Farm Crop Looks Good Early

This is Linus Omark. He’s starting to find the range in Oklahoma, and would have to be considered a strong option for callup when injuries hit or slumps continue. Just how well is he doing with the Barons? The best way to look at prospects and how they’ll adjust to the NHL game is to have a long look at even-strength statistics. Omark is a very effective player. 

The Oklahoma City Barons have played enough hockey for us to get a good idea about each player’s current level of ability. Although staring at the boxcars is fun, this tends to skew the view since it is extremely unlikely that any AHL player will spend a lot of time on an NHL powerplay upon recall. A possible exception would be Linus (the pinus) Omark. The young Swede is showing splendid progress at even strength. Here are the OKC forwards and the EV numbers:

  1. Linus Omark 14gp, 5-3-8
  2. Brad Moran 14gp, 3-5-8
  3. Liam Reddox 14gp, 4-3-7
  4. Alex Giroux 14gp, 3-4-7
  5. Colin McDonald 14gp, 4-1-5
  6. Teemu Hartikainein 14gp, 2-2-4
  7. Milan Kytnar 13gp, 1-3-4
  8. Ryan O’Marra 14gp, 0-4-4
  9. Matt Marquardt 8gp, 1-1-2
  10. Chris Vande Velde 13gp, 1-1-2
  11. Ben Ondrus 14gp, 1-1-2
  12. Gregory Stewart 10gp, 0-1-1
  13. Philippe Cornet 10gp, 0-1-1

AHL rookies in bold, Omark is not considered a rookie due to his experience in the SEL and KHL. He’s a rugged winger despite his lack of size (5.10, 175) and should be able to impact a game in more than one way. He’s been caught cherry picking a little and his coach says he needs to learn a little more about how to play away from the puck (source: Bob Stauffer interview on Team 1260).

However, he’d be my choice for first callup from this list. Other items of interest include a nice run from veterans Reddox and McDonald and some nice offense from Hartikainen and Kytnar. All four rookies should be better in the season’s second half, although Philippe Cornet appears to be lagging behind the group. Vande Velde started slowly but has improved in the last few games.

I’d also like to make special mention of Liam Reddox and Ryan O’Marra, who play the PK often and would have to be considered for callup based on the Oilers most glaring need. Now the blue.

  1. Shawn Belle 14gp, 0-4-4 -4
  2. Jeff Petry 14gp, 1-2-3 -8
  3. Taylor Chorney 14gp, 0-3-3 +2
  4. Richard Petiot 14gp, 0-3-3 +2
  5. Alex Plante 14gp, 1-1-2 E
  6. Johan Motin 11gp, 1-0-1 +2

There’s some chaos on that top pairing but the other kids (Chorney, Plante and Motin) are settling in well. If the Oilers were the Red Wings they’d keep the whole damn bunch on the farm until 2011 fall. Chorney could use at least a year of this and Petry is spending a lot of time playing Meg Ryan in The Deal (which is to be expected).


A conservative estimate: there are three defensemen who are keeping Tom Renney up late at night: James Vandermeer, Jason Strudwick and Kurtis Foster (and not in that order).

Footspeed issues, chaos puck movement and all those forwards flying by and making the blue look like a house on the side of the road are the stuff of nightmares.Which leaves him Ryan Whitney, Tom Gilbert, Ladislav Smid trying to establish himself as a top 4 defender and a still developing Theo Peckham.

Who do you recall? Petry needs more time, Chorney is having some success and Plante is very similar in style to Vandermeer and Strudwick. I suspect it’s Belle or Petiot. The kids aren’t ready.


The Oilers have all kinds of options. Reddox and O’Marra can PK, and O’Marra might be a reasonable option in the faceoff circle (the AHL doesn’t release the FO information, they fear the world would go all Reefer Madness). But I think Omark is the most interesting item on the farm. Scoring goals is still the hardest thing to do in hockey, and Omark seems able.

  • C-DOG

    With those +/- #’s is it safe to say that Belle & Petry are playing together on the top pair.

    I think Petry’s +/- has actually leveled off, he was a big minus early on and it hasn’t gotten worse, so thats a good sign.

  • Lowetide

    Shadi: Yeah, I think it’s Belle-Petry and then Chorney-Plante and Petiot-Motin based on who is on ice for goals. Petry could be the best of the bunch, but the team needs to keep him in the minors.

    • misfit

      That basically echos my thoughts on Petry. He’s been the best player on the Barons’ blue in each of my viewings of them this year, but I don’t think it would be wise to have him on this Oiler squad. Especially when you look at who he’d be paired with if he did make the jump (neither Smid, Peckham, or Vandermeer are good options).

  • O.C.

    Let ’em develop on the farm. What are we trying to achieve here, other than excitement and watching the new oil grow? This years team is 30th, and fun to watch. We won’t make top 16, so pull a Chicago and get one more solid draft.

    Next year…. Then you have options.

    The way Toronto is going, so does Boston…

  • With Eberle,Gagner,Brule,and Cogliano I don’t see a fit for Omark on the Oilers no matter how many points he produces.(unless a trade opens a spot)

    I like his skill along with the others but can’t see a team being successful in the playoffs with such a small lineup.

    IMO you can only keep Eberle long term even though I don’t wanna throw in the towel on Gagner.


    • Dont you think worrying about the playoffs is a little premature?

      If Omark (next year) comes in and plays like he belongs in the NHL then the Oilers all of a sudden have an asset. Until then they have a diminutive AHLer with some scoring flair.

      For a club that hasnt made the playoffs since Studio 60 On The Sunset Strip was an up and coming show, worrying about having too small a lineup to win 16 in the second season shouldnt even be a concern.

      • “Dont you think worrying about the playoffs is a little premature?”

        No, the playoffs are a bare minimum standard for me.

        The Oilers should build a team to compete for the division/conference/Stanley Cup.

        If Omark “helps” the Oilers now & next year he’s “hurting” the long term goal.

    • I don’t know if size alone is that big an issue. I’m not sure the following forward lineup would have problems competing in the playoffs:


  • Max Powers - Team HME Evans

    Thanks for the great contributions to this site, LT, I had no idea what the Barons were doing, let alone that they were first in their division!
    You raise good points, my counter would be that maybe we should leave that team be, so they can continue to have success for once in their first year. We can sort out our own problems as long as possible.
    Well done Ron Low, if that is who you really are.

  • I don’t think Omark can help the Oilers long term.

    If he helps short term it delays the rebuild because he’ll be taking a spot.

    Omark gets called up on injury or a trade only.

    Can’t justify 5 forwards under 5’11-195 who score 50pts or less & Hall/Paajarvi.

    The Oilers are getting run as it is…

    • Oilers89

      I think you are looking into Omark’s size too much, he plays big and as long as he can handle himself when battling big defenders and not be a liability then it’s fine. Brule is a great example of this, he can throw huge hits and can go into dirty areas and come out with a puck, so again if he can play big and chip in who cares if he is small.

  • Spartacus

    Linus (the pinus)… I can’t believe you actually wrote that, LT. It has a nice ring to it, but still surprised to see that in print. Good stuff.

    And Ms. Wood should’ve stayed away from the water… or learned to dog paddle.

    Question, LT: Does it seem like the coaching in OKC and the coaching in Edmonton is similar? Are the systems the coaches are teaching the kids in OKC the same systems Renney is teaching the big kids? Will a call-up know where he fits in because the systems are consistent between the parent club and the farm?

    • Dan the Man

      Have a look at the article just before this one that Willis posted on the PK. Contained in the article are a couple of links from Copper and Blue that compare the Oilers PK to the Barons and they are quite different.

      • Spartacus

        Wow! Copper and Blue does a very nice job of breaking down the PK of both clubs. It makes me wonder what the hell Renney is trying to prove: “The Barons’ penalty kill is very well-coached and is tactically sound, while the Oilers are using a never-before-seen system with tactics guaranteed to expose the goaltender.” – Copper & Blue

        The more evidence I see, the more I think that Renney is intentionally coaching the Oil to another last-place finish. I have to believe that is the mandate from the Oilers management, as any other explanation makes no sense at all.

        Todd Nelson seems to know how to coach… I thought Renney was a good coach but between his rawhide line changes and I-formation penalty-killing, I’m really having to re-evaluate my opinion of Renney’s skills as a coach. Either that or he’s toeing the company line and deliberately leading us away from the playoffs and towards another top-5 draft pick.

        I know that seems insane, but no other conclusion makes sense to me.

        Thanks, Dan the Man

  • Lowetide

    Spartacus: Well they called Elvis “the Pelvis” so there’s a tradition. 🙂

    Natalie Wood. Beauty. I still think there’s something to that story.

    As for the coaching, the management has been talking all year about having everyone in the organization knowing their role. However, if there’s a team on the planet copying the Oilers PK then I’ll take the gaspipe. I suspect the PK in OKC is a more traditional box style; the Oilers at the NHL level learned their PK from three year olds (“chase the puck it’s over there. NO OVER THERE. DAMMIT NOW IT”S OVER THERE!!!)

  • Oilers G- Nations Poet Laureate


    Your PK analogy is so right on, that it is absolutely hilarious. Stop please, my sides are killing me.

    That’s all I got, I’m out

  • GSC

    Why bother with a call-up? Let the Barons have their success and let the rooks down in OKC continue to get quality ice time with good AHL vets.

    The idea this season is to tank, and tank hard. So far, mission accomplished. I’d just leave it be…although I admit to also being intrigued by Omark’s play on the farm.

  • Lowetide

    I think O’Marra is likely to get a call this season. The Oilers called him up last year and his skill set (PK, FO) is a real weakness. They like him, otherwise he would have been purjed in the “summer of flushing failed first rounders.”

    Suspect he plays in the NHL this season.


    That’s refreshing. I think this year more than others it’s important that the big club stays healthy. Aside from maybe Omark, I don’t think there is anybody in OKC that I am really dying to have play some games in the NHL.

    I guess I wouldn’t mind seeing Belle and/or Petiot for a few games to see if they can keep up the level of play we saw in the pre-season, but I don’t think it will hurt anyone in OKC to stay down all year.

  • Chris.

    I was never excited about Omark. My initial gut feeling was that the You Tube sensation would probably never be more than that… a You Tube sensation. I feared that Omark was just another wasted late round pick by Predergast who seemed to always have a hard on for undersized talent with little upside other than dangling ability on open ice. I spent much of last season calling him Euro Shremp and cautioned fans against expecting Omark to produce much on smaller North American Ice.

    That said, Omark won me over at camp. Two things: Firstly, Omark, IMO, is already a better player than Schremp. He is (to my eye) faster, stronger on the puck, and more willing to battle for possession in the tough areas. Secondly, Omark will probably be effective on the smaller ice surface based on his numbers so far in the AHL. (A very tough League)

    Clearly, Omark was a great late round pick up… and could very well end up having a descent NHL career if he can avoid injury playing his style against larger more physical defencemen. (I’m not sure he will play much with the Oilers though… how much soft skill can you incorporate into one roster?)