Linus Omark: Plotting An NHL Return Through Switzerland

The Spengler Cup (Abercio/Wikimedia Commons/CC BY-SA 2.0)

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This morning, Linus Omark tweeted that he had a new team: Zug, of the top Swiss league. While his detractors undoubtedly will imagine that as the beginning of the rest of his career in Europe, Omark actually chose Zug specifically to enable him to return to the NHL.

Dan Tencer fills in some of the gaps via Twitter:

Linus Omark’s agent Patrik Aronsson tells me that they turned down multiple KHL offers and felt Zug was the best fit to get back to the NHL.

Aronsson says that Omark is looking forward to playing a full season of games and is totally focused on one day playing full time in NHL.

I got the sense from Aronsson that a) the pending lockout + b) the Oilers still owning his rights = easy decision to sign overseas for now.

Martin Lunden, also known around the blogs as dohfOs, fills in some more of that picture by translating a piece in a Swedish newspaper. The full quote is here, but here’s an excerpt:

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I’ve decided to return to Europe due to the lockout. It’s an especially bad timed lockout for me (personally), seeing I was injured for the majority of last season. Had this been one year ago, I might have been traded earlier – before I got hurt. Basically all I want is to play hockey but if this lockout turns out to be for just 2 months my situation will be even worse. I want to play in the NHL and that’s it. But at this moment, all I can do is to have one heck of a season (in Switzerland) and hopefully that could open up for a return (to the NHL).

Zug and the top Swiss league will be Omark’s fifth club as a professional; he’s previously played in Sweden (with Lulea), in Russia (Moscow), in the AHL (Oklahoma) and of course also has 65 NHL games under his belt with the Oilers.

At this point, a solid season in Switzerland would be the best for all parties. The Oilers obviously haven’t dealt Omark because they haven’t been able to get a decent offer for him; I doubt very much it’s because they see him as a vital part of their long-term plans. If Omark can play well, and catch the attention of some NHL team, then he might get another NHL opportunity sooner rather than later because the Oilers will have a better shot at moving his rights (although the odds of that happening aren’t great. Check out other NHL odds here).

  • Cervantes

    I hope he gets back to the NHL next year. He’s tough on the pick and creative, and I really don’t think he got a fair shake here. Were a little overstocked in the middle 6, wh.ich is where he fits. I still think there’s a player in there. Firefly either he gets an offer, or has a great season and the oilers clear house and there’s room for him.

  • What are the chances Calgary’s Euro scout looks at him and Calgary takes him…and then sells him as the best prospect the Oilers had and they couldn’t keep him…yada, yada, yada…then to see him and Cervenka form a top line with Iggy…and then Iggy’s stats (as described well by Kent Wilson) get much worse, because Linus leaks chances against like Charlie Sheen says winning (note: he has it tattoo’ed on his wrist)…sorry Calgary, I’m not sold on Cervenka, but hey, no one is sold on the Oilers except Oiler fans, so maybe there’s hope for Flame fans afterall.

      • justDOit

        Nevermind…I was feeling an anti-flame feeling at the moment and I started rambling…I guess Vintage Flame pissed off my sister’s bf at a party once and I’ve kinda been extra anti-flames since then.

        Sometimes I wonder how much people pay attention to me. Apparently whatever amount it is, it’s too much… haha. Ok, I’m done.

  • He filled no role on the Oilers that wasnt already being filled by somebody better. If he played LW he MIGHT have stood a chance had the Oilers not drafted Yakupov.

    That’s a lot of Ifs, Mights, and Maybes afforded to a player who only has 8 career goals.

    Not worth it.

    There isnt any room in the top 6 or the PP for him and Omark doesnt kill penalties, nor is he physical.

    What am I missing here?

    2nd rate player signs in 2nd rate league.

    • MessyEH!

      You know, many types of players can play on the bottom 6, not just goons, checkers and the bums who got that ice time under Renney last year.

      But the Oilers brass must not have any belief in the value of secondary scoring and a round peg like Linus doesn’t fit within an backward organization rife with square holes.

      Can’t wait for the blind Oilers fans to be led by the nose when the same idiots do the same thing to Yakupov who is also a free spirit, speaks his mind and uses twitter 10 times more than Omark.

      • People’s problem with Omark isnt his Free Spirit (read: malcontent cry baby) or his use of Twitter (Demands trade via social media), it’s his inability to score or prevent goals.

        If he could do that better he would be universally loved.

        Even mentioning a Number One Overall’s name alongside Omark is a slight to Yakupov, who has yet to play a single NHL game. Omark doesnt have the ability or the physical tools to play in the NHL and his attitude wasnt getting him there either.

      • Wax Man Riley

        Really, Russ?

        Why would a team deliberately tank an asset? Out of spite? I HIGHLY doubt he had that much influence on management other than his poor play.

          • Wax Man Riley

            I considered that before my previous post, but that wasn’t out of spite, it was to prove a point. If you don’t want to be an Oiler, then beat it. He spread a ton of negativity with his comments to the media.

            Souray’s comments were of a different order than Linus saying it’s politics, which is the only comment I can think of during his time with the team. Souray lambasted the entire organization.

            What I think is funny about that situation, is Souray was right. Proven by all of the moves that happened that summer.

          • More Oilers bashing just like Souray. Souray is garbage. Souray is also the reason the Oilers have trouble signing free agents because of those stupid lies. All teams should do the same when a player makes stupid comments like that clown Soray did. GMs were happy what the Oilers treated Souray after lambasting the organization. Slats even agreed with what the Oilers did to Souray after Souray blasted the team in the media. Souray did that more than once. No team should have signed Souray to teach others a lesson that you can’t get away with bashing organizations.

          • MessyEH!

            Lubomir Visnovsky,
            Chris Pronger,
            Danny Heatley and Eric Lindros. Are all players who requested trades from the Oilers or refused to be traded to the Oilers. All happened before Souraygate. Oilers management must except some of the blame for their poor free agent acquisition record.

  • justDOit

    According to coppernblue, Omarks most frequent linemates in his brief 11/12 showing with the Oilers were MPS and Belanger, with Potter and Barker as most common defense pairing. Gee – why did he screw that opportunity up?

    When given a fair chance in the AHL, he’s a little better than 1.0 ppg, and last year had a 5 goal game (including a SO goal). He’ll lead Zug in scoring this year and will hopefully get a real chance to play in the NHL (with real linemates).

    As for his ‘attitude’, as far as I can tell, he’s guilty of being pssd off after being sent to the AHL without a fair chance with the Oilers. And then he tweeted about wanting a trade in April. Seems pretty rational, considering how he was treated.

    After being slew-footed in the minors and breaking his ankle, he dedicated himself to getting stronger, spending a lot of time in the gym, and getting back to the ice quickly. In his first game back with OKC, he scored a nice goal and added an assist in a win.

    Sometimes it’s shocking how people sort of ‘absorb’ whatever the media spouts. Hemsky’s ‘bad attitude’ and ‘body language’ stuff, Linus’ ‘bad attitude’. Really. Go back and read the interviews. He’s a passionate player who is driven to play in the NHL. Can’t fault that.

    He should have been given some quality time in the roster last season, in a ‘showcase’ similar to Hodgson, to raise his trade value. But it seems Renney and Tambo were too busy trying to build a winner with Lander playing 51 games. Sigh…

    • ^This.

      Also, Renney and Tambo were gunning for a high lottery pick. “Winning” wasn’t part of the equation. Playing guys like Lander for so long, or Khabby far past his due date were subtle ways to slant the table in their favor. Omark was srewed unfortunately. Showcasing him with decent players might have had the very real possibility of racking up some nasty W’s.

      • The Soup Fascist

        Obviously a polarizing figure (Oilers seem to have lots of those). If I was trying to throw games Linus would have been way down on my list to sit out to ensure a loss.

        For me Omark b!tched and moaned a lot for a guy with no track record and was the very definition of high maintenance. I agree he was an asset that could have been managed better, but IMO, he did not help himself by Tweeting every pout. Good riddance.

      • OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F

        That’s kind of funny, a conspiracy against Omark to lose games? Yet guys far better then him play??

        Back to the drawing board David.

    • I agree with much of what you say. I don’t feel like his “High Maintenance” label is deserved.

      Sure you shouldn’t complain when you haven’t proven anything. But when he came out and had a great training camp two years ago and was cut for no good reason I don’t blame him for claiming it was politics. It was.

      However, he has absolutely no place on this team. He is a top 4 winger but is worse than at least 5 of our wingers.

      He’s just not good enough for this team. I could see him playing top six minutes for Calgary or Columbus though. They are both in need of additional scoring and they are both run by morons.

    • Wax Man Riley

      No way.

      Far cry from the AHL to NHL, and Omark showed he didn’t belong on this team.

      If he couldn’t drive play by making his linemates better, then he doesn’t belong. Why does he have to rely on A players to give him points? same goes for PRV.

      As far as Lander, yep, he should have stayed in OKC, but his place on The Oilers did not affect Omark in any way. They play different positions.

      He is now playing where he belongs. As Arch said above, 2nd rate player in a 2nd rate league.

    • justDOit

      Living in Switzerland, getting paid about 100K per season in Euros to play hockey in a market where the games are treated more like parties, and the fans pack the (smallish) arenas. Sounds horrible.

        • justDOit

          Given a lockout this year, Omark wouldn’t even get a chance in OKC. He would have likely been shipped off to Stockton. Now, I’ve never been to Stockton, but I’m going out on a limb to suggest it’s waaaaaay down the list of optimum destinations when compared to Switzerland.

  • HardBoiledOil 1.0

    meh, i don’t want to see him back here at all…maybe with another team. and Yak is much more talented than Omark is so can’t compare the two…

  • Lofty

    His game is perfect for a low budget NHL team in the southern US. His flash and shoot out moves would be a good move for disinterested markets like Miami or AZ.

  • mr_nihilism

    I somehow get the impression Omark would rather be anywhere else in the NHL besides with the Oilers. Anyhow, good luck to him in whatever miscellaneous league he’ll be playing in.

  • justDOit

    It’s amazing how fans can take things to heart. We’re not paying Horcs’ salary, and we’re not the people who have to deal with Omark (or his agent) on a daily basis. We just read some ‘info’ in the media, and instantly form rabidly-defended opinions based on those often questionable words in print.

    The people in the media are just trying to scrounge up some readers, or page hits, and have been known to interject some tension or drama into an otherwise humdrum story line. I can’t really blame them either. It’s up to the reader to digest the content and take it in context.

    I’ve read many interviews (some poorly translated) with O!, and I don’t get the sense of entitlement at all, but I’m not here to try and convert anyone.

      • justDOit

        Twitter is meaningless. It’s fluff – hardly to be taken seriously.

        Imagine if the world had instant access to your initial thoughts and emotions, without any time in between to cool off. You might say some regrettable things as well.

        I must admit, I’m not a twit, so I don’t really know what he has transmitted to the 140 character medium. I have heard that he tweeted grumblings about being sent down after a 5 game tryout, playing with MPS and Belanger. If he WASN’T disappointed by that, I would be concerned.

        And then in April (?) he tweeted a request for a trade. Probably not wise, but athletes aren’t exactly known for their media savy.

        Like I said, I’ve read many interviews with him, and I value his actual words much higher than I do his tweets.

        So now that Omark is gone, we can all start concentrating on Yakupov’s tweets…

        • The Soup Fascist

          Right. But I know better to post my thoughts for the world to see when I am pissed or tell my in-laws what I really think after a couple of pops. Omark is not 18 and IMO would have been better served to shut up.

          But you are right, and Arch alluded to it. Twitter use did not run him out of town. There was just not a spot for his skill set here and his attitude just sped up the inevitable.

          • justDOit

            Whatever the age, twitter gives you instant access to spew your hurt feelings and you can’t take it back. Which again, is why I value the words spoken by him in many interviews.

            So 5 games to start the season with MPS, Belanger, Potter, Barker and Sutton as most common linemates equals no spot for him, while Lander gets 50 games to show us he’s not ready. And you would be happy with that treatment if you were O!?

            The facts are, he didn’t get much of a chance to show the Oilers’ mgmt anything last year in the show, but he continued scoring a 1.0 ppg in the AHL, and stepped right in after a serious ankle injury.

  • justDOit

    There are some pretty creative people on this blogoilosphere, so I offer to you a fun assignment:

    You’ve been ‘quantum leaped’ , back in time to 1980, and you’re in Messier’s body. Sather has just sentenced you to Houston, in order for you to ‘learn how to tell time’.

    But in this parallel universe, you have a twitter account. Give me you best ‘Moose tweets’ about the demotion.

  • Spydyr

    Still yet another mismanaged skill player forced to play with plumbers.

    To bad his father was not buddies with the GM.He might have been given a fair chance to perform.

    Hope he makes it back to show.

      • MessyEH!

        He sure looked good in his rookie year. I think advanced stats said the same. Omark pushed the puck in the right direction. Now this past year He fell victim to the Belanger triangle, and “The Render”. If there was an exception to the “Belanger Triangle” please educate me. Because no one seemed to play well with him.

          • MessyEH!

            Yeah I went back and looked at his scoring chances for and against. Was far from being as bad as Jones. Which is not a compliment?He wasn’t far off the team average. I would have liked the oilers to give Omark a contract similar to Petrells. About a million a year on a two way contract. Omark had the option to go back to Europe if he was being sent to the AHL. He choose to stay in OKC. Because he wanted a shoot at the NHL. I don’t call being saddled with Belanger a fair chance.

  • Wax Man Riley

    Omark signs a 1 year deal in switzerland a couple of weeks before the nhl invasion starts there.He couldnt chosen a better leauge to showcase then that.would be great competition and alot of attention from starving na media.

  • Sheldon Souray deserved to be treated the way he was. Under no circumstances should players be allowed to thrash management like Souray did. He deserved everything he got. Now media are saying Souray’s contract with Anaheim is a bad contract. Oilers haters will bash the Oilers every chance the get. Why don’t the Omark lovers/Oilers haters go cheer for the Swiss team and leave the Oilers alone.

    • MessyEH!

      Yes he got out of Edmonton. Got bought out, and then resigned in the NHL. So he actually made more money than he would have. And then managed to sign another lucrative contract. Did Lowe ever show him. Mean while Sour Ray could have been traded; when he had initially requested it; for much more than the Oilers got in the end. That is poor asset management. The management flushed his value down the drain! They are the only ones who lost.

  • Whether or not Linus Omark is an NHL player is a moot point. His story is one of asset mismanagement. Apparently there was no way the Oilers could bring this asset up and put him in a top 6 position in order to inflate his numbers and create the possibility of a trade. He was all over TSN with his shootout spin-o-rama and the fact that the Oilers – whose season was a COMPLETE wash – could not in any way parlay this modest talent into even a 7th round pick is simply a failure. Not even a 7th rounder?!?!? Really?

  • Reg Dunlop

    Starting with a Moose tweet: ‘Houston? They gotta have coke there. Saw a picture of a ruskie named Bure, someday I gotta fill that twink in.’

    With the puck, Omark is as good as any oiler. Unfortunately thats only about 20% of what makes a hockey player. Still, good luck, Linus.

  • O.C.

    Linus is the best player he ever met.

    Flash sells tickets. He was on the wrong team. Why Columbus or another team looking for a gimmick didn’t pick him up surprises me.

    Then again, we don’t make a living building a team roster.

    Were the rumours of a selfish player who tore down locker room chemistry, UNDER reported?

  • OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F

    Asset mismanagement? Tell me how a 25-year old minor leaguer who is eligible for waivers has any value on the trade market. GM’s usually don’t give up something for a guy who would be on the bubble to make their lineup and would be lost to another team if he didn’t make that lineup.

    With all of the injuries in the 2010-11 season, Omark got his shot in the NHL (a better shot than any healthy or competitive team would have given him), and it didn’t work out. What was Renney supposed to do? Give the guy 21 minutes a night on the top line to inflate his value? So the coach should bench Hall and Eberle just so management can inflate the stats of our fifth round picks and make them more tradeable? Now *that* would be asset mismanagement.

    If any NHL GM thought an under-sized one-dimensional whiner was worth even a seventh round pick, they would have acquired him by now.

    • OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F

      The Oilers were the worst team in the league last year with arguably the worst 3rd and 4th lines in the NHL. And yet we had players like MPS and Omark in the AHL while Lander and Petrell ate up NHL minutes. Whether you like Omark or not isn’t really the point. The point is he (or a similar player) could have helped the Oil last year on the bottom 2 lines. Anyone who suggests Lander had more value in the NHL last year is wearing rose glasses. The Oilers mismanaged this asset. I’m not saying Omark should have been given soft minutes and replaced Hall on the first line but watch the tape – Omark has outstanding puck possession skills. The puck travels in the correct direction when he is on the ice. Lander? Not so much.

      • D-Man

        Omark would not have helped the bottom two lines last year… Although he improved his defensive play – he was still lost in his own zone on many occasions… Omark does have outstanding puck possession skills – but he doesn’t really bring anything else to the table to give Renney (or any other coach for that matter) the confidence to give him a regular 3 or 4th line shift… His offensive skill set warrants top-six minutes and he is well behind the likes of Hall, Hemsky, Eberle and Yakopov on the depth chart..

        I certainly hope Omark has a great season in Switzerland to improve his trade value… I don’t really see him cracking any NHL lineup any time soon, but if we could swing a decent AHL prospect or a 3rd round pick for him, we’d be laughing…