Fare Thee Well, Linus Omark

Kim Klement-US PRESSWIRE

Beleaguered winger gets fresh start in Buffalo

The Avalanche knocked off the Oilers tonight, ending Edmonton's road trip with four goals in four games, and (more importantly) no points in the standings. The Oilers are 11-23-3 in a season that's not yet half old, and they are firmly ensconced in last place West. Mission accomplished, gents.

What does this all have to do with Linus Omark? Other than about nine minutes of this hellish roller coaster of a year, not much. Linus Omark got dealt to the Sabres tonight for a conditional sixth round pick, mercifully ending his tumultuous time in Edmonton.

WHAT IS YOUR DEAL WITH LINUS OMARK ALREADY

Linus Omark wasn't the best player in the Oilers system, far from it. But Linus Omark was nearly a .5 point-per-game scorer on a very bad Oilers team, which is worth taking note. Those who don't think that's important are the same people who think Dustin Penner was lazy, or that Tom Gilbert isn't an NHL hockey player even though he's playing first pairing minutes in Florida (and at 900K!). In other words, people who didn't do their homework.

Linus Omark is a gifted hockey player, one whose puckhandling skills are an absolute delight to watch. There are no two ways about it. I only wish we had a player that can do what Linus Omark can do with the puck. Come to think about it, we did have a player like that at one time. His name was Linus Omark.

Omark burst onto the scene in dramatic fashion, you may remember.

He'd score 27 points in 51 games during the 2010-11 NHL season. 2011-12 wasn't so kind to Omark, as he split time between Edmonton and Oklahoma City. He'd score just three points in 14 games at the NHL level, and things were about to get hairy.

Omark was a player I thought most fans would rally around. Everybody loves the story of the guy who has to work his tail off to get what he has. Unfortuantely for Omark, things got really out of hand late in the 2011-12 season. Shortly after that tweet, he was thoroughly misquoted, and was accused of 'demanding' a trade. Not only was this demonstrably false, this set off a firestorm of negative criticism that was completely unwarranted. Fortunately, Martin Lundén (a real Swede, you know, one who is able to read and speak Swedish) was able to step in and correctly translate, but another poorly constructed narrative was already out of the bag.- Omark had a bad attitude, and was too small to make a noticeable difference.

Anyone who held this belief was wrong. Omark was going to prove to it.

Omark played the entire 2012-13 season in the Swiss-A league, where he led the league in scoring. You're telling me we can't find a place for a guy who led a tier one league?  Meanwhile, we had Ben Eager and Lennart Petrell in our bottom six. Fantastic.

Omark wanted to make it back over to North America, and he got his deal from Craig MacTavish in August. Not only was it satisfying to see a guy who worked his tail off to play in North America get his day, it was at least twice as satisfying to hear the deafening silence of his critics who said he'd never make it in the NHL again. It was a two way deal, and Omark played just nine minutes in Edmonton this year. He led the Oklahoma City Barons in scoring with 29 points in 29 games, but don't let me influence you. He's obviously got no future in this league, right?

Oiler fans will never know what you could bring to the table, as they've seen you for a total of nine minutes over the past year and a half. You can't hold fans responsible for this, as the the Oilers have a history of not playing the best players available at a given time. Please recall almost anytime Ben Eager, Steve MacIntyre or Darcy Hordichuk has been in the lineup, or how Will Acton has played in nearly 180 minutes of ice time (compared to Omark's nine) this season.

Fare thee well, Linus Omark. You were mishandled, misappropriated, and misquoted.

Finally, you're out. I couldn't be happier for you.

Good luck in Buffalo, I'll be watching you.

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