Anyone remember this guy? No heart, lazy, too small and entitled? Linus Omark? Yeah, that’s the guy. Omark’s career saga with the Oilers has been brief; just 65 games over two seasons. If it lacks in length, it more than makes up for it with the drama of a roller coaster ride. From being drafted with little fanfare in the 4th round in the 2007 NHL entry draft, he wasn’t really noticed by Oiler fans until his rather cheeky, unorthodox shootout moves overseas showed up on YouTube. His first regular season game was December 1oth, 2010, and made a rather large mark on the ending of that game.
Since then, everything’s started to go downhill for Linus, steadily falling out of favour with the Oilers management and coaching staff, which saw him demoted to the Oklahoma City Barons, called up near the end of the season but subsequently being benched for the rest of the year. He tweeted what might as well have been interpreted as a trade request and voiced his general displeasure of the situation.
Strangely enough, the Oilers made a qualifying offer to Omark in the offseason, but the two parties didn’t make a deal, and Omark signed with EV Zug of the Swiss National League, reactions were mixed, but it seemed the prevailing thought among most Oiler fans was one of “good riddance to bad rubbish”, and figured he would fade away to obscurity in Europe.
And then this little piece of information comes in:
Former Edmonton Oiler Linus Omark has points in 13 straight games for Zug in the Swiss league. #oilers
— Uffe Bodin (@UffeBodin) October 23, 2012
I’ll preface this by stating I’m not an expert on the quality of play of in the Swiss National League, say… compared to the AHL, I’d have a hard time believe the gap is all that large. There are quite a few established NHL players over in Switzerland this year, and let’s compare Omark’s production (21 points in 14 games) to what they’re putting up.
- Logan Couture – 10 GP, 10 P
- Jason Spezza – 10 GP, 11P
- John Tavares – 7 GP, 9P
- Tyler Seguin – 9 GP, 10P
Henrik Zetterberg has just joined EV Zug as well, and is tied 4th in team scoring after posting up 7 points in his first two games with the club. Canadiens defenceman Raphael Diaz is 3rd with 14 points, and for some ex-Oiler trivia, the club’s backup goaltender is Jussi Markannen.
Omark looks to be holding his own. What does it mean? Admittedly not much, it’s a small sample size, but I do think it points to the accusations of being heartless or lazy as false, you can not be lazy in any professional sport league and have any sort of success. I still fully believe that Omark is a viable NHL player, even if I’ll admit to the fact he might not be the best fit here in Edmonton. I’m confident he’ll be back in the NHL within a few years, it would be a waste of talent if he didn’t. Especially when one considers that roster spaces are wasted on players like Darcy Hordichuk and Ben Eager, the latter whom embarrassed himself, and by proxy the organization he plays for by getting in an altercation in a bar. Talk about someone with an actual attitude problem.
If years pass and Omark never returns to the NHL, I’ll admit I was wrong, but the one thing I’ll always stand by is that he never did get a fair shake here in Edmonton.
Go give them hell, Linus.
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