MILES TO GO

The playoffs are underway in the American Hockey League, but the offensive leader–and most talented offensive player–is not on the roster. Edmonton and Oklahoma fans will say goodbye to Linus Omark over the summer, but we shouldn’t be surprised if he lands in another NHL city and thrives.

NHL equivalencies are the brain child of Gabriel Desjardins, the man who gave us behind the net for those days when we simply have to find an answer to questions like "how tough an opponent is Taylor Hall up against every night?" and have nowhere to go.

Gabe’s NHL equivalencies have certainly stood the test of time, and in the case of the AHL we nick all players by .44 when placing them into the NHL. Here are the NHL equivalencies for OKC Barons forwards in 11-12.

RIDDLE ME THIS BATM…ER WOMAN!

OKC BARONS NHLE’S—FORWARDS (all per 82gp)

NAME

G

A

PTS

LINUS OMARK

12

20

32

MAGNUS PAAJARVI

7

20

27

JOSH GREEN

11

15

26

RYAN KELLER

11

14

25

TEEMU HARTIKAINEN

10

13

23

MARK ARCOBELLO

8

13

21

PHIL CORNET

13

7

20

HUNTER TREMBLAY

8

8

16

TYLER PITLICK

4

9

13

ANTON LANDER

3

10

13

CHRIS VANDE VELDE

4

8

12

ANTTI TYRVAINEN

4

8

12

TANNER HOUSE

4

7

11

TRISTON GRANT

7

3

10

CURTIS HAMILTON

4

6

10

MILAN KYTNAR

3

5

8

RYAN MARTINDALE

0

5

5

CAMERON ABNEY

0

0

0

Omark is the class of the group, no surprise there. Edmonton’s skill wingers of the future are all on the team and younger than Omark, save for Nail Yakupov and he’ll pass the Swede on draft day. I believe the Oilers are missing out on a tremendous young player, but when the competition is Hall, Eberle, Hemsky and Yakupov then these things will happen. But please don’t try to tell me the Oilers have an interest in three scoring lines. They don’t, and proof will come when Omark is sent away this summer.

Magnus Paajarvi’s NHLE is in line with his rookie NHL season, we could see the same player following up MP’s 80, 15-19-34 debut in the NHL a year ago. I think the organization will try Paajarvi in a third line role this coming season with established linemates (say, Smyth and Horcoff or Belanger) and he’ll get a full season to show he can play in a support role.

Teemu Hartikainen is in many ways the most interesting player of the group. Hartikainen’s size and grit make him a "perfect fit" or close to based on team need. I can see the Oilers giving him a long look at training camp, hoping he’ll bring some muscle and a physical presence to one of the kid lines. Enormous opportunity for Hartikainen, depending on players signed and traded away.

Anton Lander had a tough NA debut, struggling badly in most areas at the NHL level and given little time to regroup in the AHL before the playoffs. I’m not certain his NHL time or the AHL numbers give us a true reading of him as an offensive player. We know it’ll be shy of Paajarvi, but he’ll get a chance again next year to play a regular shift and establish himself in North America.

Much has been made of the offensive output of Tyler Pitlick and Curtis Hamilton this year, notably an article by Jonathan Willis yesterday here at Oilers Nation. It focused on Pitlick, but the same things can be said of the former Saskatoon Blade as well. I mostly agree with Jonathan’s points, but would suggest there is a significant part of the equation missing from the discussion.

TIME ON ICE

If Tyler Pitlick’s NHLE above comes on 14 minutes a night at evens plus 2 on the PP then this is not a player who will be able to survive offensively in the NHL.

If however–and I think there’s evidence–Pitlick didn’t become a regular in the traditional sense of the word until late into the season then the number above is likely unfair to Pitlick. In his last 23 games (including the 2 playoff games), Pitlick has posted 4-10-14 numbers. If he maintained that over an entire season, his NHLE would be 82gp, 6-16-22. Certainly not close to being a candidate for one of the skill lines, but given his other skills it would put Pitlick in a position to be a 3 or 4 line solution.

WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN?

I agree with Jonathan’s overall view on the subject, and do believe Pitlick will end up being a 3 or 4 line contributor. However, the time on ice omission (it isn’t Jon’s fault, TOI in AHL is not available) is a major one, and I think there’s a degree of danger is making a decision on a player so early in his pro career. Jason Chimera didn’t do much as an AHL rookie, but blossomed when the opportunity to play presented itself. I think we need more evidence before making any kind of call on Pitlick or Hamilton. Miles to go.

  • RexLibris

    Seeing as it is now open season on “what is Linus Omark worth on the trade market”, I’ve been knocking around a few ideas.

    Detroit seems an obvious candidate, but at what cost? Their draft position devalues many of their later-round picks, yet they have already traded a 1st round pick and may be reluctant to move a 2nd rounder in the same year. I also don’t know that Ken Holland is a big fan of trading picks in future years, so I won’t suggest that. That leaves one of their prospects and I think we can safely exclude Tomas Jurco, Tomas Tatar, Teemu Pulkinnen and Brendan Smith from that list.

    Columbus could be interesting, but I could only see Scott Howson moving a 3rd round pick for Omark. At this point Omark’s selling feature is along the lines of “a bird in the hand…” for many GMs.

    Montreal may be the more easily swayed party as they have two 2nd round picks this year and three next year. Omark for a 2013 2nd round pick? That would give the Oilers three 2nd round picks in that draft year. And Omark does fit the size criteria for the Canadiens. What if the Oilers were to move Omark and Peckham together to the Canadiens?

    Now this last one may be apples and oranges because of style of play and age, but would Omark be worth Cody Beach of the Moose Jaw Warriors? St. Louis could afford Omark’s small stature in their lineup, although his play might make Hitchcock’s head explode. It would probably be an underpayment for Omark, but I think we need to accept that he isn’t going to be worth great deal at this stage.

    Now the really crazy trade idea: Omark to Calgary for one of Ferland, Reinhart or Gaudreau. It would help Oiler fans move past the grieving stage and directly into anger towards Omark, and Flames fans would be irate at Feaster for making another trade with their despised northern cousins. At this stage Omark would almost immediately slide into their top six rotation and improve their powerplay.

    Yeah, I know, not going to happen.

    I would have said Omark to Calgary for draft picks, but Feaster has already traded many of those away.

    • Rocknrolla

      I see him going to Dallas, Phoenix, or Montreal. 3 worst PP teams last year.

      Anyone see coach Hunter on the Washington bench. He’s drinking out of the old Gatorade style water bottle like he did as a player. Love it. No bottled Evian for him. After each goal he takes a swig.

  • Jenga

    Too many Oilers fans are obsessed with not letting any skilled players”get away”. I would have thought that after the Shremp debacle people would have learned that potential is not enough to keep a player on the roster. Especially on this roster. If you were building a hockey version of the Harlem Globetrotters he would be awesome. If you are building an NHL playoff team, not so much.

  • I certainly agree that role has something to do with Pitlick’s numbers. OKC’s depth could be a negative in that regard.

    On the other hand, “he didn’t get an opportunity” can also mean “he didn’t win a prominent job early.”

    I’m not saying write the kid off, just try to keep the expectations realistic. Right now he’s a bit of a question mark in terms of offensive ability, and if we’re projecting forward based on what we know now, we’re probably looking at a bottom-six role in the NHL.

    • Lowetide

      Agreed. I do think there’s some evidence that coach Nelson brings these kids along at a certain pace (Cornet as an example from the year before and Hartikainen too).

      Frankly, and not to be a jerk, but I doubt any of these AHL kids who play wing will be getting prime offensive minutes in Edmonton through the end of the decade.

      Unless injuries hit, Hall-Eberle and Yakupov are going to eat a lot of the prime time.

    • I like Marc Staal, and we’ll see what the Oilers do this summer, but generally I’d be pretty hesitant to move the 2013 first were I the GM.

      Optimism reigns in the summer, but this is a team that has finished in the bottom 2 three years in a row, and the 2013 draft may have 5 or 6 guys who project better than any player, except Yakupov, in the 2012 draft.

    • Wax Man Riley

      I agree…. and since he will be going to Tampa, we will only see him once a year. So my Wax Man Riley Equivalencies (WMRNHLE) for Omark are 2 points. One in Edmonton, and one over the rest of the year (and a shootout goal)

  • OilFan

    How many points would Omark need to be considered good in Oiler fans eyes ? I’ve already read 50 points is a stretch. How many Oilers hit over 50 points last season or the year before ?

  • Couldnt agree more with RB. Omark is completely one dimensional. Thats OK when youre Phil Kesel and you can score 50 goals in a good year. But when you’re Omark and 50 points seems like a stretch then youre in Rob Schremp territory. Too good for the AHL not good enough to keep an NHL job.

    His flair can help sell tickets in Columbus, but it wont help Edmonton win championships.

  • Lowetide

    Lowetide – dont wanna pile on about LOs inrelevant intangibles.

    I agree he has an uncanny ability to walk out of scrums with the puck fishing it out of feet/skates. But dont think that’d be effective in the playoffs where “take the body first” is the MO.

    Boxcars are ok but there’s no more room for a sub 6′ F in the top 9. Those around are better than Linus.

  • For me, it’s simple, and size has nothing to do with it.

    Don’t tell me how offensively talented or creative Omark is — I think it’s obvious he has eye-grabbing flair — or pump his tires with underlying numbers, just show me his bottom line in good old-fashioned boxcars.

    Will Omark ever produce enough G-A-Pts as a top-six forward to make up for dimensions he doesn’t offer? I doubt it. He’s 25. What you see it what you get.

    • Lowetide

      Okay. Well, as a rookie in the NHL Omark went 51, 5-22-27 for the Oilers. There were 10 rookie forwards with better numbers and three of them were Oilers.

      that’s some pretty good boxcars, no? Especially considering he played 51 games (a lesser total than all who finished ahead of him)?

  • yawto

    Im standing in the same line as Brownlee…cant see it happening. Too much peripheral zone play for me. Move him now before buses or pucks are the only option in return …. but still kinda stumped as to the decision to have him not play in the AHL playoffs (is he a cancer in the room ie is there a Souray-like concern).

    Also Lowetide — nice to see more local content (Jamie Sale !!)

    • Lowetide

      Pat: I believe the concern there was losing him via waivers. Omark can’t get sent down without being exposed and would likely get taken.

      Actually, Omark is pretty good at winning the puck in scrums, but the size issue is a major one (plus there may be something else, which is why I asked Robin above).

      As for Jamie Sale, yeah. She’s talented, beautiful and from all we know a great person.