Linus Omark, the electric Swede who is fourth in American Hockey League scoring, possibly has played his final game for the Oklahoma City Barons.
The Barons return home to host the Texas Stars on Friday and Saturday nights. General manager Bill Scott and coach Todd Nelson are confident a young, rebuilt roster can duplicate last year's second-half run.
But it appears the Barons will have to do it without Omark. Reports indicate he's asked Edmonton general manger Craig MacTavish to trade him, according to the Norrbotten Courier, a Swedish newspaper.
Omark has very little leverage, however. The Oilers continued to own Omark's 2013-14 playing rights once he cleared waivers after he was cut after training camp.
Once Omark accepted a reassignment to Oklahoma City it eliminated any option of returning to Europe this season, according to International Hockey Federation guidelines.
“As far as we're concerned, Linus Omark is a contracted player with the Edmonton Oilers,” Scott said after Wednesday's practice. “He's been unbelievable for us. He's never worked harder. Clearly, he's one of our best players. As far as we're concerned, it's status quo.”
Omark probably will get his wish for a trade.
Rumors are Omark will be dealt before hockey's annual eight-day roster freeze (Dec. 19-26) kicks in midnight Thursday, a rule that prohibits transactions around Christmas.
“We hear speculation, but it's not like he's been talking about it in the locker room,” said Oklahoma City defenseman Taylor Fedun. “It's nothing like that. All you have to do is look at a stat sheet to see he's been a huge part of our offense.”
Thanks to YouTube video, Omark has burst onto the international scene. Omark has flashy offensive skills, including a between-the-legs move. The knock is his subpar defense. At times, he's lacked commitment to system play.
After leading Switzerland's pro league in scoring last season Omark hoped to earn a regular NHL job this season. A poor training camp showing with Edmonton set him back.
Omark realizes the clock is ticking. He turns 27 in seven weeks. This season, Edmonton called him up for one game. He probably would have to wait until next season, but returning to Europe is an option.
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