|BERNE, SWITZERLAND - APRIL 29: Linus Omark of Sweden skates with the puck during the IIHF World Ice Hockey Championship preliminary round, group C match between Sweden and USA at the Post Finance Arena on April 29, 2009 in Berne, Switzerland. (Photo by Martin Rose/Bongarts/Getty Images) |
is arguably one of the strongest offensive players in the Oilers system today. The Edmonton Oilers drafted Swedish stick handler Linus Omark
in the 4th round (97th overall) of the 2007 NHL entry draft.
This past summer, he had a pretty big decision to make as a free agent: NHL or Kontinential Hockey League in Russia? That was the question. Was he ready for the NHL or would one more year in a totally different league help develop him into an even stronger dynamic threat? Or was it the money in Russia or the idea of a two-way deal in Edmonton a big factor in the decision?
“One of the reasons he didn't want to come over last year was the potential two way deal. That's something we'll talk about to his agent,” said Oilers Assistant GM, Kevin Prendergast. “I told him that he might have to play in the AHL for a few weeks and that it was up to him to come in and win over the coaches. We don't give jobs away for free.”
Well as all Oilers fans know, Omark did not choose Edmonton. He decided to sign with Dynamo Moscow of the KHL in Russia. “He has something that we need as an organization,” Prendergast said. “He's prepared to come over here next year. If there is a deal to be made then we'll try to make one, and if not then he still has another year on his deal with Russia."
The 22 year old (turns 23 February 5th) from Overtornea Sweden, is in his fifth year of professional hockey. The first four were in the Swedish Elite League playing for Luleå HF. Omark finished third in points with the Swedish Elite League last year with 23 goals and 32 assists for 55 points and 66 penalty minutes in 53 games. He also played in the 2009 World Championships in Switzerland and produced two goals, eight assists, and 14 penalty minutes. That was good enough for second on Team Sweden and 11th in the whole tournament.
So far with Dynamo Moscow, he has played in 45 games and put up 18 goals and 12 assists for 30 points and 28 penalty minutes. Skill aside, Omark does have a pretty big downfall which is his size. He is a very confident and talented offensive player but stands at just 5’9” and weighs in at 168 pounds. The Edmonton Oilers are already stacked with small forwards so the question is, will there be a spot for him?
“He's playing very very well in Russia,” Prendergast confirms. “He has a lot to bring to the table for a small player. He plays a lot bigger than the size he shows you. He's got grit and he's a little bit cocky which isn't going to hurt your hockey club. Hopefully we’ll be able to work something out for him this summer.”