Linus Omark represents the latest hope for the European scouting department (along with Josef Hrabel and newly drafted Johan Motin). The last time Kenta Nilsson and Frank Musil had something to brag about in regard to the draft was the day they took G Jussi Markkanen in 2001. The epic fail that was Jani Rita appears to have left the organization gunshy when it comes to spending high draft picks on European kids.
The fact that there are Europeans in this year’s top 20 has as much to do with the number of graduates as it does any increase in quality from across the pond.
The Edmonton Oilers new owner was rambling on in the paper today about this club becoming an “elite” organization. It is fine in theory but step one might be getting some kind of gameplan when it comes to finding talent in Europe. Currently, it is below “elite.”
- #16-LW Linus Omark Omark had a very nice SEL season (55gp, 11-21-32) but he’s 5-9. I’d expect him to see North America at some point in time for a full season and he could surprise. His offensive numbers tower over the other Swedish forwards drafted by Edmonton recently. The list of undersized skill players he’d have to pass on the Oilers depth chart to get a chance in the show is very long and impressive. December Unranked.
- #17-G Jeff Deslauriers: 57gp, 2.90 .912 in the AHL. Easily his best season as a pro, Deslauriers seems to have the confidence of management. Kevin Prendergast made a point of saying that the Oilers may have three goalies at the NHL level this season and there are rumors that Roloson may be traded. There is no doubt this is his chance and with his pedigree and resume it may be his only NHL shot. December rank 17th.
- #18- D Mathieu Roy: Went 20gp, 2-8-10 in Springfield and 13gp, 0-1-1 in Edmonton and missed a ton of time in both leagues due to various injuries (most often: concussions). Roy is in danger of losing his career to injuries but when healthy shows some signs of having enough talent to have a future as an NHL role player. December rank 16th.
- #19- C Teemu Hartikainen: Prendergast: “His skating needs to improve a little bit but he’s six-foot-two, 200 pounds and he uses his size. He should be on the Finnish junior team at the world championship. I really liked him when I saw him this year. He’s almost a poor man’s (Tomas) Holmstrom. He competes all over the ice.” International Scouting Services: Great work ethic, loves to play a physical style and can chip in offensively. My own feeling is that he’s a draft long shot but the things he does well make him a possible role playing forward if he develops. December unranked.
- #20- D Alexandre Plante: A high pick who had a lost season. Part of it may be that Plante’s draft clippings may have been out of sync with his actual skill set. By that I mean that if he isn’t on the powerplay the offensive numbers aren’t going to be there. Including playoffs he went 51gp, 1-4-5 and the big difference season over season (stats-wise) was the lack of time on ice when his team was on the powerplay. When he was drafted Redline said: “At 6-4/215-pounds, he showed surprising offensive skills, particularly on the PP, where he can act as either trigger man or quarterback. He’s not a big baggage smasher, but will use his body in front and to tie forwards up along the walls.” Recent articles on him have suggested he’s physically better and looking forward to a big season. He’ll need it to get back on track. December ranking: 12th.