Linus Omark’s days in Buffalo and the NHL could be numbered.
The Sabres put the Swedish forward on waivers following a less-than impressive run with the team. In 13 games, Omark had no goals and two assists. He was a healthy scratch last night against Ottawa and has been scratched other times since joining the Sabres.
Buffalo acquired Omark from the Edmonton Oilers in a trade back in December hoping that a change of scenery and an opportunity to play in the NHL would help him break out.
That hasn’t happened, however, and after not being able to break out on the league’s worst team, it may be difficult for him to earn an opportunity with another NHL team. The Oilers signed Omark before the season after he had a big season playing for Zug in the Swiss National League. Perhaps Switzerland is where his game works best.
Kyle Wellwood is reportedly calling it a career.
Nicola Berger of Swiss newspaper NLZ reports the speedy 30-year-old forward is retiring from hockey. Wellwood had been playing for EV Zug in the Swiss National League, but tells Berger he’s done saying his heart wasn’t in it anymore.
Wellwood played nine NHL seasons with four teams: the Toronto Maple Leafs, Vancouver Canucks, San Jose Sharks, and Winnipeg Jets. After not securing a NHL deal this past offseason, he headed for Switzerland where he had a goal and two assists through nine games for Zug.
While he arrived on the scene in Toronto, his career had a revival of sorts in Winnipeg in 2011-12 as he scored 18 goals and finished with a career-high 47 points. One lockout-shortened season later, he’s through with the game at 30.
UPDATE 11:50 a.m. ET
Slight clarification from Wellwood’s agent, as per Yahoo!’s Sean Leahy — Wellwood’s one-month deal with Zug has expired and he’s left Switzerland to explore potential NHL opportunities. If he cannot find any, he plans to retire.
Linus Omark has spent a year away from the NHL but now he wants to return.
A report out of Swedish newspaper Aftonbladet says (h/t David Staples) he’s left his Swiss team, EV Zug, and is ready to return to the NHL.
There’s one problem though: His rights are still owned by the Edmonton Oilers and it doesn’t sound like they want him back and they’re not close to trading him.
In Switzerland, Omark played on a line with Henrik Zetterberg and Damien Brunner and they lit up the Swiss league. When those two headed back to the NHL after the lockout ended, Omark kept producing and led that league in assists and points.
If Omark were to return to the Oilers he’d find a player there that’s sort of in his mold already in David Perron. Omark’s agent says they’re close to a deal but unless Edmonton parts ways with his rights, he might be stuck looking for a new European team.
Brian Boucher’s professional career will continue, just not in North America.
Nicola Berger of Neue Luzerner Zeitung in Switzerland reports the 36 year-old goalie has signed with EV Zug in the Swiss National League. Boucher reportedly got the nod over former Islanders goalie Rick DiPietro for the job.
Last season, Boucher played four games with the Philadelphia Flyers but also played 16 more with the AHL’s Adirondack Phantoms.
A 13-year NHL veteran, Boucher has had his share of ups and downs after starting his career in Philly back in the 1999-2000 season.
He saw his ability to play threatened two seasons ago with Carolina when he suffered a serious groin injury. Now he’ll join fellow Americans and former NHLers Rob Schremp and Andrew Hutchinson in Switzerland.
When the Red Wings signed Swiss star Damien Brunner this summer, they were hoping he’d turn into another international surprise find. As it turns out, they may have been right… Just not the way they intended it to work out.
Brunner and current Wings star Henrik Zetterberg are teammates in the Swiss National League playing for EV Zug and, according to The Canadian Press, they’re tearing things up.
“Detroit said they were going to put (Brunner) on a line with Zetterberg, so I got to do it first,” EV Zug coach Doug Shedden said Wednesday in an interview. “I texted (Red Wings GM) Kenny Holland and said: ‘It works.'”
In just five games, Zetterberg has seven goals and 11 points. Meanwhile, Brunner leads the National League with 10 goals and 26 points in 15 games. With fellow NHL talents Rafael Diaz (Montreal) and Linus Omark (Edmonton), EV Zug has a pretty loaded team.
What Brunner and Zetterberg are doing, however, is enough to likely make Detroit feel confident they’ll have a good thing waiting for them whenever the lockout ends.