Reddox Down, O'Marra and McDonald Up

Jonathan Willis
November 26 2009 12:45PM

The title to this article is correct. The Edmonton Oilers have elected to recall Ryan O'Marra and Colin McDonald (seen above in an *awesome* video) and send Liam Reddox down to Springfield.

First, I'm going to indulge in some self-congratulation, because this is what I said about Reddox last night

Speaking of ugly games, Liam Reddox has slowed down a ton since impressing immediately after being recalled. He was on the ice for seven shots tonight, and none of them were directed at Jon Quick. If this team is ever healthy enough to start sending players out, he's probably earned a trip back to Springfield.

Still, I can't take too much credit here: Reddox has been brutal the last few games, and I think most people have picked up on that.  We know, for example that Pat Quinn puts a lot of stock in scoring chances, and they've been tracked on a game-to-game basis over at mc79hockey.com.  Over Reddox's last three games, he's been on the ice for one scoring chance for and 17 against.  That's just plain ugly.

Aside from Reddox's poor play, there's something just a little chilling about the math here, as Ben Massey pointed out over at Copper & Blue:

The recall of two players implies that one Oiler forward is hurt badly enough to go on injured reserve and the smart money is on Ales Hemsky; replacing Hemsky with Ryan O'Marra may just be the biggest skill drop-off since Wayne Gretzky tweaked his groin and was replaced with an actual fire hydrant.

Moving on to Ryan O'Marra, this is his second recall this season and he got into one previous game.  I followed that game shift-by-shift and well he wasn't special he did fairly well (particularly considering that he missed the warm-up).  Springfield coach Rob Daum has raved about the way his game has turned around from this year; apparently getting a jump-start on the season by playing in Finland and rededicating himself to a checking role have done wonders.

McDonald is a player I'm very excited to see.  He was one of three "coke machnes" drafted high in 2003 by the Oilers (the other two were Stortini and Jacques) and his offence has never lived up to expectations.  On the other hand, he's big and strong and has been doing very well in a checking role in the AHL.  Daum has spoken highly of his play both this year and last year.

Neither of these guys brings enough offence to the table to have any future in a top-six role, but both are big and physical enough that a fourth-line career isn't out of the question.  It's probably a good decision to bring these guys up and see what they can do; the Oilers current roster is heavily weighted towards "small" and "defensively irresponsible" so they do fit a need.  Unfortunately, they aren't likely to do anything to help with secondary scoring, so the Oilers will have to continue to hope that current options (Gagner, Cogliano, O'Sullivan, Potulny, etc.) can help carry the load offensively. 

It's unfortunate that Chris Minard is currently on the shelf; the current Falcon played 20 games with Pittsburgh last year and had nine goals and a plus-6 rating through 11 AHL games this season.  If he were healthy, it's almost certain the Oilers would have made use of him.

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Jonathan Willis is a freelance writer. He currently works for Oilers Nation, Sportsnet, the Edmonton Journal and Bleacher Report. He's co-written three books and worked for myriad websites, including Grantland, ESPN, The Score, and Hockey Prospectus. He was previously the founder and managing editor of Copper & Blue.
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#51 Oil Kings 'n' Pretty Things
November 26 2009, 04:33PM
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VK63 wrote:

You think that fire hydrant is still available?

I hear it's being considered for a job within the organization.

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#52 Ender
November 26 2009, 04:43PM
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David S wrote:

Like it or not, Nilsson is an NHL'er.

Other recent Edmonton NHL'ers include such esteemed players as Yan Stastny, Alexei Semenov, Daniel Tjarnqvist, Mathieu Roy, Danny Syvret, Patrick Thoreson, Rob Schremp, and Toby Peterson. Maybe we should be focussing on getting some of those NHL'ers back first, and think about the whole Nilsson thing a little more.

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#53 David S
November 26 2009, 04:54PM
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Oil Kings 'n' Pretty Things wrote:

If we stopped talking potential we would only be watching 2 defencemen, 3 forwards, and an injured goalie.

Exactly.

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#54 Eddie Shore
November 26 2009, 04:56PM
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4 points out of 8th. 4 points out of 15th. I wonder which we will finish closest to....

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#56 Ender
November 26 2009, 05:30PM
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@Jonathan Willis

I'm not joking in the least when I say I would play Patrick Thoreson on this team tomorrow ahead of Robert Nilsson. Thoreson actually had a decent season with HC Lugano last year and this year has 25 points in 25 games with Salavat Yulaev. That's an easy decision.

The thing is, I would play a lot of people ahead of Nilsson right now. A second chance is one thing, but a third, fourth, fifth . . . where do you say enough's enough? Saying there's bound to be some bounceback sounds to me like the equivelent of saying that if you sit at the table long enough, you're bound to win at blackjack. Sure, eventually, but at what cost? Is it a winning proposition?

Nilsson for what he brings versus what he costs monetarily and in play liability is a sucker's bet to me. Even as hurt as the Oilers are, I think we have better alternatives. Two of them showed up today and I'd certainly call Reddox back up before allowing #12 further damage. As far as that goes, I'd ice Comrie, oxygen mask and all, ahead of Nilsson. Stone, stick in one hand and crutch in the other; Pouliot, for Pete's sake, wearing one of those sumo wrestling outfits over his hockey pants - I'd take that ahead of Nilsson.

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#57 mowgli
November 26 2009, 05:34PM
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Nillson has potential we all seen it. He's no R-Smith but thats not his fault if he can't play LW play him on the RW find a spot and use him.

He's NHL not AHL.

or trade him

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#58 roughneck
November 26 2009, 06:39PM
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mowgli wrote:

Nillson has potential we all seen it. He's no R-Smith but thats not his fault if he can't play LW play him on the RW find a spot and use him.

He's NHL not AHL.

or trade him

they could trade him, but Joey Moss says the room that holds the bags of pucks is full.

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#59 David S
November 26 2009, 07:12PM
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Ender wrote:

I'm not joking in the least when I say I would play Patrick Thoreson on this team tomorrow ahead of Robert Nilsson. Thoreson actually had a decent season with HC Lugano last year and this year has 25 points in 25 games with Salavat Yulaev. That's an easy decision.

The thing is, I would play a lot of people ahead of Nilsson right now. A second chance is one thing, but a third, fourth, fifth . . . where do you say enough's enough? Saying there's bound to be some bounceback sounds to me like the equivelent of saying that if you sit at the table long enough, you're bound to win at blackjack. Sure, eventually, but at what cost? Is it a winning proposition?

Nilsson for what he brings versus what he costs monetarily and in play liability is a sucker's bet to me. Even as hurt as the Oilers are, I think we have better alternatives. Two of them showed up today and I'd certainly call Reddox back up before allowing #12 further damage. As far as that goes, I'd ice Comrie, oxygen mask and all, ahead of Nilsson. Stone, stick in one hand and crutch in the other; Pouliot, for Pete's sake, wearing one of those sumo wrestling outfits over his hockey pants - I'd take that ahead of Nilsson.

Ender, you seem like a level-headed guy, so I can't understand what the problem is. As much as some here go on and on about who we should get and who's available, it seems fairly obvious that there's no hurry on the part of this team to go outside the organization at this point in time. None. Nada. No trade happening.

All I'm saying is that whether you like it or not, what this team desperately needs right now is NHL experience. Not guys who have "promise" in the AHL. Other teams with far better balance are wiping the floor with us right now. And I'm not even talking about the powerhouses like Chicago. Man, we couldn't even get past LA, and THAT was a game we should have chalked up.

Nilsson has the skill and experience. If he gets his sh!t together, could help us win games. Admittedly that's a big if, but certainly better odds than bringing in yet another sacrificial lamb from the minors. I'm not sure about you, but I don't watch NHL games to see how Ryan Stone is progressing. IF I want to watch juniors, I'll go to an Oil King game.

Maybe I'm being idealistic, but to my mind the NHL is the best league in the world. Its NOT a place for farm guys to "work in their games".

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#60 TigerUnderGlass
November 26 2009, 08:22PM
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@David S

Yet you believe it's a place for Nilsson to work on his time and time again? How long does he get?

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#61 cableguy - 2nd Tier Fan
November 26 2009, 08:25PM
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mowgli wrote:

Nillson has potential we all seen it. He's no R-Smith but thats not his fault if he can't play LW play him on the RW find a spot and use him.

He's NHL not AHL.

or trade him

~who the f*ck is R-Smith and why do we care about him?~

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#62 Moop
November 26 2009, 08:32PM
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cableguy - 2nd Tier Fan wrote:

~who the f*ck is R-Smith and why do we care about him?~

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert_Smith_(musician)

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#63 BarryS
November 26 2009, 08:49PM
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Dan the Man wrote:

Matty is definitely one of the more reliable guys out there but he did write that there was no chance Comrie would sign here.

You don't think sometimes "sources" sometimes give opinions, not facts? If the source disapproved he was not likely to give true info, even if he knew it. Somehow I doubt the source on this was any of Tambo, Lowe, or Mr. K the money man.

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#64 BarryS
November 26 2009, 08:55PM
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Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach wrote:

That is why we should've waited until friday and said we need someone. That is if the Oil Brass want a look at Eberle.

You don't think LA didn't know last night that Loktionov was going to be out for tonights game? They just waited until the last minute and told the NHL that they couldn't get anyone up from Manchester in time. LA only has 4 guys that are out, so you would think that out of their 49 contracts that someone from Manchester would be eligible.

If you want someone to come in from the Juniors the best wait until the last minute.

The Kid was in Manchester or some such place. The game ended, what midnight, one am on the east coast? Direct flights from Manchester to anywhere are what, every twenty minutes? Like the kid got told at six or seven am, and couldn't get a connection, connections, to get to vancouver in time for the game.

The problem with out farm team is you can't seem to get from there to here in one day and actually be able to play a game that night.

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#65 BarryS
November 26 2009, 09:01PM
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David S wrote:

Stone and McDonald might be able to throw some good hits, but a guy like Nilsson (if he got it together) can help put it in the net. Last I heard there were no points given out for winning the game hit count.

Hey look, I agree the guy hasn't exactly lit it up in the few games he's had to date. But IF he started to contribute to the score sheet, I can tell you he'd be way more valuable than another AHL callup.

Like it or not, Nilsson is an NHL'er. We need those guys way more right now more than a few hi-light reel hits.

Hate to break it to you but a good hit at the right time has won far more games than a player skating around in a fog.

Sorry to break it to you, most of our call up forwards have as many or more points than Nilsson in the NHL this year.

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#66 BarryS
November 26 2009, 09:08PM
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Jonathan Willis wrote:

You better not be knocking my boy Thoresen ;)

As far as Nilsson goes, there's things in his favour. For starters, his minus-12 rating is partially percentage based: his on-ice numbers are 4.35 SH% and .872 SV%, and those are too low to continue.

He hasn't been good. At all. But there's bound to be some bounce back and frankly I think his 95 NHL points in 204 NHL games earns him a second chance on a team as weak as this.

And this is coming from a guy who is all for waiving him once this team is healthy - I just think that for the moment the Oilers are desperate enough that it makes sense to give him one last chance.

So Mr. Stats guy, how of those points are free ones, as second assits are deemed here to be.? How many points are after the winning goal has been scored beyond the insurance one? How many are game winners? How many, not in the above are unassited goals? Nilsson is and always will be a heart breaker to the team he plays for, best let him break hearts on other teams.

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#67 BarryS
November 26 2009, 09:15PM
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@davidS

Maybe I'm being idealistic, but to my mind the NHL is the best league in the world. Its NOT a place for farm guys to "work in their games".

Nilsson has been working on his game in Edmonton for several years and on the Island before that. It is time to say it is beyond repair and send him to the AHL to work on it there.

This team sometimes acts like a woman who takes up with a known drunk, gambling, womanizer with the thought she can change him into a nice Christian gentleman. Truth is, all she has done is chain herself to drunk, gambling, womanizer.

If it has a long nose and a bushy tail and eats ants its an anteater no patience and coaching in the world will change it into a tiger.

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#68 Rogue
November 26 2009, 09:20PM
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Oil Kings 'n' Pretty Things wrote:

I hear it's being considered for a job within the organization.

I still remember Sather saying that a fire hydrant could score 40 goals playing with Gretzky. That was the year that Blair McDonald had 40+ goals alongside Wayne.

Sather was precious at times.

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#70 Jasmine
November 26 2009, 11:32PM
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Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach wrote:

Just looking at some stats, anyone have a guess to how many players we have had play in all 25 games? Without looking.

It's 5. Dustin Penner, Patrick O'Sullivan, Zach Stortini, Andrew Cogliano and Tom Gilbert.

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#71 Jasmine
November 26 2009, 11:40PM
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Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach wrote:

Add a d-man

Also who is on the IR for us, we currently have 31 players so at least 8 of our 9 injuried players have to be on the IR.

As far as I know there are 6 players on IR.

Marc Pouliot, Fernando Pisani, Ryan Stone, Robert Nilsson, Taylor Chorney, Denis Grebeshkov are on IR as far as I know. Pisani and Pouliot are on LTIR.

31-6=25. Maybe Khabibulin is also on IR but that still leaves the Oilers one player over the 23-man roster.

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#72 Jasmine
November 26 2009, 11:47PM
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@Jonathan Willis

Then why were the Oilers denied earlier this season to recall Eberle as an "emergency callup" when the team was ravaged by both the flu and injuries. The NHL told them at that time that they didn't meet the criteria for an emergency callup.

Brule had become ill that day and Comrie was ill and Hemsky had the flu. Hemsky and Comrie both had to play that game despite being ill with the flu.

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#73 Petr's Jofa
November 27 2009, 05:49AM
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@Oildrop89

Don't forget Edmonton also got Alex Plante in the deal. Sure it's not worth Smyth, but it's not a bad return for a rental player.

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#74 cableguy - 2nd Tier Fan
November 27 2009, 06:34AM
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Jasmine wrote:

Then why were the Oilers denied earlier this season to recall Eberle as an "emergency callup" when the team was ravaged by both the flu and injuries. The NHL told them at that time that they didn't meet the criteria for an emergency callup.

Brule had become ill that day and Comrie was ill and Hemsky had the flu. Hemsky and Comrie both had to play that game despite being ill with the flu.

unless eberle was in town, the NHL could easily argue that the oilers could call up one of their many farmhands with NHL deals and have that player arrive within a reasonable amount of time.

obviously, you would have to have the exact date, look at where eberle was, and look at where springfield was, and see what the travel time would be.

edit: and, according to big bobby mackenzie, schenn falls under different rules because he has not signed his entry level deal yet

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#75 Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach
November 27 2009, 07:31AM
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@Petr's Jofa

We ended up with 3 15th overall picks for Smyth, which isn't bad if you think about it. Problem is they haven't panned out yet or might not pan out.

But even if those picks don't pan out we ended up signing Penner. And I am a firm believer in the long run Penner is the better option. Smyth always gets injuried and who knows how long his body will hold out for.

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#76 Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach
November 27 2009, 07:35AM
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@Jasmine

I could've sworn that some media outlet said that the flu isn't considered and emergency. And I somewhat agree, does someone really have the flu or are they playing poorly and you want to work around the rules.

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#77 Ender
November 27 2009, 09:04AM
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Davis S wrote:

Nilsson has the skill and experience. If he gets his sh!t together, could help us win games. Admittedly that's a big if, but certainly better odds than bringing in yet another sacrificial lamb from the minors. I'm not sure about you, but I don't watch NHL games to see how Ryan Stone is progressing. IF I want to watch juniors, I'll go to an Oil King game.

Thanks for calling me level-headed; I respect your opinion too.

Regarding Nilsson VS Stone, Stone in 8 games has one empty-net goal less than Nilsson's point total in 12 games. In addition, Stone did it with a -2 rating, while Nilsson is a -12. Oh, and Stone has 19 hits to Nilsson's 6. Which player is the better one again?

Obviously I was joking about dressing an injured Pouliot ahead of Nilsson, but I am not joking at all about my preference to dress Arsene and play Strudwick as a forward ahead of Nilsson. Strudwick is certainly not flashy as a forward but he's not a -12 either. If we're going to pick between two forwards who can't score, I'll go with the one who at least isn't a defensive liability to boot. It sucks that we have to discuss which forward is better out of those two, but this is where injuries have left us.

The bottom line is that Nilsson was a good NHL player once. He isn't anymore. I don't know why and I don't care. Some players are allowed to play through a slump; they're the ones who've been productive in the league for years and who scored 60 points last season and this season are on pace for only half that. You cut that guy a little slack to find his game again. Nilsson has not earned that. He's playing worse than an AHL'er, and you have to act accordingly. He needs to demonstrate that he is better than the Springfield guys we've called up, and unfortunately pro-sport only allows you so many chances to do that. I think Nilsson has burned his last opportunity here. If he's going to be an NHL'er, he should find his game again in someone else's defensive zone and not ours.

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#78 Reagan
November 27 2009, 01:40PM
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The Oilers are DOOOMED...................

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