OMARK, HORCOFF AND GOOD TIMING?

Shawn Horcoff is listed as day-to-day with a left leg injury after clipping skates with Jack Skille during the Oilers 2-1 win in Chicago last night. Meanwhile in Oklahoma City, Linus Omark was putting on a clinic against the Toronto Marlies. Omark potted five goals in regulation and added another in the shootout to lead the Barons to a 7-6 victory.

Scoring five goals in any league will get you noticed, and I wonder how this performance will impact Omark’s ranking in the organization?

Prior to his five-goal outing, Omark had a respectable five goals and 12 points in 14 games in his rookie AHL season. The list of players who scored in the AHL but could never match that production in the NHL is longer than the wait time in emergency rooms across Edmonton right now, but I have a sneaking suspicion that Omark isn’t one of those guys.

There is no denying the 4th round pick in 2007 has incredible skill, a highly creative offensive mind and is surprisingly strong on the puck for his size. If he keeps producing he will force the Oilers to find a way to get him on the roster.

If Horcoff can’t play tomorrow in Carolina, Omark should be recalled, but due to JF Jacques’ conditioning stint the Oilers don’t have any room to bring up an offensive player. I know Omark isn’t a centre, so he won’t take Horcoff’s position on the ice, but his style of play fits into the top-nine philosophy of Tom Renney.

Renney doesn’t have a lot of options to replace Horcoff. Colin Fraser doesn’t have the skill set to play with Gilbert Brule/Dustin Penner or Magnus Paajarvi/Jordan Eberle or Taylor Hall/Ales Hemsky. The best option for Renney would be to move Brule to the middle and recall Omark.

Ryan O’Marra, Chris Vande Velde and Milan Kytnar aren’t ready to play the middle in the NHL, so the options of a centre from the farm are limited. Brad Moran would be the best centre option, but at 31-years of age I don’t see any reason to recall him ahead of Omark, who is leading the Barons in scoring.

SOLUTIONS

I know many fans are going to say the Oilers should just waive JF Jacques so then Omark can take his spot on the roster. That could be an option, but the Oilers like Jacques’ size and ability to play physical. His ability to stay healthy is the issue. The trouble for the Oilers is that a five-goal game will get people talking, and if Omark continues to produce they might have no choice but to put someone on waivers and recall the 23-year-old.

The Oilers could send Eberle or Paajarvi to the minors, but I can’t see any way that happens.

A trade is the other option, and is that happens the likely candidates would be Andrew Cogliano, Zack Stortini, Ryan Jones, J.F Jacques or Penner. I’m not suggesting the Oilers are trying to trade any of these guys right now, but when you look at the depth chart and needs these seem like the most likely forwards to be shipped out if a deal arises.

Steve Tambellini doesn’t have to recall Omark right now. There is no need to rush him up here, but if Horcoff can’t play tomorrow the best option would be to have Omark in the lineup for a night. Right now the Oilers extra forwards are both 4th line guys, and while Renney will most likely bump Ryan Jones into the top-nine, I think Omark would be a better fit.

We won’t get to see Omark just yet, but something tells me that "Exciting Last Place Hockey," might get even more exciting when Omark eventually makes his NHL debut sometime this season.

    • S.Tambellini

      DSF for the win again. When a young guy starts producing in his rookie year after struggling for a while to get on the scoresheet, I think any hockey genius will tell you the best thing to do is change up his linemates and position. It is the only reasonable thing to do.

      You’re Scotty Bowman and Bob Johnson combined into three simple letters and a knee jerk reaction.

      That is all.

        • I thought you said he was over his head, and now you want to put him at center?

          DSF said in a previous thread:

          He’s in over his head.

          Seguin is too although he’s outscoring Hall 3-1 with far less ice time.

          3-1 over 82 games is huge.

          BTW,

          Hall 6pts in 12 games

          Seguin 5pts in 11 games

          • S.Tambellini

            Don’t try to understand the DSF genius. Just enjoy the ride. Who can really be held responsible for things they may have said yesterday or last week.

            Recognize the greatness and go with it. Often I copy his posts here and put them on other sites so I can look like a NHL MENSA member too.

          • Max Powers - Team HME Evans

            Well, of the 3 comments or so I’ve read of yours, each of them were a direct insult to DSF. At least he’s contributing opinion. You’ve contributed nothing.

          • DSF

            Not entirely sure what your point is.

            It’s a short term, low risk audition and Hall is playing like a centre in the offensive zone anyway.

            You don’t think he can handle it?

  • DSF

    Isn’t MacIntyre still nursing a sore back? Should be easy to put him on LTIR retroactively then bring up Omark if Horcoff can’t go. The kid deserves a shot with his performance to date.
    My fear is Strudwick plays 4th line on Tuesday.

  • I'm a Scientist!

    Oilers win last night was most impressive game as a team all season . Surprisingly no “OCCULAR TRAUMA ” watching the defence play their best game to date ! Everytime i dump on management they come up with a good game – maybe i should do it more often . Omark fits well with Paajarvi who needs to get things going as well . I say bring him up if Oilers interested in more wins . Get him up here while he’s hot for at least 3 games .

  • Jason Gregor

    I think we should call up Omark, and heres why:
    It sends a real stale message to your farm team when a guy deserved a spot but got sent down, then earned a spot and is not recalled. What exactly are they playing for down there?
    Now, I’m not saying it has to be this time, but pretty stinking soon. 5 goals in a game and no recall = bad attitudes down on the farm.
    Jacques counts against our roster for the two weeks he’s on the farm? Weak, indeed. Rule change.

  • It is so nice to see an Oilers’ farm team finally having some success. The younger players need to be around that atmosphere. I was surprised by the hiring of Todd Nelson but so far I’d say it was a fantastic choice by Tambo and crew. Some of our call ups might actually help the PK (they are 1st in the AHL)! Hopefully the attendance starts to go up now that they are at the top of the conference.

  • Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach

    If Omark was recalled what line would he be playing on?
    My thoughts would be on a line with Penner and Brule cause Penner does play defence at respectable pace although he does often take shifts off. Penner does all the small things right (other than hit people with that huge frame).

    Another question for you Gregor: Would it benefit the Oil if they got rid of Penner while his stock is still at a high? Or do the Oil still despretely need a winger with size and muscle along the boreds, making it no chance for them to get rid of Penner?

    • Jason Gregor

      On a team with no size, even though he doesn’t use it often enough, Penner has value here. For now. I could see him being moved at the deadline, or at the draft next summer. It is hard to trade away size and scoring, but if they can get a D-man for him I’d do it. Paajarvi and Hall seem to be the LW of the future, so I’m not sure if Penner fits in longterm.

  • positivebrontefan

    Well he went down to OKC with a burr under his saddle and said he was not going to give Oilers managment a choice but to bring him up and so far he’s sticking to his word. I say good for him, shows me he’s willing to work hard for his shot at the bigs and from what I’ve seen so far both in preseason and in OKC is that he plays bigger than his size would indicate.
    But I do agree, outside of a long term injury to one of the top nine his role here will be limited unless a trade is made to get rid of one of our “skill” guys for a better defensive prospect.

    At the end of the day you got to appreciatte his moxie so far.

  • DSF

    Penner, trade this (asset?)for another pick during this rebuild, by the time the Oilers are in playoff mode, the Oilers may not want to resign this under achiever. Look at the work ethic of big manDustin Byfuglien and the results be Hawks or Thrashers, that is effective use of skill and size.

    More kids, more exciting last place hockey.
    Lotto Pick – The Future is Later.

    • Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach

      You missed the part where Bufflin would go 10-15 games without doing anything either. Hopefully he has turn his work ethic around for good, but Bufflin has been far from a guy that has good work ethic.

  • I'm a Scientist!

    5 goals and this guy is the next coming of Eberle? Come on… He had a great night against a team that had an off night. Props to him for being a super star last night, but for the love of Robbie Shremp, let’s not get swept away in the hype…

    If Horcoff is down, Omark does not fit the hole in the roster in my opinion. The hype might make him look like he does, but I don’t think we need him right now.

    Just my opinion though…

    • Jason Gregor

      Hype is unproven…Omark SCORED five goals in a game. That is fact, not fantasy or hype my man. Downplaying it like it was a fluke or the guy is Schremp is ridiculous. Did Schremp ever score five goals in the AHL. Did he have 10 goals in 15 games. Suggesting he is akin to Schremp is off-base.

      And if he isn’t the right guy to fill the void, please show me the better option. Saying he isn’t the right fit, is fine, if you have a better alternative. Curious who you think that is.

    • Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach

      12 points in 14 games as a rookie in the AHL along with a strong NHL preseason in limited action would seem to warrant a bit of hype.

      The 5 goals was just icing on the cake.

      Horcoff is one of our 9 forwards. Omark fits as a 4-9 forward.

      The only thing that doesn’t fit is the center position.

      IMO, Brule or Penner (or even Hall) can move to the middle as a temporary thing while we adress Horcoff’s injury.

      Just my opinion though…

      • I'm a Scientist!

        The SuperComputer is in the shop because D-man got a hold of it with his axe. For now, you will just have to listen to me blather on with no real SuperComputerness to back me up.

        Not to worry though, the GeekSquad at BestBuy say I should be back in the prediction business in no time.

      • I'm a Scientist!

        Good point. I stand corrected. Needless to say, both goalies have probably had better nights. (i haven’t watched the highlight for fear of getting swept up in the hype!)

        7 goals against? Not a great night.

        • DK0

          Game Stats Here

          pretty crazy score sheet there. 50 shots for by our boys, with 21 of them coming from Omark and Reddox. So i dont think you can pin the loss on the toronto goalie, however Gerber only had an 80% save percentage.

          It’s getting to the point where you could probably call both reddox and omark up and not have a worse team.

          • I'm a Scientist!

            What are the chances of only having 8 assists handed out on 7 goals? Crazy.

            So if you call up Reddox and Omark, who do they replace? Omark could probably replace MPS without too much difference, and Reddox could replace Jones…but right now, those are not moves that I make unless I am forced to do so.

            Jones is playing REALLY well lately. MPS is still growing and learning. Right now, I wait and don’t jump on Omark just because of a 5 goal night.

          • I'm a Scientist!

            To open a spot for Omark? No way. Excluding his faceoff performance, Cogs is on fire right now…give it a week or two and i might agree with you, but at this exact moment in time, i like Cogliano and wouldn’t trade him.

          • Darrenski

            While cogs is on fire would be the best time to move him, you would get the most back for him. Give hall a shot at center, he plays all over the ice like one anyway and with his strength I believe he would be successful at the dot. He can get down pretty low when he spreads those legs, I think he would do very well. It is a rebuild try most everything.

          • D-Man

            Granted, we’re in a rebuild, but don’t mess with the rookies… They need time to develop as NHL players first, before you start tinkering with position…

            You said it yourself – “Hall plays all over the ice” – that screams his need to work on his defensive play. Let him figure out how to play solid defense from the left side first; learn what it takes to be a good/great NHL player. After the 2011 draft and maybe a couple more trades, then take a look at the organization’s need.

            If the feel is that we’re still weak down the middle, then try Hall out in the 2011-12 spring training camp. The thought of sliding him over to the middle right now does not make any sense 12 games into the season.

          • Not to mention moving Cogliano doesnt open a spot on the wing. It opens a spot at centre. Sure, Brule COULD move to the C and Omark could move to the NHL, but if Omark + Brule was better than Cogs + Brule then that’s the way it would be already.

          • DK0

            I was thinking more along the lines of maybe if a trade comes up for more picks or something, you have 2 guys who can easily be up here. for the time being you could maybe take Fraser (Jones is growing on me) out replaced with reddox and then do the brule to center and omark to replace horc for a game thing.

            I’m not saying we should do any of these things right now, just saying its nice that we have some good injury insurance here. If a skill guy goes down you call up Omark. If a shut-down guy goes down you call up Reddox.

  • Ender

    On an unrelated note:

    Quicksilver ballet wrote:

    This Ex Oiler thing that seems to be getting attention here lately. Cleary was drafted by the Blackhawks, Torres by the Islanders, what’s the big deal? There are plenty of ex every other team players bouncing around as well. No need to dub it the curse, players will go anywhere for the sake of a paycheque.

    This got me thinking; was it just optics, like noticing all the red lights you hit but never noticing the green ones, or are we really snakebit this season with people that have worn the Copper & Blue before?

    I reviewed the 12 games so far; 38 goals against, not counting shootouts. How many were from ex-Oilers?

    Ten. Torres with the hattie, Reasoner with two, Brodziak with two, and Cleary, Pisani, and Glencross with one each. That means over 26% of the goals scored against the Oilers this season have been scored by former members of the squad.

    Unless you can make the argument that a quarter of the league has played for the Oilers at some time or another, the curse is real. Let’s hope it’s one of those ‘for-a-limited-time-only’ curses. We face Cole, O’Sullivan, Samsonov, and Pitkanen tomorrow.

    • Horcsky

      Ya we’re boned. Cole will look like a power forward driving to the net off the right wing, Sully will snipe one in off the post, instead of just clanging iron, Samsonov will be dangling in the slot, and Pitkanen will be leading the rush will that smooth stride. They will be the anti-oiler versions of themselves. Book it.

      • Ender

        I think you’re right. It’s also interesting to note that the ex-Oilers that have lit us up this season are averaging 0.25 goals per game. Against teams that aren’t the Oilers, they are pluggers that average 0.15 goals per game between them. Against the Oilers, that group becomes premier forwards that score at an average rate of 0.83 goals per game. We really are the high point on their schedule. May the hockey gods be merciful tomorrow.

          • Ender

            When I first read your post, I gasped and said “I didn’t even think of them,

            After review, however, it’s not quite as scary as it sounds. They have Greene, who has no points in 7 games so a multiplicative spike in production against the Oil still doesn’t amount to much.

            Smyth and Stoll have 9 goals between them and are averaging 0.346 goals per game. If they were to see the same 553% jump in production as the other ex-Oilers that have lit us up this year, that would indicate they were due for 2 goals against us each.

            As long as we can keep the rest of the Kings off the scoresheet and Omark comes up and scores us another five goals, the math says we’re golden. Right?

            Right?

          • DK0

            You’re forgetting that ex-Oilers playing against us gain a 553% boost in production if they have had some success lately, and the ones who have had no success at all are destined to bust the slump.

            But i guess we’re ok then too cause that makes it a 5-5 game and then Omark can win it for us in the shoot-out.

            So nevermind, Crisis Averted®

    • Rogue

      Props!! But I would do the “dont turn on the lights, that is what they will be expecting” thing. Let him play,Arch. While he is failing miserably, to be of any major help,he will be wasting a valuable roster spot and in Fact helping us dive to ELPH! See, he can help. Also, there is a good chance he will be back on LTIR within 20 games. Win Win situation.

    • D-Man

      Agreed – unless Horcoff is gone for more than a couple games, I can’t see having any room for Omark – who has played well enough to deserve a ‘look-see’… Omark shouldn’t be brought up to play 10 minutes on our 4th line. He’s a top nine skater on this team…

      Not sure I’d like to trade or waive Jacques until he’s played 10 games up here… If (and it’s a big if) he plays like he did last year, hitting everything that moved and stood up for our rookies/skilled players now and again, I think he’d make Jones, Smak or Stortini expendable… Smak and Storts don’t have JFJ’s speed and Jones doesn’t have his physicality…

  • Dyckster

    Let’s hope Renney gives Omark his FIST taste of NHL Regular Season action tomorrow!

    I think he deserves it based on his FIST ever five goal game in his FIST ever season in North America.