Should the Oilers be interested in Wade Redden?

Jonathan Willis
January 16 2013 09:39AM

Photo: Kaatiya/Wikimedia Commons

Yesterday, the NHL and the NHLPA agreed to a deal that would allow teams to buy out albatross contracts immediately. The deal was in response to the Canadiens and Rangers choosing to send Scott Gomez and Wade Redden home for the year, with the expectation of buying them out next summer.

Now that those players can be expected to become free agents shortly, should the Oilers be interested in either?

Given the Oilers are four-deep in NHL regulars at centre, there wouldn’t seem to be a pressing need for Scott Gomez; other teams (such as Vancouver, a club looking at employing either Andrew Ebbett or Jordan Schroeder as its second-line centre) will undoubtedly be more interested in him than Edmonton would be.

Wade Redden, at least superficially, is a more plausible fit.

Where would Redden fit?

Redden, after spending last season as the captain of the AHL’s Connecticut Whale, is not about to displace any of the Oilers’ top-five on defence (Smid, Petry, Schultz, Schultz and Whitney). A signing would put him in the mix for a bottom pairing job, along with newcomer Mark Fistric and holdovers Corey Potter and Theo Peckham.

Given that Fistric and Potter look to be locks for the NHL roster, that leaves Redden unseating Theo Peckham for the eighth spot on the Oilers’ blue line, with Peckham presumably being sent to the minors or dealt to another team. This scenario also means the Oilers would keep 13 instead of 14 forwards.

Is that a worthwhile move?

Likely, it depends on exactly how good one perceives Redden as being. If the thought process is that Redden’s an above-average third-pairing guy, this isn’t a move that makes sense. It would have been sensible prior to the addition of Mark Fistric yesterday, but with Fistric now on the team the Oilers don’t need another depth-only guy on the NHL roster.

However, if the expectation is that Redden steps into a third-pairing role but has a decent shot at moving into a top-four slot on the back end over the course of the season, it’s a move that makes significantly more sense. Redden, coming off a buyout, is likely not going to earn a lot of money on his next contract; in this case rather than paying market value for a third-pairing defenceman the Oilers would be paying third-pairing money to a guy who can play bigger minutes as required.

Looking at the Oilers depth chart, I can see the appeal of a guy like Wade Redden. Prior to the acquisition of Fistric, I would have said that bringing in Redden on a short-term deal made great sense for the organization. In the aftermath of the Fistric signing, however, I think the team would need to be confident that Redden would be able to bring more than third-pairing minutes to the table. If they aren’t, I can’t imagine them being as incentivized to pursue Redden as some other teams – the Red Wings or the Islanders to name two – will be.

Recently by Jonathan Willis

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Jonathan Willis is a freelance writer. He currently works for Oilers Nation, 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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#1 Mikey
January 16 2013, 09:42AM
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I say yes. At the worst he can be a mentor to the guys on OKC!

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#2 OilClog
January 16 2013, 09:42AM
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Redden has no appeal, he's a older Cam top 4 man Barker. Meaning we probably sign him.. Fudge.

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#3 They're $hittie
January 16 2013, 09:51AM
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Redden would be a good gamble. 5 years ago he was in the elite. Than he signs a huge contract and has two years where he doesn't live up to it.

If he were not on a top 5 revenue team he would never have been buried in the minors.

With the D we have now this is as safe a gamble with a high reward possibility as you can get.

He is a legit number 5-6 d if not better in the NHL.

*didn't comment on the last post but looking at camp, Gagner is one of the top three hardest workers on the team. he now has a pure finisher to play with. not many elite play makers broke out with out a finisher. Joe Thornton is one of the few that come to mind. With hall he is definitely the grittiest in the top six (I know we need more).

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#5 Jason Gregor
January 16 2013, 10:01AM
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Main concern is Redden shoots left and prefers the left side.

With Smid, Whitney and N.Schultz on the left-side I don't see him being an upgrade.

Also the Oilers need some physical aspect on the backend and he doesn't add that.

The wildcard is if he can skate at the NHL level.

I agree that the Wings make the most sense, because they need depth and are a veteran team. He likely would sign with a team he thinks can win this year, not in a few years like the Oilers.

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#6 Lebowski
January 16 2013, 10:01AM
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"Incentivized" is actually one of those new made up pompous words that I can see the Pentagon using. Used in the wrong context here and a simpler more direct word would have been less distracting.

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#7 Quicksilver ballet
January 16 2013, 10:07AM
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YES!

Appologies for the NewAgeSystem type response.

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#8 Not That I am gritty
January 16 2013, 10:07AM
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Let's define gritty ... you should be a mean , tough SOB. Gagner is not one ... probably Eager and Hortichuk are .

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#9 BaconWrapped
January 16 2013, 10:08AM
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Lebowski wrote:

"Incentivized" is actually one of those new made up pompous words that I can see the Pentagon using. Used in the wrong context here and a simpler more direct word would have been less distracting.

I find this comment pompous and distracting.

Back to discussing the article...

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#10 positivebrontefan
January 16 2013, 10:13AM
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@Jason Gregor

I agree with you Jason, except the part about the Wings going all the way this year. I think the Lidstrom hangover will hit them hard. With Lidstrom retiring it takes away their 1 and 2 defensemen because anyone who played with him was immeadiatly made better. Just ask Ian White.

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#11 Mikey
January 16 2013, 10:16AM
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Jonathan Willis wrote:

Pretty doubtful he'd clear waivers if the Oilers tried to assign him to the minors on a cheap contract.

Oh that's too bad. I thought they would be able to sign him to a two way contract.

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#12 They're $hittie
January 16 2013, 10:17AM
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Not That I am gritty wrote:

Let's define gritty ... you should be a mean , tough SOB. Gagner is not one ... probably Eager and Hortichuk are .

I would rather have Gagner than Earger or Hordichuk. And for those wanting Grit in your top six I would suggest not trading Gagner for a D because out of the top 6 he is the grittiest.

Again I know its sad. But I will take the skill of our top six over grit without skill any day.

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#14 Archaeologuy
January 16 2013, 10:21AM
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If he signs for less than 1 million I dont mind signing him at all. I havent seen him play in a long time, I have no idea if he is capable at the NHL level anymore, but he has experience and is another body not named Peckham or Teubert.

He would upgrade the 8-9 spot on the Oilers D immediately and with some luck could prove to be even better than that.

For less than 1M he would be good insurance.

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#16 Oilfan69
January 16 2013, 10:28AM
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Time Warp Fist on gregor's article that disappeared.

:)

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#17 RyanCoke
January 16 2013, 10:28AM
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I dont know if it's just me but I miss those newagesys posts. I mean the last ones he was finally cutting them down to less than 1 page, and I would read them.

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#18 BaconWrapped
January 16 2013, 10:34AM
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What incentive does a team have to buyout a player this year? Doesn't it just hurt the team as the buyout cost is higher? Also, there's the chance that the player signs with another team and actually comes back to haunt the orignal team later in the season or worse, the playoffs.

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#19 Romulus' Apotheosis
January 16 2013, 10:35AM
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@Jonathan Willis

I don't know about Gomez...

but I wouldn't be so confident that our C depth is resolved.

RNH and Gagner are both small... this isn't necessarily a concern... but their smallish wingers put this is even greater relief. especially so long as RNH can't win a faceoff.

Gagner's life-span with the club is questionable with his short contract.

Horcoff is buy-out bait and has no internal candidate ready to take up his TOI.

Belanger may never find the range or even the rink in Oiler silks and the talk that he may have wanted out last summer doesn't help.

VDV is a serviceable call-up, but not a great NHL option and calling him up for injury replacement is going to expose OKC even more than it already is.

Lander is in dire need of playing all day in OKC and figuring out how to score.

Losing Cogliano, Brule and Omarra and Gaining RNH, Belanger, VDV and Lander is a clear net gain... but throughout the organization the depth at C is

weak in quality (depending a lot on your opinion of Gagner, Horcoff and Belanger.. views are obviously very mixed here);

weak in quantity and exposed to injury; and/or

questionable relating to the future (what is the future of Gagner, Horcoff and Belanger not to mention the guys in the minors).

As far as Redden goes... wouldn't it depend on the cost and term... I agree a lot depends on where we would slot him into the depth chart and whether we would be able to accurately gauge his value ("Barker is a top 4 D!")...

but no team is safe on D and the Oil are particularly vulnerable with questions still circling Whitney and the bottom pairing guys (to ignore injury)...

so... I don't know... I'd call his agent and see what he's asking... stock piling D is never a bad idea.

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#20 Ducey
January 16 2013, 10:36AM
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He had 14 pts in 75 games in 2009-10. Thats the last time he played in the NHL! 3 yrs ago! He had 20 pts in 49 AHL games last year and doesn't appear to have played during the lockout.

By comparison, Corey Potter had 21 pts in 62 NHL games LAST year. Plus he played during the lockout.

Redden is 35 and has a lot of miles on his body.

I don't see how having him play 10-15 games and spending the rest in the pressbox is going to allow him to get his NHL game back. He is therefore unlikely to be more useful than someone even like Teubert who will be playing FT in OKC and can just bounce back and forth for a game here and there.

I think it is unrealistic to expect that Redden will be as good as Potter or Fistric this year. He might be able to beat out Peckham for the #8, but its hard to see him as much of an upgrade on Theo.

Short answer: No.

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#21 CC
January 16 2013, 10:43AM
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I'm confused by the cap hit this year. Will the Rangers get hit with a 4.7 Million Cap Hit (5.6 - .900K). If this is the case the Rangers will hardly be able to do this. They are tight against the cap this year. Maybe I'm reading this wrong.

I wonder, would a proactive team. Trade for Redden & a prospect for a low-level player or prospect. Like Corey Potter for Redden & a player like Mike St. Croix or Boo Nieves(a second level prospect).

Or even better, work a deal with Sather saying you will claim him on reentry waivers if and you make a Potter for St. Croix deal. Then next year you buy him out.

With all of that said I think Redden will go to the Senators. They have injury concerns, he's familiar with the team and will come in cheap.

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#22 book¡e
January 16 2013, 10:45AM
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Mikey wrote:

Oh that's too bad. I thought they would be able to sign him to a two way contract.

Two way contracts have nothing to do with waivers, just salary.

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#23 oilers2k14
January 16 2013, 11:08AM
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Reddens just gonna be happy if teams approach him with a new contract, I dont think hes gonna be too picky about wether the team is ready to contend...likely a team ready to comtend wouldnt with Wade Redden in their lineup..unless its the wings they have that uncanny ability to turn mediocre players into very useful parts

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#24 DSF
January 16 2013, 11:40AM
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It appears Detroit is interested:

http://tinyurl.com/awlkqhl

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#25 Rick
January 16 2013, 11:56AM
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If he comes cheap then I would think it's a no brainer to take a run at him.

At minimum he would be a better #7 than anyone the Oilers currently have.

The Oilers have some interesting peices on the blueline but interesting doesn't mean good.

Redden has experience and is/was multi dimensional. It's a good gamble.

I know some people believe that his AHL performance is suggestive that he can no longer play. I would point out that a year ago alot of people were suggesting the same thing about Souray and yet he salvaged his NHL career quite nicely.

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#26 Death Metal Nightmare
January 16 2013, 12:06PM
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most overhyped "i get special sentiment because i'm canadian" player ever. i remember watching him literally blow series in the 2000's with Ottawa (whoops! missed hip check! there goes the Leafs to the next round... whoops... on ice and out of position for some key plays in the SC finals i went to. whoops!).

could he move the puck a little? sure. does he have a decent offensive mind? sure. is he a good D-man? no. PASS.

agree with all of Gregor's points

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#27 Spydyr
January 16 2013, 12:38PM
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The elephant in the room is this:

Why would a team buy out a player now instead of waiting till the summer.

The team does not save any money. Then the player is free to sign anywhere. Even a divisional rival.

If I was the GM he would sit till summer.

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#28 Sanaa Montana
January 16 2013, 12:47PM
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NO!

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#29 Oiler Al
January 16 2013, 12:49PM
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J.W., you last paragraph sums it up best. I think Fistric, good addition, need to replace Sutton for some toughness, and he has to play top six to be in the mix. If you bring Redden in where do use Fistric and Potter. I think Potter is as much a player as Redden is now. The only thing that could change is injuries, but I guess you address that when it comes up. I am curious about a guy like Campolli, who might be good injury insurance , he's moblie and only 28 ?

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#30 godot10
January 16 2013, 01:05PM
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Spydyr wrote:

The elephant in the room is this:

Why would a team buy out a player now instead of waiting till the summer.

The team does not save any money. Then the player is free to sign anywhere. Even a divisional rival.

If I was the GM he would sit till summer.

1) The cap goes down to $64.3 million next year from $70 million this year.

2) One can no longer bury salary in the minors.

3) One CANNOT buy out an injured player.

4) If Redden or Gomez were to get injured, one could NOT buy them out this summer, which is why they were going to be asked to sit at home till summer time. Their contracts are both so large, that the Rangers and the Canadiens cannot take any risk that they could not be bought out this summer.

5) So the NHL and NHLPA agreed to early buyouts, but with full cap impact still applying to this season only, so the Rangers and Canadiens could not benefit from an early buyout this year.

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#31 TrentonL
January 16 2013, 01:10PM
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Redden is a clear upgrade on Potter if had at the same $. The only reason he has been in the AHL is the $6.5mm cap hit. Which he doesnt provide value on (neither would Potter!)

Looking at his last 3 seasons his story went like this:

07-08: Last year in Ottawa hums along at his usual pace with 38 points (16 PP) in 80 games with ice time (EV/PP/SH) of 16:39/3:48/1:45 Underlying numbers show positive shot differential 34.48 for/29.36 against with very favorable zone start of 60.5%. His On-Ice Sh% was 10.08%. (I assume it was in this region prior seasons as his points total was pretty consistent at that level or higher for a while). Looks to be playing about second line competition with .261 Corsi Rel QoC.

08-09: Signs the big UFA contract with NY and puts up a comparatively poorer season than usual with 26 (8 PP) points in 81 games with ice time (EV/PP/SH) of 16:33/3:37/2:09 His personal SH% was only 1.86% compared to career average of 5.97%. His On-Ice Sh% fell deeply to 6.85%. Shot differential remained positive at 31.88 for/28.99 against with slightly worse but still very positive zone start of 57.6%. Still faced about second toughs with a Corsi Rel QoC of 0.4. So pretty much a poor season on the PP and some bad shooting luck got him in everybody's bad books as a toxic contract.

Ottawa's PP% was 18.1% the previous year while NY was at 13.9% with Redden. Clearly he shares the blame here as Ottawa got better after him and NY was better before but could have been bad system or other players on the teams.

09-10: Things "fall off the rails" as Redden only puts up 14 points (1 PP). In 75 games his ice time was 15:05/0:18/2:07, so the PP points are obviously not going to be there when he isn't on the ice. Personal shot % recovers a bit to 3.03% while On-Ice Sh% also recovers a bit to 7.94%. Shot differential remains positive 29.11/28.32 even though his zone start is now unfavorable at 48.7%. He was facing bottom line competition (Corsi QoC -.262) but still succeeded in the role.

The story here is lack of PP time limiting point totals.

In my view Redden got burnt by a bad luck season followed by losing his PP time killing his point totals. Combine that with an overpay contract of $6.5mm and its a recipe for disaster.

Obviously don't have lots of data for his AHL time but he was 15th in dman scoring in the first year and had a lesser second season where his shots rate and point totals were down about 30% (ice time maybe?)

Potter meanwhile put up 21 points (11 PP) with 16:36/2:28/0:51 of ice time in 62 games. Edmonton of course had a very hot power play at 20.6%. He had a negative shot differential at 27.71/30.22 with favorable zone starts (54.3%) facing ~third liners at Corsi Rel QoC of -.83. He scored 8 points in his first 16 games (pre injury) and 13 in the next 46. That being said he had 4 points in the first 6 games post injury so that was hardly the limiting factor. I'd guess his ability is likely closer to the second set. As better options are now available on the PP (Schultz) he will likely not get much for PP ice time so his boxcars will be way down.

Overall Redden's bad seasons with no PP time are about the best Potter can do and Potter is worse defensively based on shot differential while he is on the ice.

No brainer pick up Redden if he wants to sign here on the cheap and play 6th/7th spot.

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#32 godot10
January 16 2013, 01:10PM
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If I were the Oilers, I would be interested in Redden on a one-year contract. The Oilers are short competent defensemen. Redden is not the ideal candidate, but he is likely better than Peckham and Teubert.

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#33 Spydyr
January 16 2013, 01:20PM
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godot10 wrote:

1) The cap goes down to $64.3 million next year from $70 million this year.

2) One can no longer bury salary in the minors.

3) One CANNOT buy out an injured player.

4) If Redden or Gomez were to get injured, one could NOT buy them out this summer, which is why they were going to be asked to sit at home till summer time. Their contracts are both so large, that the Rangers and the Canadiens cannot take any risk that they could not be bought out this summer.

5) So the NHL and NHLPA agreed to early buyouts, but with full cap impact still applying to this season only, so the Rangers and Canadiens could not benefit from an early buyout this year.

1-2-3-4 Have no bearing on what I said which is your 5.

Why let him sign with a divisional rival...... let him sit till summer.

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#34 chuck biscuits
January 16 2013, 01:31PM
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Spydyr you are correct...none of the above points answer your question

the only incentive I see is one less contract counting against the 50 limit cap and it clears a roster spot on your 23 man roster(that's assuming they didn't try to waive them and have them sit on the AHL roster)...other than that, it's just a goodwill gesture to the NHLPA.

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#35 Old Retired Guy
January 16 2013, 01:36PM
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#33 Spydyr

Why let him sign with a divisional rival...... let him sit till summer..

It has something to do with Canadian Labor Law and the idea that they cannot ask Gomez to "Stay Home" / "Not Play" without just cause.

And apparently playing like crap is not just cause.

So they either have to buy him out or risk injury.

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#36 chuck biscuits
January 16 2013, 01:37PM
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And regarding the original post-I might have been interested in Redden if we could have squeezed a draft pick out of the Rangers in a trade(and then bought out Redden ourselves)..otherwise, with Fistric now on board, I don't see the point.

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#37 vetinari
January 16 2013, 01:40PM
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It all comes down to money. Generally, for the bottom slots I'd rate them:

Redden > Potter > Peckman

At least Redden has some fantastic years on his resume. I'd throw him a one year deal at anywhere between $1.2M to $1.8M but no more than that and see if he takes it. If Peckham gets waived or traded to make room, no big loss.

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#38 Old Retired Guy
January 16 2013, 01:43PM
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I guess you can't have too much depth on defence.....has anyone contacted Lee Fogilin or Dave "Bam Bam" Langevin???

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#39 Old Retired Guy
January 16 2013, 01:44PM
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just kidding....I honestly have NO idea how good or bad Wade Reddon is these days.

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#40 Old Retired Guy
January 16 2013, 01:47PM
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or how to spell his name...

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#41 Old Retired Guy
January 16 2013, 01:50PM
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I guess I was also hoping that our days of desperation/reclamation projects was finally a thing of the past.....but the fact that Redden is a legitimate consideration means we may still be a year away....

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#42 justDOit
January 16 2013, 02:05PM
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Old Retired Guy wrote:

I guess I was also hoping that our days of desperation/reclamation projects was finally a thing of the past.....but the fact that Redden is a legitimate consideration means we may still be a year away....

The number of chins in the Oilers dressing room that still can't grow anything other than fuzz is proof that this team is at least a year away. What the rational fanbase expects is improvement.

And that doesn't mean that you can't try a reclamation project if the team was ready to compete. Good teams use this tactic quite often, and with better results than bad teams.

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#43 John F
January 16 2013, 02:10PM
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No, but they should be very interested in Ryan O'Reilly.

Offer sheet or trade

Gagner + ? for Ryan O'Reilly

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#44 DieHard
January 16 2013, 02:18PM
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chuck biscuits wrote:

And regarding the original post-I might have been interested in Redden if we could have squeezed a draft pick out of the Rangers in a trade(and then bought out Redden ourselves)..otherwise, with Fistric now on board, I don't see the point.

It's nice to buy out players with other people's money. I could do it all day.

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#45 Dog Train
January 16 2013, 02:22PM
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I'm not convinced that he would be much of an upgrade even on a guy like Corey Potter personally. Yes, he was a pretty good dman about 5 years ago in Ottawa playing with Zdeno Chara. I'm not sure that 5 years later he can play at anywhere near that level.

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#46 Old Retired Guy
January 16 2013, 02:25PM
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@justDOit

When I say a year away....I don't mean a year away from contending...I mean a year away from picking up the Cam Barkers of the world to plug a whole...

Yes....many teams make use of reclamation projects...Glen Sather did so a few times as the Oiler GM....It's the calibre of reclamation projects that I'm talking about...bringing in a vet to fill a role is always an option....but the Oilers are/will be a pretty deep team and in a year or two the options to bring up young talent ( Kelfblom, PVR, etc) will hopefully prove to be a no brainer as opposed to considering the Wade Redden's of the world.......Now Scott Neidermeyer would be a differnet story.....

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#47 Old Retired Guy
January 16 2013, 02:25PM
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@justDOit

When I say a year away....I don't mean a year away from contending...I mean a year away from picking up the Cam Barkers of the world to plug a whole...

Yes....many teams make use of reclamation projects...Glen Sather did so a few times as the Oiler GM....It's the calibre of reclamation projects that I'm talking about...bringing in a vet to fill a role is always an option....but the Oilers are/will be a pretty deep team and in a year or two the options to bring up young talent ( Kelfblom, PVR, etc) will hopefully prove to be a no brainer as opposed to considering the Wade Redden's of the world.......Now Scott Neidermeyer would be a differnet story.....

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#48 chuck biscuits
January 16 2013, 02:32PM
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@ Diehard

Hah..!!...my point was play Redden for the 48 games this year, and then buy him out this summer.

And I've never had a problem spending Katz money..:)

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#49 olderthendirt
January 16 2013, 03:18PM
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NO and in case you did not hear NO

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#50 DigDeepNBleedBlue
January 16 2013, 06:21PM
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I think IF you sign Redden you trade Potter. And that would/could be an upgrade imo.

Does he want to go to a contender? Probably 99% of players do, but I would assume Redden, right now, would play for 29 teams.

He'd have a go at the "healthy" girl at the end of the bar.

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