To Whom It May Concern

There is a growing market for inexpensive forwards who can help move the needle offensively. Detroit, Carolina and possibly Boston, with the list growing daily. Throughout the NHL, the word is out: the goalies are ahead of the snipers and teams are looking for solutions. One of those possible solutions is available via Edmonton.
 

During the RE series this past summer, I detailed why Linus Omark is a player of interest:

  •  By eye and by math he appears to be a real hockey player. A guy like Nilsson looked all world with the puck one minute and then disappeared for the rest of the game. Omark flies sorties every shift. They don’t work out all of the time, but there’s a tremendous amount of try. He’s hard on the puck and works like a bugger. He can stickhandle in a phone booth and can beat people wide and inside. On a team with crazy skill, Omark is his own unique individual. He’s his own man, very confident and skilled.

In checking last season’s Oiler forwards (not exactly the ’75 Habs, but they had talent), Omark scored well in an important discipline:
 

5×5/60 (behind the net) 10-11

  1. Ales Hemsky 2.88
  2. Sam Gagner 1.91
  3. Jordan Eberle 1.79
  4. Linus Omark 1.78
  5. Taylor Hall 1.78
  6. Shawn Horcoff 1.47
  7. Ryan Jones 1.38
  8. Magnus Paajarvi 1.36
  9. Andrew Cogliano 1.33

So far this season, Omark and several others can’t get the ball out of the infield (Gagner, Paajarvi are also at nil 5×5). In yesterday’s ask Matty, Jim Matheson wrote the following:

  • I don’t think it’s fair to write off Omark, who hasn’t done anything wrong but keeps sitting because of numbers. When Hemsky returns in a week, the Oilers will have to do something with the right-winger Omark, who has National Hockey League skill. Unless I’m reading the collective bargaining agreement incorrectly, if Omark plays 60 NHL games, he has to clear waivers to be sent to the Oklahoma City Barons. He’s was too good for the AHL last season. If they’re caring, they’ll deal him somewhere else. The Carolina Hurricanes are looking for forwards.

Matheson mentions Carolina, but there are several (Boston, Detroit, Winnipeg, etc) NHL teams looking for quality offense. Many of those clubs are cap teams, so will be scouting quality offensive players with low cap hits. Omark is making $875,000, a very reasonable contract. The Oilers don’t have a lot of room to make moves with this player, he can opt out and back to Sweden should they try to send him down (he could also accept a demotion).

WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN?

My opinion? Omark is perfect Hemsky insurance and the Oilers should find a way to get him back into the lineup. I understand staying the course when the team is winning, and also understand Ales Hemsky is back soon and that will mean someone coming out of the linup–a lineup that already excludes Omark.

If enough wingers have passed Omark on the depth chart, then dealing him is the prudent thing to do; he’s not going to sign here to be a HS for the NHL team next year. So, with free agency ahead, what do the Oilers do? I would hope they resolve the Hemsky situation one way or another before the deadline and then trade or elevate Omark based on the Hemsky conclusion.

I don’t think Omark makes it to the deadline. Some NHL team is going to acquire a player with impressive skills and a burr under his saddle. He does have some work to do, but I can see a team like Detroit teaching him the things required to stay in the lineup.

I don’t think Steve Tambellini gets 100 cents on the dollar. Linus Omark is far more valuable than his original draft number.

  • Romulus' Apotheosis

    the injury narrative with Hemsky is killer… just review the last few weeks.

    The surgery we were told was a ringing success. shoulder healthier/stronger than ever; feeling great, etc. problems are behind us… then, on a nothing play… boom he’s injured again; oh don’t worry, just a bit of tightness or whatever, we rushed him back is all… not to worry be back in the line-up in a week…. week goes by… quietly tell everyone again everything’s fine… just taking longer than expected… well it’s been two weeks…

    I love Hemsky. I’ve cheered him on for years now and watched him play some amazing hockey. but if i’m a GM and I see him coming… I’m not taking the chance, unreliable.

    • Max Powers - Team HME Evans

      Maybe it’s the gambler’s nature in humans, but the lust for offense will eventually blind somebody’s eyes. The trick is timing and luck (that the player is healthy when the timing comes).

      Oiler fans are even prey to this, and his injuries have hurt us up close and personal for years now.

  • Romulus' Apotheosis

    What you guys are failing to understand is that Omark is really close to 60 games. Once he reaches that point he will have to clear waivers to go down. There is no doubt he will be claimed if that happens. The Oilers are just trying to manage him properly so they dont lose him for nothing. If that wasnt the case i see no reason why he doesnt rotate into the line up once in a while to take Jones’ or Paarjarvis spot. MPS has been great defensively but his affense could use a little tweaking, a couple of games in the press box would not hurt him. I think we would have seen this already if Omark wasnt so close to 60 games. I think Omark is spare parts on the Oilers right now, but more than likely he would be a key player on another team. If columbus is offering a third rounder for him and thats all we are going to get i say keep him he is worth way more than that.

  • A-Mc

    My Idea of the Swede line is definitely all 3 of them: Prv, Lander, Omark.

    The biggest Questions here with regards to the swedes is really regarding 2 of the 3. Lander has proved his usefulness in more ways than 1. Given what he’s done thus far and that he’s not worth Millions right now, i think it’s a given that he stays.

    Paajarvi and Omark have been lost in different ways. Paajarvi hasn’t seemed to build any chemistry with the lines Renney is putting him on thus far in the regular season. The only time Paajarvi has done what we all want him to do, is when he was with Lander and Omark. Unfortunately for us, we only saw this in the preseason. Omark is lost due to Renney seemingly refusing to play him. Sitting in the press box isn’t giving Omark a fair chance at proving his worth to the team. We cannot sit here and discuss his chemistry with other players because he hasn’t been given the opportunity to build any.

    Give the Swedes a chance to win us over. Let them play together for a short while and see what comes of it. The worst case scenario is that they continue to sit with 0’s on the score sheet.

    I want someone to drill Renney about these guys. Sporadic questions aren’t getting him to commit to why he refuses to play Tre K.

  • Jerk Store

    I’m as big an Omark fan as anyone but the Oilers can’t put him into the lineup until they lose. Especially since the last game was the best game for anyone he might replace.

    My biggest complaint has been that the Oilers have set him up to fail. Well what do you think is going to happen if the Oilers put Omark into a game and then they lose? He becomes the easy fall guy regardless of how he plays. Putting him into the lineup now would be a textbook case of setting someone up to fail.

    At the same time they can’t trade him because he his real value and his trade value are at huge odds. And so they can’t play him and they can’t trade him. Well done. The bed is made

    • D-Man

      Omark has set Omark up to fail… He hasn’t done anything to prove that he should be in the roster on a daily basis…

      Don’t get me wrong – I don’t think he’s done anything significantly wrong to deserve to sit for three games, but when he has played he has done nothing… 5 games and 0 points… That’s not good stats for a top six forward… That means he’d have to replace either Gagner or MPS on our 3rd line (Omark is not a 4th line player either).. Gagner is coming off an injury but has produced one point. Would you put Omark in and take MPS out??

      • Considering NO ONE on the 3d line has gotten a EV point it can hardly be blamed on Omark. That line hasn’t scored 5v5 since Linus has been in the pressbox either. Perhaps Belanger and MPS are the problem? Gagner’s only point came on the PP so he had to get away from PRV and Belanger to register an assist. How is this Omark’s fault?

        • D-Man

          You’re right – MPS and Belanger haven’t produced, but they’ve contributed in other ways… Belanger has a faceoff percentage well over 55% and MPS has been a decent forechecker… What does Omark bring to the table when he’s not producing points?? Omark had five games to show something, ANYTHING – which he did not… Gagner gets a pass for now as he’s coming off of an ankle injury…

  • Naughty

    Why couldn’t Jones replace Petrell on the 4th line??? Pretty similar players to me, and older so press box time would not be a huge issue, i agree he has played very well, but he has done a job jones can do, if you can play checking line against the top oposition and chip in a couple goals, you can throw out more hits and play sparatic 4th line minutes, no doubt in my mind. i would like to have a look at the following:

    Kid Line

    Horc-Smyth-Gags

    MPS-Lander-Omark

    Jones-Belanger-Eager

    Press Box/Hurt – Hemmer,Pettrell,Hordichuck

    When hemsky comes back and either he, or someone else gets hurt in a few games, we have options. You can also move omark MPS and gags around those 2 lines to find the best chemistry.

    • Petrell >>> Eager.

      Kid Line

      Horc-Smyth-Hemsky

      MPS-Gagner-Omark

      Jones/Petrell-Belanger-Lander(plays wing)

      PB/spares – Eager, Hordichuk, Petrell

      I think the call is between Jones and Petrell. Although I have to say Petrell is looking better all the time. It all depends on team strategy. Can Hemsky play a defensive role or be an offensive component of a defensively-minded checking line?

      But at the end of the day (and like others have said) Omark is Hemsky insurance. Poor guy is going to be in limbo until Hemsky is either signed or dealt.

      • Crash

        IMO there’s zero chance that Omark can be classified as Hemsky insurance….he’ll never be even close to as good as Hemsky is when he’s healthy.

        You ask an interesting question with regards to Hemsky playing a defensive role or to being an offensive component of a defense minded line. I don’t get why so many automatically assume why Hemsky should just slide into the line with Horcoff and Smyth. IMO Jones has fit in there nicely and I see no reason to break those 3 up. They are doing a pretty good job of lining up against other teams scoring lines.

        I’d like to see:

        Kid Line

        Smyth/Horcoff/Jones

        Paajarvi/Gagner/Hemsky

        Petrell/Belanger/Eager

        This gives the team 2 really good scoring line options and 1 really good shutdown line as opposed to wasting Hemsky’s offense while trying to shutdown the oppositions scoring line. Belanger can pick up extra minutes killing penalties and taking key faceoffs in the defensive zone or when they need a faceoff win with the extra attacker.

        Just my two cents

  • stevezie

    I can’t remember the last time I agreed with an article so completely. My ideal scenario would be the Oil convincing Omark to play a quick conditioning stint in the minors, in which he absolutely tears it up and they realize that they are only hurting themselves by not finding a way to get him some NHL ice-time.

    @Lowetide You love country lyrics, I think we can both appreciate the relevance of the Rhodes scholar Kristofferson, “My friend you are the only one that you’re screwin’ when you put down what you don’t understand”

  • It’s probably not real hard to get Omark into the lineup if they really want to. There are a few possibilities, most of which include Pettrell out and Jones dropping to the 4th line. I think the bigger issue is he is right back out of the lineup in the next couple of games when Hemsky goes in. Trading him is a reasonable option, having him just sit for a lot longer isn’t. I know these decisions are not easy, but then if it was pretty much any of us could do it.

    C’mon Tambo, time to step up!

  • Wax Man Riley

    Or let’s trade our #8 pick and Hemsky+ for the #3 pick, then we can trade the #3 and LA’s #17 along with Omark and Gagner+ for the #2 pick. Then if we have to “throw Chorney in to sweeten the deal.”

    Nobody wants Chorney! You can’t just add players to increase the little fairness bar.

    FFS

  • I am a big Omark fan but also realistic in that he is not as good as us fans have hyped him up to be, yes we might not get much in a trade but its better then nothing, say what you want about Jones but he is playing very well right now. I know Omark has the flash but there is more to the NHL then that.

    Omark doesn’t pass Eberle or Hemsky and he does not suit the third line, I would rather have a big body like Harki in there instead and if anyone should get a chance in the top 6 it should be Paajarvi not Omark.

    Omark isn’t Hemsky insurance he is simple a healthy scratch that doesn’t make the Oilers any tougher or better when he is in the lineup, as sad as it is because I like him that is the truth.

  • Omark to OKC….. makes a certain amount of sense. The oilers have invested a ton of cash into Gags and hes the guy they need to produce. His deal expires this year as does Omarks but one makes 875K one makes 2.5M.

    Im not a huge gags fan but from an organizational point of view… hes the guy that needs to get something tangible going.

    ~and who doesnt want to see him dive into the glass and be all excited~