NHL Trade Speculation: 5 Teams That Could Be in the Hunt for Linus Omark

Steve SilvermanFeatured ColumnistJanuary 4, 2013

Linus Omark has an array of offensive moves.
Linus Omark has an array of offensive moves.Dale MacMillan/Getty Images

Linus Omark is flashing his talent while playing with Zug in the Swiss National "A" League.

The talented Omark has scored 13 goals and 32 assists in 31 games.

The Swiss National "A" League does not compare with the Swedish Elite League or the KHL. It certainly does not compare with the NHL.

However, Omark has legitimate game-changing talent.

He has an array of moves that get your attention when he is one-on-one with a defenseman or when he breaks in alone on a goaltender.

Omark may turn out to be the best shootout artist of all time (see highlights below).

He is not big at 5'10" and 180 pounds, so he will never be an NHL grinder. But the talent is there, and if he is on the right team, Omark could develop into an exciting player.

Omark remains the property of the Edmonton Oilers. While the Oilers have been struggling for years, they have a boatload of young talent including Jordan Eberle, Taylor Hall, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and last year's No. 1 draft pick Nail Yakupov.

Omark, 25, may not get his shot with the Oilers. They have enough young stars and need some strong veteran leadership to help them.

As a result, it seems likely that Omark will be available in a trade to a team that wants to make a move for him when the lockout finally comes to an end.

The Florida Panthers would seem to be a team that might take a chance on Omark. He has the potential to be a star, and Florida general manager Dale Tallon likes to associate with young, talented players.

Tallon was running the Chicago Blackhawks when they drafted Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews. He was fired before they won the Stanley Cup, but he is seen as the architect of that 2010 championship team.

The Panthers became a playoff team under Tallon's stewardship last year, so he has the cache to trade for a potential star like Omark.

It's a boom-or-bust move, but Tallon is not afraid to make that kind of deal.

Some contending teams may want to make a move for Omark for the same reason. Many teams may have to make salary-saving trades or cuts when the lockout ends, so they may be willing to take a shot on Omark, who made a prorated $875,000 last year during his time with the Oilers.

For example, the Boston Bruins and the Vancouver Canucks are both well above the projected $60 million salary cap. If they have to cut key veteran players, both may be willing to take a shot on Omark.

The Philadelphia Flyers may have to part with some of their offensive talent so they can acquire strong defensive players. The Flyers have several injuries on the blue line—most notably to Chris Pronger—and general manager Paul Holmgren may be forced to make a move to get better defensively. That means he may be willing to gamble on an offensive player like Omark to fill in for the offensive players he traded.

The Detroit Red Wings are still an explosive offensive team, but they will go through an adjustment period without the retired Nicklas Lidstrom. The Red Wings have been known for their offensive stars, so they may want to take a chance on Omark as well.

Theoretically, Omark has the talent to make a contribution at the NHL level. However, he will need to capitalize on his chance when it comes.

If not, Omark may have to stay in Europe if he wants to be a professional hockey player.