Linus Omark: A Top Edmonton Oilers Prospect or a Trading Chip?

Alex ThomasContributor IDecember 31, 2010

Oilers prospect Linus Omark in a game earlier this December against the Columbus Blue Jackets. He would score his first NHL goal in this game
Oilers prospect Linus Omark in a game earlier this December against the Columbus Blue Jackets. He would score his first NHL goal in this gameDale MacMillan/Getty Images

Linus Omark is well known for one type of play: His shootout moves.

He was a star in Edmonton before he ever signed. Why? He scored a beauty of a shootout goal in a game for Sweden a few years back.

He made splashes in his debut. How? He beat the Tampa Bay Lightning with a spin move, followed up by a fake slap shot, and finished off with a five-hole beauty.

The fans love him, but will Linus Omark ever be a star in Edmonton for his play on the Oilers—will he ever be an NHL star?

The answer is simply no, and yes. No, in my mind Linus Omark will not be a star in Edmonton for his play with the Oilers, because in my mind he won't be playing for the Oilers.

He will be an NHL star, but where is the question.

Allow me to explain here: Linus is very talented and with a little more, work he will be a great top six NHL forward, but where does he fit in Edmonton?

Not over Hall, Eberle, Paajarvi, Gagner, Hemsky or Penner I'll say that. That leaves him with a third-line role and can Omark play an NHL third-line role?

The simple answer is no, he can't. He is small and skilled—a perfect top-line winger, not a perfect third-line grinder.

Plus, the Oilers already have tons of small skilled forwards (see list above of forwards ahead of him. All minus Penner are small and skilled—Pens is big and skilled.)

Now, Linus Omark is a player who I think will be an NHL superstar. He has everything needed to be it. He has to moves in the shootout, he has shown flashes of the player he can be too and if he is the fast, skilled shooter/goal-scorer that he shows he can be, he will be a very popular player.

As an Oilers fan, it kind of stinks knowing that this kid simply won't ever be what he truly can be in Edmonton, because there is so much young talent ahead of him right now. If they can't get Linus to be a star in Edmonton, might as well get the optimum return for him.

If I was a betting man, and I'm not, I'd say that Omark is traded this summer, possibly at the NHL draft to a team looking for a star youngster. The Oilers have needs to fill like a bottom six center, a few crash-and-bang wingers and a shutdown defender or two; trading Omark could get you a piece or two.

Now before anyone goes off saying that I'm an Omark hater, let me explain to you that I think that Omark is going to be a great player. Omark has so much talent, and will only get better.

Right now, I think it's a mistake to have him in the NHL.

I always find myself yelling at the TV because he made a bad pass, or got pushed off the puck or because he screwed up on defense leading to a goal or scoring chance. Those are the things that can be fixed with AHL playing time. I'm talking top line AHL minutes, against the top defenders down there, working on his weaknesses.

I think the Oilers will send him down and he will be a better player for that in the future. Omark has skill, no one will deny that, but I think he still needs some work.

Now, if the third-line was used as a scoring line, Omark would be set in Edmonton, but the third-line is grinders who play great in their own end and can play the PK. No offense to Linus, but that is not his thing—he is like a mini Hemsky.

Linus could fetch the best return of anyone that the Oilers are willing to deal. Heck, Linus could bring in that shutdown, top defensive prospect the Oilers need. He could also bring in a shutdown guy that has played a few years and knows what needs to be done.

Some Oilers fans will comment here that I'm dumb for saying Omark won't be an Oiler much longer, and will disagree with me on it and prove me wrong; some Oilers fans will come on and say that they agree with me on my thoughts on Omark.

Either way, I want hear your thoughts on this article.

We will know the answer to my question really soon: Is Linus Omark a top prospect or a top trading piece?

It will be very interesting to see what the Oilers do with Linus Omark. If they keep him, you can expect Hemsky to be traded next season (a contract year) and expect Omark to be a big part of the future.

If they decide to trade him, expect Omark to get you a good return, which can help you big time in the future.


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