Linus Omark: Sweden’s Next Sensation

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When it comes to shootouts in hockey, all it takes is one phenomenal goal to grab everyone’s attention. Linus Omark of Luleå HF in the Swedish Elite League, executed a move that had never been witnessed before.

On Mar.31 during a friendly contest between Sweden and Switzerland, the 22-year-old floated the puck over the goalie with a neat chip shot.

A goal of such merit deserves to be the game winner and it was.

Linus Omark has become KHL property for the time being.
Linus Omark has become KHL property for the time being.

Sweden is one of the countries that have taken the NHL by storm over the past few years with its plethora of talent. Look no further than the Detroit Red Wings who boast the likes of Henrik Zetterberg, Nicklas Lidstrom, Tomas Holmstrom, Johan Franzen, Mikael Samuelsson and Niklas Kronwall.

Five of those names were drafted in the third round or later with Kronwall being the sole first round selection.

Interestingly, Omark was chosen 97th overall in the fourth round of the 2007 Entry Draft by the Edmonton Oilers. If there’s a team to learn from in terms of drafting, it’s certainly the Red Wings.

Edmonton eyed players meant for a checking role such as Kyle Brodziak and Liam Reddox in previous drafts. Recently, they have elected to go for less size and more talent.

That is how they found the 5-foot-9 Omark who will eventually join the likes of Sam Gagner and Robert Nilsson. At least, that’s how it was planned.

Just a few days ago, he signed with Dynamo Moscow in the KHL. Apparently, the Oilers weren’t willing to guarantee Omark a spot on the roster which he felt he deserved.

Regarded as one of the elite talents outside of the NHL, this is the latest chapter in questionable decisions made by the management in Edmonton.  Omark will not be an option for the Oilers next season as the large amount of money offered by the Russians was too enticing to turn away.

Comparisons have been made to Fabian Brunnstrom of the Dallas Stars who received a rookie contract despite producing average statistics in one season with the Swedish Elite League.

The consensus is that in addition to his impressive numbers, Omark should have received the contract due to the fact that Edmonton is coming off its third consecutive season without postseason action. All the Oilers can do now is hope.

Perhaps the best word to describe the native of Overtornea is unpredictable.

Omark's shootout goal was the first of its kind.
Omark's shootout goal was the first of its kind.

From shooting the puck at odd angles to banking it off the goalie’s mask from behind the goal, Omark has a knack for dazzling the audience. Creativity combined with excellent hands make it a difficult task for defenders to read his intentions on the ice.

Also, he possesses great speed and loves challenging defenders one-on-one much like Ilya Kovalchuk. One element which may hurt his eventual opportunity in the NHL is his size, but we’ve seen many players before him win that battle.

For now, we can compare Linus Omark to a sip of fine wine.

We’ve had a taste, but we want more.