Reddox Down, O’Marra and McDonald Up

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.