November 05, 2011
During his time in the Edmonton Oilers organization, Linus Omark(notes) has earned a reputation as a pretty candid guy. At the close of last year's training camp, for instance, when the Swedish forward found himself with the AHL's Oklahoma City Barons after being one of the Oilers' final cuts, he blamed "politics" for the demotion.
Then, at the season's end, although he wound up playing 51 games for the Oilers, he continued to give the indication that he hadn't been given a proper chance, telling a Swedish newspaper, "I want to play [in the NHL] as long as I can and am allowed to." He also gave the indication that he didn't expect to play his entire career with the Oilers:
All this in mind, you knew that Linus Omark was going to have something to say about his most recent demotion to Oklahoma, which comes after the winger went pointless in his first five games, then sat out the next five as a healthy scratch.
He didn't disappoint.
In a recent interview with Tyson Gibbons of Pucklife magazine, an exasperated Omark touched on being one of the Oilers' less-favoured prospects, as well as a possible a return to Sweden.
When asked what it he felt it was that was keeping him out of the NHL, Omark responded, "[The Oilers] have a lot of young guys. And they believe in them more than me, I think."
Then, the conversation turned to Omark's out clause, which kicked in this season and enables to him return to Europe if he finds himself in the AHL. When asked if he was planning on exercising that option, Omark responded:
I'm not here to stay the whole season, that's for sure. I want to play [in the] NHL and if no one lets me do that then I'm going to go to Europe.
Omark may not be the top prospect in the Oilers' organization, but he remains an elite talent that the team would be loath to lose now, especially in the midst of a rebuilding effort that appears to be showing early signs of success. Still, we've seen in the past with the handling of Sheldon Souray(notes) that the Oilers don't have a problem letting a player's relationship with the organization deteriorate in the minors.
The Oilers now find themselves in an interesting predicament with Omark. He was only 4 shy of his 65th NHL game, at which point he becomes subject to waivers. If the Oilers call him back up and he reaches that mark, then he'll be a lot harder to demote.
But if they don't call him back up soon, well, he doesn't sound like he's kidding about going back to Sweden.