File it under “What is MacTavish Thinking?”, but the Oilers have agreed to terms on a one year 2-way contract with exiled forward Linus Omark.
Linus Omark played in 65 games as an Oiler from 2010-2012 scoring just 8 times and assisting on 22. He had played with Zug in the Swiss League last season as he and the Oilers could not agree upon an NHL contract. The diminutive Swede tore the European league apart, however, netting 69 points in 48 games. With very few options at his disposal he appears to have caved on his 1-way contract demands and will return to Edmonton for training camp.
Omark brings tenacity and creativity in the offensive end, a necessary trait for a man who stands only 5’10” and weighs 180 lbs (listed). He is surprisingly bulldog-ish on the puck (at least when it’s in close proximity to the opponent’s net) for a man who has the build of your average high school girls’ volleyball player. He must be productive in the offensive end to be of value because in his own end he seems to get lost fairly often. In fact, with the departure of fellow Swede Magnus Paajarvi it may be difficult for him to ask directions to the nearest puck carrier.
The sudden reuniting of the Oilers and Omark is actually relatively shocking considering the divorce seemed all but final. Linus had publicly asked to be given a shot by another NHL team and the Oilers apparently tried to oblige him but the 29 other teams didn’t want to part with any assets to get him. The Oil have an overabundance of considerably more talented Right Wingers (and Left Wingers) that he will need to compete with if he wants an NHL job. To land a top 9 spot on the NHL club in his natural position he will need to beat one of Jordan Eberle, Nail Yakupov, and Ales Hemsky. The only place for him may be on the 4th line or on the 3rd line as the LW.
The fact is that, in his time with the Oilers, Omark looked like a “tweener”. He was clearly better than the competition in the minor leagues but unable to produce at a proficient level in the NHL. His arrival will ease the loss of Toni Rajala at the American League level but one imagines that Omark is hoping he never has to spend a minute on the farm. If he does not stick with the big club then he will have to go through waivers before being sent down. At that time we can all see just how badly anyone else wants his services.
At the end of the day, Linus Omark adds some much-needed depth to the Organization as a whole but adds not nearly enough as an everyday player in the NHL. He is woeful in his own end and hasn’t scored enough at the NHL level to warrant the ice-time or teammates he needs to be more successful. That said, he’ll always have this.