In his NHL debut three years ago, Omark won the game for Edmonton on a showboat spin-o-rama shootout goal that caused a stir. Omark also drew attention that season when he blamed politics for being demoted to Oklahoma City.
Edmonton isn't a good fit for Omark. The Oilers have several young, highly skilled forwards. But his stock could be on the rise. A couple of teams reportedly are interested. The past two months with the Barons, he's shown noticeable improvement on the defensive end.
Omark declined an interview with The Oklahoman.
“He's always been highly skilled, very creative. What stands out this year is he's so much more mature,” said Barons coach Todd Nelson. “Defensively, he's a lot more responsible. Our coaches have enjoyed him letting us work with him to make him a more complete hockey player.”
If he's traded, Edmonton probably will receive only a lower round draft pick or AHL player in return. The Oilers essentially are doing Omark a favor if they grant his request.
If he is traded, it would leave a gaping offensive hole in the Barons' offense. Omark (29 points, 14 goals) has nearly twice as many points as OKC's next leading scorer.
“We've already had 80 transactions. You adjust,” Nelson said. “But losing a player like Linus, if that happened, that's a lot more than one transaction. Our fans have seen him. He's very gifted.”
Fedun points out last year's Barons team didn't jell until offensive stars Jordan Eberle, Taylor Hall, Justin Schultz and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins returned to Edmonton after the NHL lockout ended.
“We didn't have super-skilled guys, but everyone chipped in,” Fedun said. “You never want to lose a guy with Linus' skill. But if it were to happen, I don't think it'd be a poison arrow for us.”
If Omark isn't traded before the holiday roster freeze Thursday night, he might be traded after the AHL's mandated three-day Christmas break.
“We just take things day to day,” Nelson said. “Having worked with him, watching how much he's matured, I've really enjoyed my time with Linus. He's a special hockey player.”