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.

  • Ender

    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.

    • 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.

      • Ender

        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".

      • BarryS

        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.

  • BarryS

    @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.

  • Ender

    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.