On Halloween, Oil on Whyte editor Jeff Chapman wrote a piece about the enigmatic Linus Omark (who I’ve thrown under the bus numerous times as a player with an attitude & who just never really fit in here) & how well he’s performing while playing for Zug in Switzerland’s A league. So I dove into some Swiss A League statistics & without taking anything away from Linus’ accomplishments thus far with Zug, I just may have found a reason why Omark is looking good, like really good.
Damien Brunner is a 26yr old, undrafted RW from Switzerland who has spent his entire career in the Swiss A League for 2 teams with 243pts in 286GP. The Red Wings liked him so much that they signed him to a 1 year deal this past June, with the idea of him playing beside Red Wings superstar, Henrik Zetterberg. The current NHL lock-out has gassed these plans, for now, but that didn’t stop Zetterberg from joining Brunner & since doing so has amassed 11pts in 7GP. Oh & lets not forget “The Other Guy” on that line, Linus Omark.
All Omark ever wanted was a shot, a chance & some more ice-time but what he did get, due to reasons beyond fans control, demotion after demotion, a great stretch run playing top 6mins, another demotion & then a call up late in the year only to remind us all via Twitter how much better the popcorn tasted from the pressbox in Rexall Place. He then scoffed at the next demotion to OKC, which would have got him back there in time for the AHL players, by saying & I’m paraphrasing , “I’d rather play for my country at the world championships then Oklahoma”, which was a decision he made for himself. That decision, whether it was based on his own choice, frustration, selfishness or whatever we want to call it, completely backfired as he was cut from Team Sweden, which may very well have opened his eyes to a lot of truth about his sportsmanship & all around play.
To everyone’s surprise in Oil Country, Oilers management gave Omark a qualifying offer, that of course was a 2way deal where Linus knew would end up in Oklahoma at some time. So again, this time to no ones surprise, Omark rejected the qualifying offer & found himself a deal with Zug in the aforementioned, Swiss A league.
Omark, with the help of 2011-12 scoring champion Brunner, clicked instantly over the 1st 14GP & when Zetterberg came aboard, the trio instantly became the best line in the league making the Red Wings hunch correct in signing Brunner to begin with.
So what does this mean for Omark? Well for now, not a lot, even with as good as he’s been on this line with Brunner, this won’t automatically equate into an NHL roster spot for either player, but having Zetterberg as a line mate sure will. We also have to keep in mind the league in which they’re dominating. The players are smaller but quicker, the game is played with finesse & speed compared to a physical style in the NHL so only time will tell for Brunner, because we know, in short spurts, Omark can produce at the NHL level.
This is the exact opportunity Omark didn’t get in Edmonton & yes we can argue that he didn’t deserve it here, his attitude was poor & so forth, the fact of the matter is this: Omark needs top 6mins to be a viable option as a forward in this league & he has ZERO chance of that happening here. There’s obvious chemistry in that line right now, which is something you just don’t mess with once the right mixture is found regardless what league it’s in & given Detroit’s ability, under Ken Holland to make entree’s out of others leftovers (Dan Cleary anyone ?) is why Omark to the Red Wings makes sense.