There is no doubt in the world that Linus Omark is a talented player. Why he has yet to find a home in the NHL is beyond me, but this isn't the first player of this kind of magic that the Oilers have seemingly buried in the minor-leagues. Anyone remember Robbie Schremp? In any case, Omark's goal this morning was one of those plays I see guys working on while messing around on the ice, but Omark did it in full-speed against AHL talent. Check it out.
Um, paging Drew Shore? We found your jockstrap. It's in the fourth row. That move was spectacular, and Drew Shore had no chance to recover once Omark skated past him.
I'm never one to dance around a subject, but Omark's talent is pretty impressive. He was and still is a YouTube sensation for some of his incredible goals, so it's hard to understand why the Oilers seemingly want nothing to do with his skillset. While there admittedly is some work to be done on the defensive side of the puck, that can be said for a vast number of skilled younger players as well. If the Oilers want Omark to learn the defensive side of the game to be able to play in the NHL, what is the point of burying him in the minors again like they did in the past? I don't understand this thinking.
For all the YouTube reels of incredible goals that Omark is piling up, he has very few instances of him playing against NHL talent. I look at the Oilers roster and I see a ton of young, skilled players who have amassed nothing but minuses for their efforts thus far this season. Dallas Eakins is a great coach, something isn't working in Edmonton and it's starting to go bad. Can it be fixed? I'm not sure.
What I do know is that Edmonton has one of the most creative, offensive-minded players on the planet playing for their AHL affiliate right now when they certainly could use a little more scoring to make up for their woeful goaltending. Adding in Ilya Bryzgalov isn't going to fix the problem either unless he's channeling the spirit of Vladislav Tretiak to help him out. No, what the Oilers need is a quality goaltender - Jose Theodore is available, I heard - and some additional scoring to make up for their defensive woes.
Platooning Linus Omark in Oklahoma City is just going to make him want out. Losing talent like his will most certainly breed the Oilers an unwanted reputation in terms of their handling of players, but will also keep them in the NHL's basement as that young, exciting talent rots away in OKC. Teaching a player how to play without the puck is one thing, but this will be the third season that Omark has worn the Barons' uniform. I can't see him being happy doing this for another couple of seasons.
If Dallas Eakins is truly the coach that he was billed to be, bring Omark up and let Eakins work with him. Right now, it seems that the only people who are holding Omark back is the management of the Edmonton Oilers.
Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!