The first autumn Sam Gagner spent in Edmonton, my friend Louise and I had a difference of opinion. I thought he was a fine offensive prospect, but Louise kept arguing for him as an overall player, a deep thinker and captain material. Seriously. First training camp, I’m mulling over the possibility of his making the team, Louise is talking about cognitive and the brain digging new trenches (my words, not hers).
I couldn’t see it, she saw it from the opening of training camp. Gagner is now a young veteran at 24, and based on the latest news the 14th captain in Oilers history. I think it’s a grand choice, a young veteran who has the respect of everyone in the organization–young enough to guide the kids without ‘old manning’ them, and veteran enough to have his words carry weight with the elders who’ve been to war with him. MacT clearly thinks highly of him, and if it happens it might be an opportunity for Gagner’s critics to reevaluate their views.
WHERE WOULD YOU PARK OMARK IN THE LINEUP?
I’ve never really cared for the question, because for me–as a fan–the more interesting question is where will the Oilers slot Omark? It’s nice to give opinions, that’s what Oilers fans do, is give their opinions; however, it’s also important to factor in franchise bias and that means there are going to be one dimensional types on the roster. If we’re talking Oilers, it’s more likely we see a Toby Petersen (Will Acton) or a Zack Stortini (Ryan Hamilton) than a pure offensive player (Omark). A team with such a ghastly 5×5 history isn’t likely to employ Omark (who is the better 5×5 choice, by the way), but rather take a more traditional stance and have an enforcer and a lightweight enforcer on the roster.
Meaning? It’s far more likely we see a Jesse Boulerice on the opening night roster than Linus Omark. I sincerely hope this is incorrect but in MacT’s final days coaching the Oilers, Edmonton boasted two guys well over 100pims (Stortini, Moreau) and employed Steve MacIntyre and Jesse Boulerice for periods during the year.
I believe Linus Omark’s chances of making the team are less than 50%. Hope I’m wrong.
LOWDOWN WITH LOWETIDE
Today on the show, hockey and baseball (Jays now trail Expos. Incredible). Scheduled to appear:
- Jeff Chapman from Copper and Blue. Omark, training camp battles and 89 as captain.
- Rob Vollman from ESPN and Hockey Prospectus. We’ll talk Olympics, the value of Omark in the NHL, and shot quality.
- James Mirtle from the Globe and Mail. Olympics, Leafs, Oilers.
- Jeff Krushell from Krush Performance. Blue Jays, training camps and coming back too soon from injury.
10-1260 via text and @Lowetide_ on the twitter box. Hope you can tune in!