.

The Oilers still went ahead and drafted a winger, so Omark would have to beat out one of Eberle, Hall, Hemsky, or Yakupov to play in the top 6.

I think I have the same chances of out playing one of those four in training camp. Skilled or not, it isnt happening.

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#52 justDOit
August 29 2012, 01:54PM
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Archaeologuy wrote:

The Oilers still went ahead and drafted a winger, so Omark would have to beat out one of Eberle, Hall, Hemsky, or Yakupov to play in the top 6.

I think I have the same chances of out playing one of those four in training camp. Skilled or not, it isnt happening.

You're talking about this year. Yes, with Yakupov coming in, Omark's days were numbered. But that doesn't explain how he was shuffled off to OKC and forgotten last season.

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#53 TigerUnderGlass
August 29 2012, 02:02PM
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Archaeologuy wrote:

The Oilers still went ahead and drafted a winger, so Omark would have to beat out one of Eberle, Hall, Hemsky, or Yakupov to play in the top 6.

I think I have the same chances of out playing one of those four in training camp. Skilled or not, it isnt happening.

I don't disagree wit that but it has nothing to do with my point.

If this was anybody but Omark you would agree that it's unfair to change a players position and then be surprised when he doesn't immediately light it up.

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#54 JB83
August 29 2012, 02:14PM
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@justDOit

Я люблю твитов Якупов в! ))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))

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#55 JB83
August 29 2012, 02:16PM
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justDOit wrote:

Twitter is meaningless. It's fluff - hardly to be taken seriously.

Imagine if the world had instant access to your initial thoughts and emotions, without any time in between to cool off. You might say some regrettable things as well.

I must admit, I'm not a twit, so I don't really know what he has transmitted to the 140 character medium. I have heard that he tweeted grumblings about being sent down after a 5 game tryout, playing with MPS and Belanger. If he WASN'T disappointed by that, I would be concerned.

And then in April (?) he tweeted a request for a trade. Probably not wise, but athletes aren't exactly known for their media savy.

Like I said, I've read many interviews with him, and I value his actual words much higher than I do his tweets.

So now that Omark is gone, we can all start concentrating on Yakupov's tweets...

Я люблю твитов Якупов в! ))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))

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#56 justDOit
August 29 2012, 02:17PM
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Archaeologuy wrote:

There was that whole "Not good enough to play in the NHL" thing he had going on

Are you really Tom Renney?

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#57 justDOit
August 29 2012, 02:19PM
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JB83 wrote:

Я люблю твитов Якупов в! ))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))

Relax comrade - even my Russian friends joke about air travel in their homeland, and apparently so did Brad McCrimmond.

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#58 Wäx Män Riley
August 29 2012, 03:37PM
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justDOit wrote:

According to coppernblue, Omarks most frequent linemates in his brief 11/12 showing with the Oilers were MPS and Belanger, with Potter and Barker as most common defense pairing. Gee - why did he screw that opportunity up?

When given a fair chance in the AHL, he's a little better than 1.0 ppg, and last year had a 5 goal game (including a SO goal). He'll lead Zug in scoring this year and will hopefully get a real chance to play in the NHL (with real linemates).

As for his 'attitude', as far as I can tell, he's guilty of being pssd off after being sent to the AHL without a fair chance with the Oilers. And then he tweeted about wanting a trade in April. Seems pretty rational, considering how he was treated.

After being slew-footed in the minors and breaking his ankle, he dedicated himself to getting stronger, spending a lot of time in the gym, and getting back to the ice quickly. In his first game back with OKC, he scored a nice goal and added an assist in a win.

Sometimes it's shocking how people sort of 'absorb' whatever the media spouts. Hemsky's 'bad attitude' and 'body language' stuff, Linus' 'bad attitude'. Really. Go back and read the interviews. He's a passionate player who is driven to play in the NHL. Can't fault that.

He should have been given some quality time in the roster last season, in a 'showcase' similar to Hodgson, to raise his trade value. But it seems Renney and Tambo were too busy trying to build a winner with Lander playing 51 games. Sigh...

No way.

Far cry from the AHL to NHL, and Omark showed he didn't belong on this team.

If he couldn't drive play by making his linemates better, then he doesn't belong. Why does he have to rely on A players to give him points? same goes for PRV.

As far as Lander, yep, he should have stayed in OKC, but his place on The Oilers did not affect Omark in any way. They play different positions.

He is now playing where he belongs. As Arch said above, 2nd rate player in a 2nd rate league.

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#59 Wäx Män Riley
August 29 2012, 03:57PM
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K_Mart wrote:

I agree with much of what you say. I don't feel like his "High Maintenance" label is deserved.

Sure you shouldn't complain when you haven't proven anything. But when he came out and had a great training camp two years ago and was cut for no good reason I don't blame him for claiming it was politics. It was.

However, he has absolutely no place on this team. He is a top 4 winger but is worse than at least 5 of our wingers.

He's just not good enough for this team. I could see him playing top six minutes for Calgary or Columbus though. They are both in need of additional scoring and they are both run by morons.

I think this is a very fair comment about Omark and his place in the league.

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#60 Wäx Män Riley
August 29 2012, 04:00PM
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Spydyr wrote:

Still yet another mismanaged skill player forced to play with plumbers.

To bad his father was not buddies with the GM.He might have been given a fair chance to perform.

Hope he makes it back to show.

He is 25. If he was a player, he would have pushed his linemates.

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#61 Mr PRingles
August 29 2012, 04:18PM
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Omark signs a 1 year deal in switzerland a couple of weeks before the nhl invasion starts there.He couldnt chosen a better leauge to showcase then that.would be great competition and alot of attention from starving na media.

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#62 Archaeologuy
August 29 2012, 04:43PM
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TigerUnderGlass wrote:

I love that Detroit can play a guy like Hudler on the 4th line for almost all of the 10-11 season but in Edmonton you can't be on the 4th line if you are good at hockey.

What does that have to do with Omark? He isnt good at hockey.

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#63 AutoOiler
August 29 2012, 05:01PM
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Archaeologuy wrote:

What does that have to do with Omark? He isnt good at hockey.

He sure looked good in his rookie year. I think advanced stats said the same. Omark pushed the puck in the right direction. Now this past year He fell victim to the Belanger triangle, and "The Render". If there was an exception to the "Belanger Triangle" please educate me. Because no one seemed to play well with him.

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#64 Wäx Män Riley
August 29 2012, 05:36PM
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AutoOiler wrote:

Example see Sheldon Souray.

I considered that before my previous post, but that wasn't out of spite, it was to prove a point. If you don't want to be an Oiler, then beat it. He spread a ton of negativity with his comments to the media.

Souray's comments were of a different order than Linus saying it's politics, which is the only comment I can think of during his time with the team. Souray lambasted the entire organization. What I think is funny about that situation, is Souray was right. Proven by all of the moves that happened that summer.

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#65 Jasmine
August 29 2012, 05:46PM
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Sheldon Souray deserved to be treated the way he was. Under no circumstances should players be allowed to thrash management like Souray did. He deserved everything he got. Now media are saying Souray's contract with Anaheim is a bad contract. Oilers haters will bash the Oilers every chance the get. Why don't the Omark lovers/Oilers haters go cheer for the Swiss team and leave the Oilers alone.

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#66 pelhem grenville
August 29 2012, 06:14PM
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...geez justDOit

at least spell the dead guys' name correctly even when the joke's not funny!!!!!!

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#67 Archaeologuy
August 29 2012, 06:24PM
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@AutoOiler

I disagree about him looking good. Bled chances. Couldnt score. Inept defensively. Not nearly good enough offensively.

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#68 AutoOiler
August 29 2012, 06:27PM
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@Jasmine

Lubomir Visnovsky, Chris Pronger, Danny Heatley and Eric Lindros. Are all players who requested trades from the Oilers or refused to be traded to the Oilers. All happened before Souraygate. Oilers management must except some of the blame for their poor free agent acquisition record.

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#69 AutoOiler
August 29 2012, 06:36PM
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@Archaeologuy

Yeah I went back and looked at his scoring chances for and against. Was far from being as bad as Jones. Which is not a compliment?He wasn't far off the team average. I would have liked the oilers to give Omark a contract similar to Petrells. About a million a year on a two way contract. Omark had the option to go back to Europe if he was being sent to the AHL. He choose to stay in OKC. Because he wanted a shoot at the NHL. I don't call being saddled with Belanger a fair chance.

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#70 Archaeologuy
August 29 2012, 06:53PM
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@AutoOiler

Either way, he isnt good enough to play top 6

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#71 @Oilanderp
August 29 2012, 07:31PM
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Whether or not Linus Omark is an NHL player is a moot point. His story is one of asset mismanagement. Apparently there was no way the Oilers could bring this asset up and put him in a top 6 position in order to inflate his numbers and create the possibility of a trade. He was all over TSN with his shootout spin-o-rama and the fact that the Oilers - whose season was a COMPLETE wash - could not in any way parlay this modest talent into even a 7th round pick is simply a failure. Not even a 7th rounder?!?!? Really?

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#72 Dog Train
August 29 2012, 09:48PM
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Here's hoping that he has a big season so that we can get something for him and he can continue his playing career in another NHL city.

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#73 Reg Dunlop
August 29 2012, 10:54PM
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Starting with a Moose tweet: 'Houston? They gotta have coke there. Saw a picture of a ruskie named Bure, someday I gotta fill that twink in.'

With the puck, Omark is as good as any oiler. Unfortunately thats only about 20% of what makes a hockey player. Still, good luck, Linus.

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#74 Oilcruzer
August 29 2012, 10:58PM
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Linus is the best player he ever met.

Flash sells tickets. He was on the wrong team. Why Columbus or another team looking for a gimmick didn't pick him up surprises me.

Then again, we don't make a living building a team roster.

Were the rumours of a selfish player who tore down locker room chemistry, UNDER reported?

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#75 Bigfan
August 30 2012, 12:34AM
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@justDOit

Moose Tweet: " in Houston today, not sure what time it is ... "

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#76 OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F
August 30 2012, 08:07AM
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Amazing how many people are still fooled by Schremp/Nielson part 3.

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#77 j
August 30 2012, 08:51AM
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Trader Joe wrote:

Asset mismanagement? Tell me how a 25-year old minor leaguer who is eligible for waivers has any value on the trade market. GM's usually don't give up something for a guy who would be on the bubble to make their lineup and would be lost to another team if he didn't make that lineup.

With all of the injuries in the 2010-11 season, Omark got his shot in the NHL (a better shot than any healthy or competitive team would have given him), and it didn't work out. What was Renney supposed to do? Give the guy 21 minutes a night on the top line to inflate his value? So the coach should bench Hall and Eberle just so management can inflate the stats of our fifth round picks and make them more tradeable? Now *that* would be asset mismanagement.

If any NHL GM thought an under-sized one-dimensional whiner was worth even a seventh round pick, they would have acquired him by now.

The Oilers were the worst team in the league last year with arguably the worst 3rd and 4th lines in the NHL. And yet we had players like MPS and Omark in the AHL while Lander and Petrell ate up NHL minutes. Whether you like Omark or not isn't really the point. The point is he (or a similar player) could have helped the Oil last year on the bottom 2 lines. Anyone who suggests Lander had more value in the NHL last year is wearing rose glasses. The Oilers mismanaged this asset. I'm not saying Omark should have been given soft minutes and replaced Hall on the first line but watch the tape - Omark has outstanding puck possession skills. The puck travels in the correct direction when he is on the ice. Lander? Not so much.

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#78 D-Man
August 30 2012, 11:32AM
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j wrote:

The Oilers were the worst team in the league last year with arguably the worst 3rd and 4th lines in the NHL. And yet we had players like MPS and Omark in the AHL while Lander and Petrell ate up NHL minutes. Whether you like Omark or not isn't really the point. The point is he (or a similar player) could have helped the Oil last year on the bottom 2 lines. Anyone who suggests Lander had more value in the NHL last year is wearing rose glasses. The Oilers mismanaged this asset. I'm not saying Omark should have been given soft minutes and replaced Hall on the first line but watch the tape - Omark has outstanding puck possession skills. The puck travels in the correct direction when he is on the ice. Lander? Not so much.

Omark would not have helped the bottom two lines last year... Although he improved his defensive play - he was still lost in his own zone on many occasions... Omark does have outstanding puck possession skills - but he doesn't really bring anything else to the table to give Renney (or any other coach for that matter) the confidence to give him a regular 3 or 4th line shift... His offensive skill set warrants top-six minutes and he is well behind the likes of Hall, Hemsky, Eberle and Yakopov on the depth chart..

I certainly hope Omark has a great season in Switzerland to improve his trade value... I don't really see him cracking any NHL lineup any time soon, but if we could swing a decent AHL prospect or a 3rd round pick for him, we'd be laughing...

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#79 Roilerbot
August 30 2012, 07:26PM
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I think Omark zugs big time. Maybe the Zuggiest oiler last year. He just plain zugs.

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