Every time Dallas Eakins speaks, the Edmonton Oilers get a little smarter. A recent example came today, as he spoke to the media in regard to one Linus Omark.
- Eakins: “There’s a number of ways we can load up our forward lines and there will be a great debate as we move forward on how we’re going to do it. Like a number of guys in his spot, he needs to go out and dance with the girl that he brought to prom. Don’t go out there and try to be something you’re not. I don’t think he’s a guy that’s going to go out there and run around and cause problems and be a real pain in the butt, checking guy. He needs to put up some numbers. He needs to be responsible defensively. He’s going to have to compete.”
Omark scored a goal today, and is going to be a featured player for the Oilers in their YEG game against the Flames tomorrow night. This is a guy who–fairly recently–was caught in a professional no man’s land because of the NHL rules regarding free agency. This summer, Oiler management and Omark found a way to make the best of the situation–let the player put forth his best case, and have the market decide–and he could end up in the NHL in Edmonton (or elsewhere) this fall.
YEG LINES AND PAIRINGS
- L1: Hall-Smyth-Hemsky: Oilers best player gets two veterans as he slides over to center. How long will he stay?
- L2: Arcobello-Yakupov-Omark: Electric offense on the wing should create sparks.
- L3: Lander-Joensuu-Roy: Two forwards looking for NHL employment along with an emerging 2013 draft pick.
- L4: Platzer-Martindale-Brown: A mixed bag line, Martindale might have hoped for a better showcase.
- D1: Nurse-Ference: This should be considered an early “push” for the first round pick. I’m a little surprised.
- D2: Grebeshkov-Musil: A big test for both players. This could be a saloon door tandem.
- D3: Davidson-J Schultz: I like this pairing, suspect their TOI will be top 4 by the end of the night.
- G1: Dubnyk (Roy): Oiler fans get the gooder goaler.
Ryan Hamilton has to be pretty damn excited tonight–he’s getting a glorious opportunity out of the box to show what he can do as an Oiler. I spoke at length this summer with his agent Tom Lynn, who was delighted at the “perfect fit” option for Hamilton in Edmonton. It looks interesting on paper, I bet he works like a bugger tomorrow night to show something to the coaching staff and management.
YYC LINES AND PAIRINGS
- L1: Gagner-Hamilton-Eberle: Interesting line. Gags-Ebs are so similar, I rarely think of them as linemates.
- L2: Gordon-Jones-Perron: I would have thought they’d play the other wing. Either way, some interesting players.
- L3: Acton-Eager-Pitlick: Three guys who need to get noticed early. Acton probably has the best chance.
- L4: Ewanyk-Bilcke-Chase: Big compliment for Bilcke here, Chase might have hoped for a better showcase line.
- D1: Smid-Petry: Top pairing going in, they’ll get more support this season and should flourish.
- D2: N Schultz-Fedun: A nice slot for Fedun, pleased for him.
- D3: Marincin-Larsen: Two guys who may be fighting for NHL jobs later this month.
- G1: LaBarbera (Bachman): I think LaBarbera is a little underrated by the fanbase.
Both games tomorrow.
Lots of players who have flaws but strong points are getting a chance in these games tomorrow night. Arcobello, Omark, Ryan Hamilton and Pitlick among forwards, and Nurse plus Musil among the blue. I really like this group of auditioning players, there’s no doubt some NHL calibre talent here. This team is beginning to remind me of Whitey Herzog, a man who looked at the baseball world as a place with endless abundance. He found flawed gems everywhere–fleet outfielders with no home run power but the ability to play defense and get on base; pitchers without the 95mph fastball but the ability to paint the corner.
If you look at Linus Omark and Ryan Hamilton, you can see Whitey Herzog. Seriously.
PS, I used Whitey as an example but could have used MacT. Folks, we’re going to see some Thoresen’s on this team.