Born in Toyko, Japan - raised in Canada - 20 year old, 6.02, 200 lbs, Ryan O'Marra is hoping to crack the Edmonton Oilers 2007 lineup.
A character center perceived to have strong hockey intelligence and two-way play. In other words, a guy that can help your hockey club win games.
But he is a center.
And the Edmonton Oilers have plenty of them.
So where does O'Marra fit in with a group that includes Horcoff, Stoll, Pouliot, Reasoner, Gagner, Cogliano, Schremp, Nash, Brodziak, Almtrop?
Or does he? Should he be moved to wing, based on GUY FLAMING's synopsis :
O'Marra is a natural center but has shown the ability and the comfort to play on the right wing as well
The ease of transition is critical on a team that is deep at center. But hold that thought for a second...
George Bachul writes:
He was also recognized in the annual OHL Coaches poll as the best faceoff man in his conference
Conveniently, Andrew Cogliano isn't as strong on faceoffs, and perhaps his burning speed may be better utilized on the wing.
Craig MacTavish has a difficult task and decision lying ahead of him.
TAKE A BREAK FROM READING - VIDEO INTERVIEW
So what kind of a game does O'Marra bring?
Guy Flaming writes:
He is a very skilled center with a good set of wheels. He handles the puck well and has a very good shot. He can score from many areas of the ice and doesn’t shy away from playing in traffic.
O'Marra is at his best when he is playing with a physical edge to his game. Banging bodies, creating turnovers and playing toughin the corners or in fornt of the net.
The Islanders were also a fan of him.
"I watched (O'Marra) in the World Junior tournament this year and he's just a steady two-way guy who shows up to play every shift," said Ken Morrow, the Islanders' Director of Pro Scouting.
"As you saw, he can score you some goals, he can kill penalties, he can check, and he can hit...he does a little bit of everything," explained Morrow, adding that O'Marra "doesn't look out of place (at the AHL-level)."
"He looks like a ten-year pro the way he handled himself...he's 18-years-old but he plays like a 25 or 26-year-old," said Morrow.
Robert Tychkowski gets a quote out of Ryan at the Oilers development camp
"I'm itching to skate," said O'Marra, who tore up his knee about five weeks after the trade. "Just to see the boys out there in the Oilers jerseys... it's tough to watch."
16 year old - 63 GP, 16G, 16A, 32 PTS - 0.51 PPG - 0.25 GPG
16 year old (playoffs) - 9 GP, 5G, 5A, 10 PTS, 1.11PPG, 0.555 GPG
17 year old - 64 GP, 25G, 38A, 63 PTS - 0.98 PPG - 0.39 GPG
17 year old (plaoyffs) - 6GP, 4G, 1A, 5 PTS - 0. 833 PPG, 0.667 GPG
18 year old - 61 GP, 27G, 50A, 77 PTS - 1.26 PPG - 0.44 GPG
18 year old (AHL) - 8 GP, 4G, 1A, 5 PTS, 0.625 PPG - 0.5 GPG
18 year old (AHL Playoffs) - 3 GP, 0G, 1A, 1 PT, 0.33 PPG, 0 GPG
19 year old (injury season on two different OHL teams) - 46 GP, 26G, 25A, 51 PTS, 1.10 PPG, 0.57 GPG
19 year old (playoffs) 3 GP, 2G, 1A, 3 PTS, 1 PPG, 0.67 GPG
PPG (playoffs excluded) chronologically - 0.51, 0.98, 1.26, 1.10
GPG (playoffs excluded) chronologically - 0.25, 0.39, 0.44, 0.67
What can we derive from these numbers?
- He can put the puck in the net
- His numbers improved with age
- He may certainly have 2nd line upside. He claimed on Guy's pipeline show that people are falsely projecting him as a 3rd liner, and he's going to prove them wrong. Character.
- There is some concern regarding injuries (GP). You'd hope the knee injury suffered last year does not impact him in the long run
- Those are some very nice numbers as an 18 year old in the AHL.
Will he make the team this year?
There has been little talk on O'Marra making the team. Rather, MacTavish seems to be counting on one of Gagner, Schremp, or Cogliano to make the 23 man roster on opening day. Perhaps O'Marra needs another year of development to fine-tune his game. Or it may just be that these interviews mean dick in the grand scheme of things.
Be it in 2007 , 2008 or 2009, all indications thus far point out that Ryan O'Marra will help the Edmonton Oilers hockey club win games. Kevin Lowe most certainly fumbled the ball during the Ryan Smyth negotiations, but he most certainly made sure the organization didn't come away empty handed.
"I think we have a good one," pronounced Baseggio.
Now he is ours.