Don’t Look Now! (But Linus Omark Is Pretty Good…Again)

Photo by Rob Ferguson

The Oklahoma City Barons aren’t entirely insufferable, but they have the potential to be, and that’s a frightening thought. When it comes to wins and losses, this is a squad that can earn either one of those things nighty regardless of the competition. That’s something this team hasn’t battled for three straight seasons. More often than not, they could win games at will, and probably be the favored opponent in 75% of their games played. What a difference a season, a new NHL GM, and a slew of young prospects can make.

Don’t look now, but Linus Omark is tied for second in league points (26), sixth in goals (12), seventh in game winning goals (3), and currently is riding a seven game point streak while the team has only won twice in that same stretch. That’s not a bad batch of numbers for an under .500 team.

That’s pretty amazing.

1.08 is his point per game pace over the duration of 24 games in 2013-14. He is responsible for 12 of 67 goals scored by the Barons. He continues to be the one player, on paper and with my eyeballs, that can consistently put up numbers. All the point scoring goodness aside, Linus Omark still has some battling to do before becoming an Oiler.

Last weekend, when Craig MacTavish was in OKC to watch the team play, the comment most made on Omark was “we have to figure out what to do with him.” A statement made before.

So why is Omark still battling for a spot with the Oilers? Good question.

In the offseason, with Toni Rajala exiting the team, the re-emergence of Linus Omark seemed to point to his increased value with a MacTavish created team. As we approach Christmas, it appears that that isn’t the case. The reason for this is three fold – make, mold, and motivation.

Omark is a risky player. That’s what makes him so entertaining to watch. He’s a puck dangling, possession trending hockey player. Eakins likes that, but doesn’t feel that he needs it. Fast out of the defensive zone with multiple touches seems to be the Oilers mark this season, and he doesn’t fit that mold. He’s getting better at that, but it’s hard to break a wild stallion. Therefore, the motivation to bring him into the NHL, with his defensive liability issues, is pretty small at this point.

Ask me about his game when we reach 50+ played in the AHL. Barring injury, he will still be the Barons most valuable asset. He’s that good. He’s also making attempts to steer his game in the direction that MacTavish wants him to move it. He might be willing, but is he able? We will see.

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