Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Why Linus Matters

Nobody saw this coming. I remarked that I wasn't surprised that MacT made a move but the fact that its Omark is a surprise for sure.

But it makes a ton of sense with first Hartikainen and then Rajala heading back overseas.

Omark has his warts but unlike the two Finns we know that he can play in the NHL and so the Oilers, who have dumped NHL players without replacing them for years, resulting in disaster, continue to add NHL players this summer.

And so if one of the top six wingers (as they stand now) goes down with injury or struggles, Eakins now has Ales Hemsky and Linus Omark to plug in there.

There are folks who think little of either player or think that they do not fit or whatever but without them if Hall, Eberle, Yakupov or Perron went down then next in line would be Ryan Smyth, Ryan Jones and then who?

Add good players and keep them folks.

With the rise of the KHL and other European leagues NHL clubs suddenly face a new challenge, as Lowetide pointed out a few days ago. A few years ago guys like Omark, Hartikainen and Rajala who wanted to make big money had to stick it out in the minors and hope for their shot with the big club. Look at OKC's depth this coming winter and you can see that its pretty thin because now these guys (and guys like Patrick Thoresen and Leo Komorov, its not just the Oilers losing depth guys) can go back to Europe and make more money. Can you blame them? I certainly don't. Hockey careers are short and these guys are generally on one or two year deals. Play in the KHL for a few years, do well and you could set yourself up for life if you're smart.

 So MacT, give him a ton of credit, looked at his roster and saw what a guy like Tambellini never could, even though a mook like you or I certainly were able to, that you can never ever have enough guys who can play. Look at the Oilers this summer. MacT has shipped out two good players in Shawn Horcoff and Magnus Paajarvi and he has added the following:

Hamilton (I saw Hamilton play a bit last year, including one game live, he can play a depth role in the NHL)

He also kept Ales Hemsky and Ryan Jones. I know some folks don't like Jones but he is an NHL player.

Some of these bets may not work out. Belanger was a good bet but he didn't work out. Hell just look at the Toronto Blue Jays to see how sometimes even what looks like a sure thing is not.

But MacT has added a ton of players and as a result guys like Whitney and Peckham and Hordichuk and Fistric are gone and Potter and Eager and Brown have been pushed down the depth chart and Klefbom isn't going to have to step in right away.

I don't know if they are a playoff team. They need to beat out Anaheim and Phoenix. But the ifs (if this goes right and this goes right and this goes right) are shrinking more and more. And that is what management's job is. Make it so if Jordan Eberle goes down for a month Ryan Jones isn't your first line RW. Make it so Nick Schultz doesn't have to play tough minutes. Make it so the coach has options. Eakins by all accounts doesn't roll set lines, he's a blender. MacT just gave him another option, a skilled and motivated player, and he looked beyond the past in doing so.

That's good work.


Anonymous said...

It really does make the bottom six look a whole lot more promising. For peanuts too (600/100).

I don't know that the Oilers could have improved the bottom half of the roster with another player as useful for the same or less money (and dollars are now starting to matter for the good ship Oil).

Good day.

Calgarysux said...

Why is everyone so happy about this? Did we not forget that Linus Omark is completely undersized? Wasn't one of MacT's imperatives to bring more size to the lineup?

I think everyone seems to forget that Linus Omark had 1 good season here then completely fizzled out in his 2nd season, scoring only 3 goals in 14 games.

Say what you want about having NHL players, I don't think 1 good season makes you an NHL player. Rob Schremp had "NHL player" numbers once he went to the NY Islanders when he had 24 points in 44 games, but no one's calling him an NHL player. Omark's 1 good season is hardly better - 27 points in 51 games. What about that makes Omark an NHL player but not Rob Schremp?

As I've already said, it's not about "getting good players and keeping them." It's a little more complicated than that. You can't win with a roster of all scorers, just like you can't win with a roster of all pluggers, you have to have a mixture of each. Your players can't all be too old or too young, there has to be the right mix and in the right positions.

rubbertrout said...

My bet is Linus doesn't play with the big club unless Ted is unavailable to start the season and Hall goes over to Centre for a spell.

I don't think Linus is really going to play on L3 with Gordon and Hemmer but who knows?

If he does play with the big club it is probably an audition for somewhere else. He didn't have too many options with no takers after a big year in Switzerland.

Black Dog said...

Calgarysux - you need good players, period. The Oilers need another checking winger and probably a fourth line C who can check would be good too. And yes you need skill. Omark may not start with the big club but let me ask you this, if one of the top six wingers goes down who replaces them if you move Hemsky and don't have a backup like Omark. Schremp got big minutes in NY in a shit conference and got the gaspipe, Omark never got the push in Edmonton and still scored over .5 points per game.

He's insurance and good insurance unless we want Mike Brown or Ryan Smyth playing top six minutes when someone gets hurt.

As for MacT's imperative it is to make the team better. Not to make it bigger. To make it better. Detroit and Chicago are two examples of pretty successful clubs who are neither that big nor filled with pluggers.

More skill please.

Chris Chambers said...

A very good read Pat.

I am completely surprised, and not quite sure how to feel, but I will say this:

When MacT finds he's not able to make the deals he wants, he doesn't just shrug his shoulders and head to the cottage.

Hard to be too critical of a guy who is looking for NHL players EVERYWHERE when that is exactly what we need.

Raine Snow said...

@calgarysux Stats aren't the only thing that describes a player. The major difference between Schremp and Omark is one can't skate worth shit and the other certainly can.

Schremp was a lousy skater, couldn't keep up with the play and tended to cheat on offense. Omark on the other hand can skate, can keep up with the play and if he does cheat on offense he has the quickness to get back into position.

I'm not saying Omark is a legitimate NHLer, but as far as his ability to keep up with legitimate NHLers Omark is way ahead of Schremp.

Black Dog said...

Thanks Chris and that comment is a good one re: MacT keeping at it.

Anonymous said...

Lowe is still the GM. Do you really think he was bypassed in rank by a guy he fired a few years back?

Paquette said...

Funny. I was on a flight with MacT a couple weeks ago and asked him if he was done. He said, yes, but we're always keeping our eyes open. Now this Omark deal. I like it. it's smart and hints that Nuge may not be as ready as hoped.

hunter1909 said...

TBH, you're an extremely interesting writer.

You need to write a book. If you write one in say, the next 365 days you stand a chance. As that writer.

The Oilers? MacT is an astute judge of what it takes to make a winning hockey team. he's grabbed so many defencemen that it's certainly not going to be any kind of issue this season.

Hall, Eberle, RNH, Yakupov, Gagner and now Perron are going to blast this moribund franchise into the 21st century.

As for the rest of the roster, I have no effing clue.