Why the Oilers Were Wise to Sign Linus Omark

The Edmonton Oilers signed Linus Omark to a one-year, two-way deal worth $600,000 on Tuesday, ending the speculation that the disgruntled forward was on his way out of Edmonton.

Omark, who spent last season leading the Swiss Elite League in scoring, was said to have fallen out of favor with Oilers management in a short period time.  Having only spent two years in Edmonton from 2010-12, it’s widely believed that the flashy Swede didn’t particularly care for then coach Tom Renney and recently dismissed GM Steve Tambellini.

This is Craig MacTavish‘s team now and perhaps he had an influx on bringing back Linus who is an entertaining player to watch every time he has the puck.  In the 2010-11 season Omark suited up in 51 games for Edmonton, scoring just 5 times but added 22 assists for 27 points.

He is a gifted and talented player, there is no denying that.  His confidence on the ice could be construed as arrogant, but for an Oilers team that is in need of replenishing their prospect cupboard, Omark not only helps that, but he can have an impact on the big club immediately.  All the more reason why signing him and giving him a shot with the big club was a smart move by the Oilers.

With Ryan Nugent-Hopkins currently on the shelf and questionable for the first few weeks of the regular season, Omark’s services could fit well on the second line if an opportunity presents itself.  Third line duties are likely to be his role on a consistent basis if he can stick with the big club and pairing him with Ales Hemsky suddenly gives Edmonton some scoring depth outside their top two lines.

Having Omark return to the NHL and more specifically the Oilers helps dismiss the notion that Edmonton management is effectively turning away European talent.  With Teemu Hartikainen and a few others flocking overseas, the Oilers were becoming the topic of conversation in a negative fashion when it came to luring Euorpean talent.  Perhaps Omark’s return will help diffuse this notion.

There are the critics to this move and plenty of questions still linger as to why Omark chose to return to the NHL club that had apparently left a sour taste in his mouth.  The fact that he’s small in stature by NHL standards and doesn’t address the Oilers needs for a bruising third line winger will leave some disagreeing with the signing.  Answers may unfold in the future, but for now it appears most Oilers’ fans are excited about the idea of watching Linus Omark dazzle in Oiler colors.

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