THE WAY I SEE IT: KUDOS FOR OMARK

Robin Brownlee
August 27 2013 04:19PM

When reality hits, it can produce equal but opposite reactions, and that's what we've seen these past two weeks with the departure of Toni Rajala to Europe and the signing of Linus Omark to a one-year, two-way deal by the Edmonton Oilers today.

Rajala, who had one year remaining on his contract with the Oilers, was looking at a return to Oklahoma City the AHL, where he would have made a relatively modest $50,000. With no immediate chance he'd crack Edmonton's roster (or get a one-way contract) that didn’t stack up very well with the kind of money Rajala could earn in Europe. Reality check. He opted for the money.

The unquestionably talented Omark, who just tore it up in the Swiss Elite League, returns to the fold here because his exploits across the pond didn’t generate the kind of interest – next-to-none -- he and his agent hoped it would in having the Oilers move him along to another team.

Omark could've made more money returning to Switzerland this season than the $100,000 he'll get in the AHL with this one-year deal, but this past season was a lesson that lighting it up over there wasn't going to do much to further his desire to play in the NHL. Reality check. Omark has opted for opportunity (and the chance to shove it to his critics) .

I say good for Omark. How refreshing.

PUT UP OR SHUT UP

Last week, when the 22-year-old Rajala and the Oilers mutually agreed to part ways, I wrote: "I don’t understand all the fuss over Rajala, just as I didn’t understand the brief uproar from a vocal minority about Omark when he went home after failing to do enough to secure a spot on Edmonton's NHL roster. Why didn’t the Oilers at least trade Omark for some assets in return? Well, maybe because there wasn't much interest by any of the other 29 NHL teams. Let’s start there."

I'm not nearly as ga-ga about Omark as some people out there are. I don’t get torqued up one way or another about things like "controversial" spin-o-rama moves in shootouts, but I give Omark credit for swallowing a heaping helping of humble pie – and, make no mistake, that's what the lack of interest and indifference about him from the other 29 NHL GMs was – and being willing to come back and raise his stock by taking this two-way deal.

With just 65 NHL games (and 30 points) on his resume, Omark, for all his offensive flash and crowd-pleasing moves, hasn’t done nearly enough to earn a one-way deal from the Oilers or anybody else, even he thought otherwise. When GM Craig MacTavish told us earlier this off-season he'd had no action on Omark, he wasn't kidding.

So, here we are. Omark returns with a chance to make $600,000 on top in the unlikely event he sticks with the Oilers and $100,000 on the farm. Omark is saying all the right things in interviews he's granted so far. Will he prove the doubters wrong? I don't know, and I have my doubts, but good on him for coming back to take a swing at it.

WHILE I'M AT IT . . .

. . . I don't see Omark as a fit with the Oilers in the long-term, given the make-up of their top six forwards now, and I'm not so sure we'll see him with Boyd Gordon and Ales Hemsky on a third line, as has been speculated. I don't see Hemsky as a fit (at least a happy one) on the third line, either.

. . . While MacTavish is willing to entertain at least a brief encore by Omark and will obviously be in on shaping the roster, a lot of what happens as camp and pre-season unfolds will depend on what new coach Dallas Eakins sees. I know a lot of fans, and with justification, expect MacT (and Kevin Lowe) to have their fingerprints on every decision, but I don’t think for a second Eakins has signed on to be a puppet or a yes-man.

. . . Why is it some people still doubt that Devan Dubnyk is a bonafide NHL starter? I don’t get it. Has he proven he's in the upper tier of NHL starters? No. Will he? I don’t know. I'm tempted, however, to tear out what little hair I still have when people question whether he's a legit No. 1. Check his numbers. Figure out where those numbers put him in the pecking order of 30 starters. Now, project what those numbers might be if actually gets to play behind a defense that is NHL caliber from one through six. Hmm.

. . . In the Radio Ga-Ga department, Oiler president Patrick Laforge let it slip today that 630 CHED play-by-play man Jack Michaels and Bob Stauffer, analyst and host of Oilers Now, have had their contracts extended. I'm guessing their deals are for between two and four years.

Listen to Robin Brownlee Wednesdays and Thursdays from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. on the Jason Gregor Show on TEAM 1260.

Aceb4a1816f5fa09879a023b07d1a9b4
A sports writer since 1983, including stints at The Edmonton Journal and The Sun 1989-2007, I happily co-host the Jason Gregor Show on TSN 1260 twice a week and write when so inclined. Have the best damn lawn on the internet. Most important, I am Sam's dad. Follow me on Twitter at Robin_Brownlee. Or don't.
Avatar
#51 106 and 106
August 28 2013, 12:36AM
Trash it!
4
trashes
Cheers
1
cheers

@DSF

Dude, Raymond can't see. 30 GM's know that or he would be signed already.

Avatar
#52 VK63
August 28 2013, 08:59AM
Trash it!
4
trashes
Cheers
1
cheers

It seems a rather cavalier usage of a spot on the 50 man roster. YES they have room and YES they have NO money... but essentially this is a depth move for the AHL. Is he really the best available option?

As an obvious upside he would be quite good for dman development in one on one drills, or goalies in shoot out practice.... beyond that.... he seems a rather redundant choice given the smallish, softish, turn over ish, non 200 foot game lads already on "big" deals.

Puzzling

Avatar
#53 Rotten Ron
August 28 2013, 09:28AM
Trash it!
6
trashes
Cheers
1
cheers

I am curious how people who claim Omark has "grit" or is "strong on the boards" come to this conclusion. I've seen no evidence of it. A third line with Hemsky and Omark is preposterous no matter whos down the middle.

Avatar
#54 stevesmith
August 28 2013, 09:36AM
Trash it!
2
trashes
Cheers
1
cheers

@DieHard

The stupid defence, brilliant. Provide examples of the Oilers bottom six superior to Raymond. You wont because you cant.

Avatar
#55 tileguy
August 28 2013, 10:22AM
Trash it!
1
trashes
Cheers
1
cheers

for those who haven't seen it, go look at this you tube of Omarks goals, it is so entertaining you will watch it more than once.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oiGxP8v5_Fg#t=163

Avatar
#56 stevesmith
August 28 2013, 03:21PM
Trash it!
4
trashes
Cheers
1
cheers
DieHard wrote:

Hemsky

Not true. Hemsky is injury prone, has a poor attitude, 3 years older, plays a one dimensional game. Raymond is faster, younger, put up more points playing same ice time while playing both ends of the ice and he kills penaltys. Hemsky is far overpaid and like it or not in a cap world is a huge issue. A far better option for a bottom six forward.

Avatar
#57 Kevrock
August 28 2013, 06:36PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
1
cheers

@MessyEH!

That was Ranford more then Fuhr but great point, better than being known as the guy that lets the beach ball in from the blue line once every 3-5 games...no wait that was Salo. DD is awesome and the point of having a better D in front will make all the difference. Crappy part is were going to have a big bill to keep him after this year.....

Omark is a pimp , no doubts he won't make this team because I think Eakins is going to push 3 attack lines and 1 shut-down. I really don't understand why more can't embrace the concept that the best defence is a great offence!

Avatar
#58 BorjeSalming-IanTurnbull
August 28 2013, 07:04PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
1
cheers

I want to see Omark playing a solid responsible 3rd line LW. Use him on the second PP feeding Yak in the high slot. I would put him up there with the best play makers on the team. After the sufferings of the 3rd and 4th lines of the last 5 years I pray that they put someone in there that can put up some points.

At a $600,000 two way deal the options are endless. In the end I think we will see a goal Datsyuk(13)assists Zetterberg(31)Omark(17)

Avatar
#59 j
August 28 2013, 08:39AM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

As pointed out here and elsewhere, there aren't many teams that succeed in the playoffs without size in the lineup. However, the regular season is a different beast altogether. What if the new Oiler's vision (i.e. MacT) is to run a skill lineup right through to the trade deadline and then start adding a bit of crust? This gives the fans excellent hockey all season and the best chance of playoff success. As a longstanding Oiler fan, I'd buy into that.

Avatar
#60 Oil Noggin
August 28 2013, 06:18PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

Remember a time when Quinn put Sammy Gags at the back of the batting order, and he came out like holy terror and played (fought) his butt off to prove he needed a promotion. Those players weren't much either. If Omark grabs that attitude he might stick otherwise, oh well, another oil bust. Would like a signing to pay off for a change.

Avatar
#61 dobiezeke
August 28 2013, 11:00PM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers
Rocknrolla wrote:

Also some forget how potent he was at possession.

He was a demon with the puck on the boards. Very hard to knock off the puck. With line mates who can get to scoring positions he should do well with the cycle.

I think the right line mates will be key for him and with Eakins blank slate policy, I see him doing well and pushing Perron.

He's gotta work on defending and giveaways, but desperation will help his effort.

Never mind our PP2 just got a boost. Other teams PK is going to hate us:

PP1--Yak, nuge, hall, Ebs, Jultz

...then PP2---Hemmer, Omark, Perron, belov, gags

These guys will score a lot of PP

Yes, a demon on the puck on the boards...much like Burmistrov in Winnipeg last season.

Avatar
#62 Reagan
August 29 2013, 06:25AM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

I found it quote hilarious over the last couple of days listening to the reaction of many local media kinda chew on their pencils after this surprise handed to us. All I could think was Kevin Lowe saying expect the unexpected... Lol well if the guy has an attitude adjustment and busts his butt of five him a chance to play. It will only help the team out! Let's see what happens... Haha

Avatar
#63 Old Retired Guy (A.K.A. Die-Nasty)
August 29 2013, 07:50AM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers
Hayek wrote:

Curious why people label Omark, who often have not actually watched him play, or can accurately remember what he brings to the table.

Omark is surprisingly good in the corners, and not just for someone his size. His active stick is above average, and his ability to strip the puck from opponents is easily tops on the team.

I think if he was listed at 6'0, 190lbs, and played the exact same game as he does now, people would have a drastically different perspective on him. But most can't look past height and weight to realize what he actually brings to a lineup at even strength.

I'm not being sarcastic when I ask, if what you say is true, how do you explain that not a single GM in the entire league was interested in him?

Avatar
#64 stevesmith
August 29 2013, 09:41AM
Trash it!
0
trashes
Cheers
0
cheers

@DieHard

By what standards? You keep saying hes better but provide no proof.

Comments are closed for this article.