Thursday, December 9, 2010

The Swedish Meatball and the Tokyo Tornado

Hi, My first name is pronounced LEE-nus
On the left here is Linus Omark, the kid I lovingly refer to as the Swedish Meatball. He's a mixture of goofy goal-scoring and a meatball like composition (low center of gravity, rolls with punches), and is also the focus of many of the Oilers fanbase (mostly a drooling rabid lot). Well folks, he's been called up the papa smurf leagues and he'll probably get a look as long as Hemsky is on the IR.

He's probably most famous for an amazing shootout goal but most of the number crunchers and bloggers realize he's a bit more complete of a package than a glorified hotdog factory. His NHL equivalency numbers are solid: 82gp 18-18-36, and I have watched him enough on the world stage that I really do think he has the tools to be a legit top 6 forward in the league.

I think the main question with Linus Omark is can he play the simple game when the Oilers need it, or will he be toe dragging out of his own zone with a one goal lead with five minutes left. Regardless, as an Oilers fan I'm stoked to see him up and I hope that this is the start of a beautiful relationship.

O'Marra and new line combos after the jump.

Fun fact: In Japan, being native-born does
not confer citizenship
On the right is my favorite Japanese-born player, Ryan O'Marra (although he looks a lot like Maria Ozawa). He's getting called up to the big show with perhaps a touch less fanfare, but in reality he was the key callup. Our center depth is a mess without Horcoff, and if we are to have any success with our captain out, it might be necessary for O'Marra to actually produce quality NHL minutes. He's a big kid (6'2", 220lb) with an improving defensive game (he leads OKC with a +11 rating). I'd say he's a good bet to put in a solid effort on the defensive side of the puck and this should help him at least tread water at the NHL level.

The problems with O'Marra come when you start scrutinizing his potential to push the puck the opposite direction and arrange a reunion with the biscuit and the basket. He has 197 AHL games and has scored 20 times. That's a GPG ratio of about 0.1 (one in ten) and should give you a good idea of the likelihood of Ryan promoting much of an offensive threat.

To be fair, that's not really what either pro team is asking of him. They want a big, mobile, checking center who can win draws, PK, and play with grit. I think he's a good bet to deliver that.

New Lines

If I was a betting man I would say the most likely lineup features combinations that have worked in the past and present:

Hall Gagner Eberle
Penner Cogliano Brule
Paajarvi O'Marra Omark
Jaques Fraser Jones

Gagner is a natural choice to replace the offence of Horcoff with the two kids (who seem to be clicking). Penner, Cogs, and Brew is a line that we've seen dominate before, and O'Marra has centered Omark in Oklahoma (say that 5 times fast). Most importantly it gives us the sexiest new line name of the decade. Ladies and Gentleman, I present The POO line.

[Disclosure: Someone on HFBoards thought of it first :)]


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