August 27 2013 10:00AM
The Edmonton Oilers announced this morning that they had signed Linus Omark to a one-year contract.
Bob Stauffer offers the explanation for what changed:
Landscape for Linus changes with willingness to accept 2-way deal. Value increases, more options open up for him— Bob Stauffer (@Bob_Stauffer) August 27, 2013
Omark returns to North America shows what he can do for a year, whether it is in NHL or AHL and becomes a free agent at end of 1 year deal— Bob Stauffer (@Bob_Stauffer) August 27, 2013
The Oilers likely would always have taken Omark back on a two-way deal, but the player clearly felt he'd proven he was better than the AHL. My guess is that after looking around for a new home this summer, Omark got a better idea of what his NHL stock was, and decided that a two-way contract made sense.
As for Edmonton, with the departure of Toni Rajala the Oklahoma City Barons were looking awfully light on firepower; Omark is an exceptional scorer at that level and offers the Oilers another recall option.
What I Expect
It would be something of a surprise if Omark cracked the Oilers' roster out of training camp. While he is a good player there simply isn't room in the top-six and he's a bad fit for a Boyd Gordon line oriented toward defence. With the number of one-way conmtracts the Oilers are carrying, it would take something exceptional for Omark to force his way on to the roster.
But that isn't what this is about for Omark; this is a move designed to get him into the NHL. He already saw that a fantastic year in Switzerland wasn't enough to get the interest of NHL teams - the question isn't his scoring ability, it's the rest of his game. If he shows well in training camp, he might get a team interested when he's sent down to the minors (as he needs to clear waivers). If he clears waivers but shows well in the AHL, he's more likely to land an NHL contract next season.
The Oilers are bringing in a guy who has decided that he wants to play in the NHL more than he wants to make the easy money in Europe. This season is about Omark proving what he can bring; he's going to be highly motivated and it's never a bad thing to have a driven guy with real ability in the system, even if he has rubbed some people the wrong way in the past.
Recently around the Nation Network
At NHL Numbers, Justin Azevedo digs a little deeper into Matt Stajan - who breathed some life into his career with a strong performance last season - and aks if we've been underrating him all along:
Stajan has had three seasons where he's been a top-6 forward by any measure and another outlying season where he was unfairly lambasted by both fans and coach alike - which is odd considering the coach is the one that positioned Stajan to fail. He might not be able to make his teammates in the top-6 better, but he can play with them to the degree necessary. He pushes play forward and scores at a good rate while costing about the average amount for his position.
Click the link above to read more, or check out some of my recent stuff: