#6 Prospect: Linus Omark

Current Rank: #6
Summer 2009: #9

If the Edmonton Oilers lead the league in anything, it is small skill forwards. For this reason Linus (5.09, 180) Omark’s NHL career may either be delayed, stall or begin in another big league city. The scouting report: A flashy player with first class hands and skillset. Very creative player with natural scoring ability. Good skater.

The thing with Omark is that despite the fact his skillset is duplicated everywhere on this roster is that he really does appear to be good enough to play in the NHL. Here are his Desjardins’ NHLE’s over the last few years:

  • (Age 19) 82gp, 10-12-22 (.268)
  • (Age 20) 82gp, 13-23-36 (.439)
  • (Age 21) 82gp, 21-29-50 (.610)
  • (Age 22) 82gp, 23-15-38 (.463)

The dip so far this season comes from playing in the Russian Super League this year. We can’t know the difference in TOI totals and quality of linemates, plus there are things like assist bias from league to league. However, it’s probably true that he had good linemates and a soft, mushy middle to play against at age 21 based on how the current and previous season are going. Having said all that, it does appear (at least offensively) that Omark has been “NHL ready” for two seasons.

What can’t he do? If he had a solid game away from the puck or a terrific faceoff/PK ability then someone would have noticed and he’d be here now. Even the Oilers would have picked up on it. It is probably safe to assume he’ll be a nightmare at EVs.

Omark signed in Russia (at least in part) because he felt the organization’s depth at the NHL level would mean an entire season in the minors. This is the third prospect of six so far in which the player and agent have had disagreements about career path with the Oilers organization (the others being Riley Nash and Chris Vande Velde). I don’t know what it means when Taylor Chorney, Omark’s agent and Nash’s self confidence trump the Oilers management group but in each case the decision likely benefited the player.

I don’t know if he can help a team win hockey games, hell we’re still waiting for Mike Comrie. Can he be a difference maker? No idea. Could he replace Robert Nilsson next fall?

That is a definite possibility.

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