Edmonton Oilers prospect Linus Omark told the Edmonton Journal a couple of weeks ago that he wasn’t too happy being sent down to the AHL and that he doesn’t intend to stay down there for long. While it might be encouraging to hear a young player vow to not want to be in the minors, this situation may be different.
Omark has other options.
His contract allows him to return to Europe if he is in the AHL. He made it clear in the Journal article that if he didn’t end up in the NHL that’s exactly what he would do.
So now what does Edmonton do?
Do they trade the 24-year-old? If so, what would they be looking for?
Trading Omark may be their best option for a couple of reasons. For one, they are pretty loaded with young offensive forwards and Omark already is somewhat of the odd man out. They may also be able to pick up a nice return for him.
While he did play 51 games in Edmonton last season, he was often a healthy scratch this season and eventually was sent back to the AHL. Now that he is making it public that he is not happy, the Oilers may be better off moving him.
Now, having him come out and say he isn’t happy may hinder the Oilers a bit, but there will still be a market for a young talented player.
The Oilers have burst out of the gates this season and have visions of the Stanley Cup Playoffs. They are relying on the resurgent Nikolai Khabibulin and their young superstars Taylor Hall and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins.
Some of the same players that have forced them to send Omark down.
If they are looking to make a run this season, moving Omark for a veteran defenseman would make a lot of sense. The Oilers have had their blue line decimated with injuries this season.
The biggest losses have been Cam Barker and Ryan Whitney. They have had to dig deep into their farm team and last week against Chicago started two AHL defenseman. While they won that game, they can’t maintain that for too long.
Omark is a high enough profile prospect that they might be able to land a veteran defenseman to help them make a playoff push.
The Oilers have seen Ales Hemsky return from an early season injury, but there have been trade rumors swirling around him all offseason and if he is moved they might also want to move Omark to bring in more scoring depth.
However, the lack of scoring depth that they have—especially veteran scoring—may make the trade of Hemsky a non-starter. So it seems like a long shot that Omark would be traded for another forward.
Whatever they decide to do they have a dilemma with Omark. When a player starts chirping about not being happy you either have to move him or be stuck with a player that is disgruntled or one who eventually may leave for Europe leaving you with nothing.
Moving him will ensure that the Oilers get something in return, and that something just might help them make the playoffs.