Linus Omark Recalled


So. That happened.

It feels like it’s been a long time coming, but the Oilers have decided to call-up Linus Omark.

The Lineup

The interesting item here (or at least one of them) is the timing. Ryan Smyth played last night, which went some distance toward neutralizing the Oilers’ need for a left wing. Here’s what the forward lines looked like against Florida:

  • Hemsky – Nugent-Hopkins – Eberle
  • Smyth – Gagner – Yakupov
  • Jones – Gordon – Arcobello
  • Gazdic – Acton – Eager

Where does Omark fit in that group, and who comes out for him?

The first task is to find him a spot in the top-nine, and that seems pretty straight-forward even if we assume no injury. The fourth line struggled badly last night, and I’d guess that Ben Eager rotates out and Ryan Jones moves down to right wing. Smyth gets bumped down to the third line with Gordon and Arcobello, and Omark slots in with Gagner and Yakupov on an all-offence line.

There are other ways to do it, but there seems at least to be a spot for him in the rotation.

The window for Omark to make an impression is narrow here: Taylor Hall and Jesse Joensuu and David Perron are all out of the lineup with injury, and if even one or two of them get back and Omark hasn’t done much he’ll be on his way back to the farm.

More to Come?

Rumour has it the Oilers and the New York Rangers have been talking trade, with the Rangers in bad need of a skilled winger. Could it be that there’s a trade in place for one of the Oilers’ wings? 

Because that’s certainly one way to read this recall. If an Ales Hemsky (or maybe even Nail Yakupov) is heading out of town, there’s suddenly a slot on a skill line that needs filling and Omark’s the only really viable candidate for the role. 

Maybe there’s nothing more to this than the coach being unhappy with his lines and deciding those guys from the farm did such a nice job injecting some scoring into the lineup that it makes sense to add one more. But it’s certainly possible that there’s another shoe left to drop.

Recently by Jonathan Willis

  • Keon14

    Gagner and Yak have been a disaster. Why would a defensive minded coach such as Eakins put these two together? Does adding Omark to the line make defensive sense? Would it not make more sense to put Gagner on the wing with Gordon at center? Can anyone explain Eakins thinking?

  • Spydyr

    Please drop the other shoe. This team is in terrible need of heart, grit and some mean. Let it be Hemsky or Gagner gone.

    I would also love to see Dubnyk waving goodbye like he waved at the third Florida goal last night.

      • Spydyr

        I like compromise and have no argument concerning the fourth line going. Even with the fourth line replaced the team still needs functional toughness in the top six. At least two players who have some nasty and can play the game.

  • 2004Z06

    Perfect. The Oil are badly in need of an undersized, offensive minded forward who doesn’t back check. What the hell, bring him up. This is just another example of how poorly constructed this organization is. It’s ok for a team to have a couple guys like that. Tampa has St. Louis, Chicago has Kane, Dallas has Ray Whitney. But with Oil it’s three full lines worth of wimpy, gritless, undersized stick handlers. No team in the NHL ever won a cup with a team like this. No team in the NHL ever made the playoffs with a team like this.

    Great win in Florida last night by the way. Way to hold a lead. Now all they have to do is win 19 more in a row and they’re back in contention.

    Here’s the new chant I hope the fans start doing at Rexall.

    “Kevin Lowe has got to go, Kevin Lowe has got to go, Kevin Lowe has got to go!”

  • Benny Botts

    •Omark – Gagner – Yakupov

    That is an absolute D-Zone nightmare! If those 3 are a line they better only be getting offensive starts and facing some soft competition on the other end. Yikes..

  • Just a personal observation here. I know it’s fashionable to slam smaller players that aren’t overtly physical as gritless, gutless wimps.

    But I can’t help noticing that Sam Gagner has come back early from a broken jaw, and the last few years has done things like fight to avenge a dirty hit.

    I can’t help noticing that Ales Hemsky throwing himself into a shot block and then making a pass from his knees started the rush that led to Taylor Fedun’s goal last night.

    I couldn’t help noticing Linus Omark gritting through a vicious hit to the head, then multiple leg injuries and keep playing. It was funny talking to the guy after the game, with ice-packs strapped at various places, and listening to him explain how frustrated he was – not that he was taking a beating, but that he was generating chances and they weren’t turning into goals.

    I get that the Oilers are lopsided in favour of guys that lack size and perhaps cheat a little too frequently for offence. I get that sticking a Wayne Simmonds-type in the lineup rather than an Ales Hemsky-type would add an extra dimension that the team is currently lacking.

    But for the most part, I don’t get the attacks on the character of these guys. Yes, Gagner and Omark and Hemsky are all on the small side, and all can be frustrating to watch at times. But do we really believe they’re terribly lacking in heart?

    • Spydyr

      They are hockey players. Professional NHL players. It is expected , that is why they are millionaires. Guys do the same stuff in a beer league for pride and their teammates. Something the Oilers could use. Playing and standing up for each other.

    • Romulus' Apotheosis

      Remember that embarrassing display by the Flyers vs. the Caps?

      You know, where the Flyers got destroyed 7-0?

      Where they managed to lose two key top 6 forwards to injury in some futile display of toughness:

      Yea… that game.

      Now create a Venn Diagram in your head.

      In one circle put people that watched that game and identified with the Flyers and consoled themselves with words like “they put up a fight” “they weren’t going to get pushed around” etc.

      In the other circle put EDM media personalities and fans committed to not simply improving the Oilers but specifically to the faith that “toughness” in and of itself is an improvement.

      Want to bet on how large the overlap is?

    • I tried to prop the living h3ll out of this comment but alas only one got through.

      Gagner shouldn’t really be playing. It was pretty obvious last night that with even a slight bump in his face he’s in real pain (which I suspect is why he can’t forecheck right now). On top of which he has that stupid full-face shield which is no doubt throwing him off. Tough little bastard if you ask me. I’ve gained alot of respect for Sam over the last couple of games.

      Half the guys here call in sick if they wake up with the sniffles.

      • 2004Z06

        I think Sam’s eagerness to return had more to do with Arcobello eating his lunch than anything else.

        I have a lot of respect for Sam’s compete level, but as I have stated many times, his defensive liabilities and lack of faceoff prowess do not make him a centerman. he is better off on the wing, or used in a package deal for a trade.

        The guy bleeds copper and blue, but this team does not get better with him at 1C or 2C.

        • Do you want to give up a 65 point 2LC? Because that’s what Gagner is now.

          If you want a guy the size of say Boyd Gordon with the same faceoff abilities who can also put up those kind of points points, join the lineup. Every team in the league wants more of those players.

          Trade Gagner and you need to get back at least as much in scoring. It won’t happen because those guys are either locked down or far more expensive. Not to mention every freaking team in the league knows that’s what we need. There’s simply no deals out there where we won’t get taken to the woodshed or I have to believe MacT would have already pulled the trigger.

          • Unfortunately that was the stat that got Sam a new contract and would be the evaluation point for the rest of the league too. That and his outstanding PK and PP play.

            He may not fit into your definition of success because he doesn’t punch faces much or deliver crushing body checks, but Sam is a pretty valuable player because (healthy) he helps a team put up W’s by contributing the things team success is determined by in the standings – G’s and A’s.

          • Joy S. Lee

            He helps a team put up W’s? Um, hate to break it to you, but Sam’s lifetime NHL record would pretty much suck about as bad as you’ll find. Not all his fault, but THAT is a FACT….even more factual than his fictional 65-point season. When Sam starts dominating, let me know. Great attitude helps, but does not guarantee wins, quite the opposite.

            Of all the guys on the Oilers we allow excuses for, who on the team is perhaps the weakest defensively? Would Sam be amongst that group? If so, this is what, season 7 for him? I think he’s had time to figure it out. That doesn’t sound very promising.

            And, I hope I’m wrong…..but don’t think I am.

          • Stack Pad Save

            I agree. I don’t like Sam Gagner with the Oilers. He is a servicable NHL player as an offensive specialist, but the Oilers have a much better version of him in RNH. Also Arcobello has proven to be a better all around option as he is a better forechecker, better defensively and better at the face off. Gagner fans are out to lunch, the guy is invisible unless he does something horrendous most nights that cause goals against. He than puts up a great game here or there and gets in the occasional scrap and some fans love him for it. I personally would use him in a trade for something we really need if I was GM. …… but than again, I am not the GM.

          • 2004Z06

            On most of your points, I would agree with your comments albeit one.

            It has been mentioned many times that in order to change the make up of the top six, you may have to move out a point producer in exchange for a player that may not necessarily produce the points on par, but brings more of what the team needs overall ie. grit, defensive responsibility, size, puck possession, face off% etc.

            I agree that teams are not eager to trade these types of players hence the comment about using Gagner in a package to get the return.

            You are correct in the fact that every GM knows what we need, but there are many teams out there that have size and are lacking scoring. Sam could be well insulated on a team like that as the size of his linemates would not only protect him against the Kassians of the world but would allow him more time and space as well as cover up for some of his defensive short comings.

  • Keon14

    Can anyone clear this up for me – why don’t we have Arcobello playing center and Gagner on the wing? Gagner won 22% of draws last night, and 9% the game before. He’s not a great skater, and while Arcobello isn’t much better, he does have more of a presence at the faceoff dot.

    I cringe every time Gags takes an O-zone draw, especially on the PP… wasted chance!

  • shanetrain

    I can’t figure this move out at all. There is no arguing the consensus that the Oilers need to do something to get bigger, instead we keep on getting smaller.

    Id Robbie Schremp still available? He’s probably next.

  • oilerjed


    Is there any word if LO will play tomorrow night?


    If hall comes back move Hemsky to 3L and Acro moves to 4C. Acton and Eager can share popcorn.

  • I dont mind this call up. I liked what we saw in Pitlick but he got injured in the PHX game and I hope Omark can contribute. Who is getting sent out of town? It better not be Ales Hemsky, this guy had dont everything he has been asked this year, including sacrificing his body to block shots. I am hoping that we will see Yakupov sent to NYC for Del Zotto. I really wanted Yak to turn into that Bure type player but I dont think he will and frankly, we dont have time to wait for his development to maybe happen or not. I would hate to see Hemsky go at this point, I do not think he is part of the problem.

    • Romulus' Apotheosis

      I’m greedy. For me to part ways with Yak, I want one of the Rangers’ top pairs, Ryan McDonaugh. Del Zotto is a great Dman, but he’s currently in a 3/4 pair.

  • derrickhands

    In part it has do to do with Omark size, but on the whole Omark is a puckhog that likes to hold on to the puck too long looking for the perfect shot. This results all too often of him getting stripped of the puck giving the opposition a odd man rush advantage. He still hasn’t learned that hockey is a team game and to play in his own end.

  • 2004Z06

    RE Yakupov getting traded.

    79 Games. 23 Goals. 23 Assists.

    Those are Steven Stamkos rookie year stats.

    Until Yak has AT LEAST 82 games under his belt, he gets a pass in EVERY way. He competes more than most on the oilers and the days that he doesn’t seem lost, he shows some brilliant flashes. One day he’ll learn to use his team mates to set him up and it’ll be one time city all night long.

    Currently he is ahead of Stamkos statistically (in rookie year, 82 game comparison)… to part with him now may be us parting with a future 40 or even 50+ goal scorer.

    I’d rather see Eberle go than see Yak go. We know exactly what Eberle is and brings, and while he is probably a 30 goal scorer on a good team and I’ve always loved him being Mr. Clutch… Yak hits and shows REAL passion. I believe in a couple years, he’ll be that transformed number one guy with more size than he currently has and he’ll be every goalie’s nightmare.

    SO. Unless a #1 d man is coming back (Seth Jones would be a good fit, but I prefer him playing with Shea Weber for the year), Yak should stay and any of Eberle, Hemsky, Gagner and whatever d prospects should be on the trade block.

    My .02.

    • DSF

      Stamkos posted those numbers as an 18 year old…Yakupov is 20.

      When Stamkos was 19, he scored 51G 44A 95P

      When Stamkos was 20, he scored 45G 46A 91P

      Also worth noting, Nail Yakupov has the worst plus/minus in the NHL at -13.

      • Romulus' Apotheosis

        This is a completely valid point. Age is a very good indicator of true talent. That’s why you don’t evaluate “rookies” (for example) when one is 18 and the other is 24 (unless you are giving away meaningless awards).

        Age is a great caveat to this conversation. As are birth month and things like lockouts.

        All that said, we need to add even more caveats and ask why you are making the four month difference in age between the two do so much work here? It makes your analysis sketchy at best and certainly clouds the value of it.

        A couple of factual questions for you: what counts as a player’s “age year” for you?

        Why not simply use “draft year +”?

          • Romulus' Apotheosis

            that’s draft year +2. (hint: “draft year” = the year you are drafted)

            not sure why you would fudge on that. I don’t think anyone is trying to run Stamkos down around here.

          • Romulus' Apotheosis

            Yes. rookie season = “draft year +1”

            07-08 (draft eligible junior season = “draft year”)

            08-09 (rookie NHL season = “draft year +1”)

            09-10 (sophomore NHL season = “draft year +2)


          • Back to your original argument – no way I would say Yak will become Stamkos, but many thought Stamkos wouldn’t become Stamkos. Not every 1st overall pick has to be the best goal scorer in the league, but they are the most likely bets at an extremely young age, before they are allowed to buy liquor or vote. I would settle for a legitimate top line forward, and there’s still no indication to me that he cannot become this.

            But if you want to talk purely about production early in NHL careers and use stats to prove your point, here are some stats that prove that Yak is better, even with this horrendous slump he finds himself in, than Stamkos.


            You see how I just took a few credible numbers, inserted them in an argument to make myself look smart? This post is straight from the DSF school of logic. Thank you, and please, from here on out, lets only talk about Yak’s value as being greater or equal to that of one of the game’s elite forwards…

        • DSF

          Generally speaking, although there are certainly exceptions, the physical maturation of young men changes drastically from the age of 18 to 20.

          Often, observers of the draft miss the obvious that one player taken may be almost a year older than another and then are amazed when the younger player takes a major step forward.

          While “draft year +” makes it easier to compare players, it lacks the age context.

          In any event, Yakupov played 70 professional hockey games last season and, while he performed quite well, much of his production came in garbage time and against teams that were already comfortably in the playoffs.

          Using your “draft year +” approach even with the caveat that Yakupov is older than Stamkos in the year, the comparative production looks pretty dreadful for Yakupov.

          Now, some of that difference may be team effects but it’s worth noting that Stamkos posted his numbers on a team that finished 25th overall that season but Stamkos managed to finish 4th in league scoring with 95 points and led his team in scoring.

          I don’t think there is any danger than Yakupov will do any of those things.

          • DSF


            Who did Stamkos play with in his rookie season?

            In 2008/09, Stamkos was 8th among TB forwards and still managed to score 23G 23A 46P.

            The following season, his “draft +1” year, he was moved to the top line and was second among TB forwards in ice time and his production absolutely exploded.

            You need to remember that Barry Melrose was the coach in TB during Stamkos’ rookie season and one of the major reason he was turfed was because of the way Stamkos was mishandled.

            I would imagine that, if Yakupov was producing at the same level as Stamkos was in his second season, he would be getting top line minutes with Hopkins and Hall.

            But he isn’t.

      • Zarny

        Stamkos also had St. Louis passing him the puck and still had Vinnie on the other line.

        Age is a factor but experience counts for far more and Yak has only played 63 games.

        Take a look at Tavares’ numbers…I guess he’s just a hack because he didn’t put up 50 G in his 2nd year.

        Oh and how did you like Galchenyuk looking like a lost puppy when Mon moved him to C the other night?

      • Word to the Bird

        Treating someone’s ascent to stardom as a linear one is folly.
        When Crosby and Ovechkin came into the league, most people claimed Ovechkin was the better of the two. Nowadays, it’s Crosby, and it’s not close.

        You’re splitting hairs to say that Yakupov is behind in his development just because Stamkos progressed differently. Bottom line: Yakupov broke Stamkos’ records for Sarnia so it’s far too early to jump to conclusions just yet.

  • Romulus' Apotheosis

    I would be interested in your thoughts with the rangers on who should come back for Yak. Hemsky is off the table as he has low value to all teams except the oilers.

  • Romulus' Apotheosis

    Generally speaking, although there are certainly exceptions, the physical maturation of young men changes drastically from the age of 18 to 20.

    Agreed complete. Said as much. However, your mark of which year of play to count as which age year is in question here.

    Often, observers of the draft miss the obvious that one player taken may be almost a year older than another and then are amazed when the younger player takes a major step forward.

    While “draft year +” makes it easier to compare players, it lacks the age context.

    Completely agreed. I mentioned it even.

    One of the reasons Barkov (September 2, 1995 (age 18) was given such a big lead on Monahan last year (October 12, 1994 (age 19)… nearly a full year older.

    Teams are getting smarter on this score… but still ignore its effects to their peril.

    In any event, Yakupov played 70 professional hockey games last season and, while he performed quite well, much of his production came in garbage time and against teams that were already comfortably in the playoffs.

    His KHL scoring is an interesting note. It certainly bolsters his Pro performance.

    The “garbage time” doesn’t apply to most his pro year and is certainly a wash if you are comparing it to Stamkos’ 08-09 Lightning.

    I have no idea what you think this caveat accomplishes, esp. vs. Stamkos.

    Using your “draft year +” approach even with the caveat that Yakupov is older than Stamkos in the year, the comparative production looks pretty dreadful for Yakupov.

    You haven’t explained how 4 months makes the comparison dreadful. But if we look at draft +2 year, there is no way to cover for Yakupov. He’s had a dreadful year and by this point Stamkos was rolling. No argument there.

    Only to note that Yakupov’s career is still very young.

    I also agree. the chance that Yak’s sophomore will come anywhere near Stamkos’ is pure fantasy.

    • DSF

      Of course the lockout makes things a little wonky but there’s nothing that can be done about that.

      I think the “garbage time” aspect of Yakupov’s rookie season IS something that needs a closer look.

      He scored 34 NHL points last season with 10G and 15P coming in April.

      His shooting percentage in April was 30.3%.

      Clearly an unsustainable run for anyone.

      • Romulus' Apotheosis

        It’s not much of an argument. esp. against a player playing on a terrible, terrible team.

        What you really want is an argument about sample size.

      • Vaclav

        You’re right. You should look at the “garbage time” aspect of his rookie season a bit closer.

        In April Yakupov scored:
        3G 1A against a Wild squad fighting for their playoff lives

        1 G against Chicago who went 10-4 in the month

        1 G against Phoenix who were still in the playoff chase

        1 A against each of LA and Anaheim who were fighting for playoff positioning

        3G 1A against the Flames which are never garbage games as far as intensity goes

        3G against the Vancouver Canucks ECHL affiliate albeit with Luongo in net

        So if we ignore the Vancouver game he still scored 8G 4A in 13 meaningful games. Keep beating that “garbage time” drum DSF.