Reddox for Pisani?

BUFFALO, NY - NOVEMBER 11: Liam Reddox #85 of the Edmonton Oilers skates during the game against the Buffalo Sabres at HSBC Arena on November 11, 2009 in Buffalo, New York. (Photo by Rick Stewart/Getty Images)

Could the Oilers replace Fernando Pisani/Ethan Moreau with a spunky Ginger named Liam Reddox? The Oilers re-signed Reddox to a one-year contract this morning and I suspect they plan on seeing if he is the penalty killer they desperately need.

Reddox has played 56 NHL games to date, and he did so on sheer heart and determination. The 112th pick in 2004 is listed at a generous 5’11” and 190 pounds. If he’s that tall then I’m 6’3”, but Reddox hasn’t let his lack of size deter him from fulfilling every Canadian kids’ dream of playing in the NHL.

The question is; can he be a regular contributor?

Fifty-six games over three seasons aren’t enough of an accurate sample size to determine if his stats prove he can play. Five goals and 14 points would have you think, that if he does play, he’ll be more of a checker. But I don’t think 56 games is enough time to use his Corsi or even +/- as a fair indicator.

In Reddox’s case you have to look at his other intangibles and whether those meet the needs of a 3rd or 4th liner who specializes on the PK.

“He has good quickness and he is fearless,” said his former coach Rob Daum. He will block shots and do whatever it takes to get the job (PK) done. He is more quick than fast, and he has the skating ability to play in the NHL.

“He competes hard along the boards. That is his best attribute. He is a smart player on the defensive side of the game. He plays a simple game and he plays it well.”


Reddox will get a long look at camp based solely on those words, because on too many occasions last year the Oilers didn’t compete hard enough. Reddox skates better than Pisani, but Pisani’s biggest strength was his hockey sense. He too made the simple play, and he did so regularly until his health became an issue. Pisani was very solid two feet inside his blueline, where normally the wrong play can lead to a great scoring chance or even a goal against.

Is Reddox that reliable?

When Moreau was an elite checker his tenacity was his biggest attribute. He blocked shots with reckless abandon, he forechecked hard and he had above average speed. Reddox doesn’t have Moreau’s size or strength, but he normally gave his best effort.

Can Reddox be a solid checker despite his size?

If Reddox is going to grab the vacancy left by Moreau and Pisani he will need to show Tom Renney he can do that on a regular basis. Kelly Buchberger coached Reddox in Springfield in 2008 so he knows what Reddox can bring, and that will be an advantage for Reddox.

Buchberger played 17 years in the NHL on heart, grit, determination with no fear. Reddox will never play the rugged style Bucky did, but he has shown he is willing to battle for every inch on the ice.

It’s clear the Oilers need another penalty killer, and Reddox will be keenly aware of the situation when training camp opens in less than six weeks.

Is he good enough to replace Pisani/Moreau? I’m not sold on him yet, but I give him better than a punchers chance to grab a spot on the team.

The bigger question is do the Oilers need to go with a veteran PKer or is Reddox suffice? I wonder if Oiler fans would be okay with the Red Ox, or do you need a proven veteran checker?

  • Eddie Shore

    Reddox is the checker we need if he grows 3″ and 30lbs. Sometimes the sad reality is size trumps hard work. Sorry Liam. Find a checker with some size.

    Edit. I understand hardwork and compete level is important. My thought is find a bigger checker that works just as hard, if possible.

  • The Fish

    Perhaps there’s a bit of evil genius at work. If you consider that soon after Hemsky became injured last season, Khabibulin’s back was in a state where it was out of commission for the remainder of ’09-’10 as well. Soon after, the kids were given all kinds of tough minutes, and the Oil sank like a stone in the standings.

    The reward(s): Mr. Hall and Mr. Pitlick.

    This off season, we’ve passed up on some pretty decent defensemen, sandpaper wingers, and Antti Niemi in favour of Strudwick, Reddox, and JDD.

    Would anyone deign to agree that perhaps we’re strategizing to sell high on Penner and/or Hemsky, lose games due to special teams and poor goaltending, and end up with a plethora of future superstars in order to be supremely competitive for the ’13-’14 season?

    Who really shot JFK? How did they get the Caramilk in the bar? Is Esa Tikkanen your real dad?

  • Ducey

    Reddox isn’t going to make the NHL team. At best, he will get a shot if there are a few injuries.

    Excellent news on the Kovalchuk front. A rare moment of sanity. It will be interesting to see if the decision clarifies where the line might be between valid or invalid. If they knocked the last four years off the deal (so he would theoretically retire at 40) would it then be valid?

  • ubermiguel

    You’re making me nostalgic for the old Moreau and Pisani.

    It’d be nice to be bigger (longer reach, more muscle) as a defensive forward (not a “checker”…there is a difference). Hockey-smarts and hustle mean more though if you’re asking a guy to back-check, block passing lanes, block shots, force plays to the outside, and get the puck out of the zone under pressure. I’m thinking Marchant, Stoll, MacTavish, Pisani. If he can play like those guys in their prime he’s got a job for sure.

  • Muji 狗

    Reddox kinda reminds me of Toby Petersen. Remember him? Great guy. Great attitude. But a low ceiling, even for a checker.

    If we’re planning on letting the flashy kids play in the NHL, we need above-average checkers.

    Reddox, sadly, is not above-average.

  • Ender

    A “spunky Ginger?” Sounds like a porno-remake of Gilligan’s Island, complete with the Skipper and his Little Buddy making the most of their three-hour tour.

  • Beer + Wings

    I love Reddox. He plays big and isn’t scared of anyone. If we had 18 guys who played with his tenacity and fearlessness, this would be a yeam that could compete every night. I hope he squeaks onto the roster but it seems unlikely due to the already crowded forward corps assembled.

  • Dan the Man

    I’m a little baffled by this article. I respect the way Reddox plays but he should be no where near the NHL. There is a reason he has played 56 games over 3 seasons.

    • Jason Gregor

      Baffled why? I asked if you thought the Oilers would do it. I’m not a believer that he should be that guy, but unless they sign someone else, he is one of the better penalty killers they have.

      • Ender

        Why are we discussing Liam Reddox? If we need PK help we should sign a UFA. There are alot of guys out there that we can sign for the league minimum. I wish Reddox well, all I’m saying is that he shouldn’t be in the NHL – and probably shouldn’t have blogs about him!

        • Jason Gregor

          The organization likes him enough to sign him again, and the role he plays is exactly what the team doesn’t have. To suggest he has no chance of making the team doesn’t mix with what the Oilers think.

          His former coach said he can skate at the NHL level, and he has played a bit already, so while you might hate him, the team thinks he might be able to help.

          Reddox might be one of the best proven penalty killers in the organization right now. Doesn’t mean I have to like it, but that is a fact, and he’ll get a look at camp.

          And considering my blog got a reaction from you then it was worth writing. You write to give opinion, show facts, rant about things or offer up scenarios that will generate a reaction. Your response proved it worked. Thanks for reading.

          • D-Man

            I’d hate to admit it – but Gregor is right about Reddox with his PK ability. Looking at our roster, the only forward we have who is a proven PK killer would be Horcoff (due to his faceoff ability). Other than Horc, the only forward who potentially could be decent on the PK would be Frasor. There are some maybe’s with Brule, Cogliano, Jones and Jacques. The rest of the bunch either aren’t good enough or belong on the top two PP units. I still don’t think that Reddox makes this team, but I think Oilers Nation shouldn’t be too surprised to see our PK ranked in the bottom five again this year.

            Gregor – Are there any decent 3rd liner with PK ability up for grabs via a Souray trade???

          • Jason Gregor

            I don’t see them trading Souray to be honest. I think they will kiss and make up, and if Souray shows the rest of the league he is healthy and plays well, then he’ll have some trade value.

            I don’t see a team trading a legit 3rd liner for Souray, because no 3rd liner makes the same money as Souray. (Please don’t say Horcoff does…haha..but you know what I mean).

          • D-Man

            Jason while I respect your opinion – and you certainly have the right to express your opinion like anyone else, I would like to clarify my feelings and the feelings of many others…you should stick to commenting on your areas of expertise, the CFL and Canadian mixed martial arts. Leave hockey to the experts like Robin Brownstreeks.

            haha just kidding. good blog.

            Time will tell about Reddox.

          • Jason Gregor

            I never wrote I wanted this to happen, just made the point that right now it is possible, and likely if they don’t sign a veteran penalty killer.

            Maybe I’ll start commenting on reality TV, and pedicures as well. 🙂

  • Ender

    Ara Parseghian: I wish God would put your heart in some of my players’ bodies.
    (Rudy, 1993)

    ‘Rudy’ Ruettiger and Liam Reddox are both inspirational people. Sadly, neither was blessed with enough size or talent to be a regular player on their team of choice.

    I love the Red Ox and I sincerely hope he proves me wrong; nothing would make me happier than to see him do well as a steady shut-down checker for the Oil.


    I think Liam better continue to pray for injuries if he wants to play here this year. No question he wants it more than many of the players out there; I just don’t know if heart alone gets you on the roster. Then again, if there was ever a year that it could happen . . .

    As far as contribution goes, maybe there is a place for him. While he wouldn’t be teaching Hall or Eberle anything about scoring, I think there are a few things he could show them that might be very good for them to see.

  • Whitney27

    Reddox is a hard worker but he is not a replacement for Moreau or Pisani. At the end of the day he has no chance of making this team but would be good in the minor leagues for a call up once in awhile when needed.

  • Whitney27

    Reddox is a hard worker but he is not a replacement for Moreau or Pisani. At the end of the day he has no chance of making this team but would be good in the minor leagues for a call up once in awhile when needed.

  • Ender

    I’d have zero problem keeping an open mind to Reddox fill that position on a PK role. He has shown that he brings energy and is a hard worker. When i see the first post saying he doesnt go out and party on the road thats refreshing to hear. If he is a social hermit thats another story.

    Im not sure if he is the answer but if he accepts that as his role and works hard at it i think he has the right skill set, energy and is a good age to develop with this rebuild.

    There is no question that our PK is going to be weak next year. I think if you could play him on a 3rd line checking role with Horcoff they could develop into a pretty good #1 PK teamed with a couple big and mobile defensivemen.
    I thinking the organization has to acknowledge not to try and overplay Horcoff is an offensive role so he doesnt have to be tired when he needs to play those tough minutes. He is a good two way player.

    Regardless we just finished last overall and hopefully expectations arent high and we need to understand that this could be a slow process. So if your going to take a shot at an 18 year possibly being your #1 LW or center why not try Reddox in the “moreau or Pisani” role. We have alot of question marks ie: Jacques, Jones, Fraser that we are going to be experimenting in the bottom six.
    I could see any of these combos mixed and matched.
    Jacques Horcoff Reddox
    Jones/Macintyre Fraser Stortini.
    Throw in Brule possibly to strengthen the PK and bottom six then im catiously optimistic or lets just say “ok” with what we have for now.

    Im just happy our Top 6 is finally looking up!

  • Tracie

    Although I agree Reddox is smaller then the role he plays needs, you can’t argue with his heart and willingness to do whatever is asked. And for all of you guys that think we NEED bigger…JF Junk is bigger, has less points in more games with the big club and is often injured…with the size we’ve added to the lineup, would you rather have JFJ in the lineup or Liam Reddox?

  • D-Man

    As you allude to numerous times, Reddox doesnt have the physical stature or aggressive / rugged style to be compared with moreau or buckey types..

    So why do you persist in trying to frame him as potentially filling the same role?!

    AHL depth signing… but he can be useful as a call-up.. I always ‘saw him good’ when looking at work-ethic and such, much the same as yourself I assume.. will be good (relative) when called up, but would be an organizational tell (giddy up, 30th ‘ere we come) if he was in the opening night roster…

    As other comments have said, the fact that reddox is a top PK’r in the org IS A TELL.. Roster imbalance, lack of PK help and probably a bunch of wishful thinking that this team can succeed without respecting the significance of special teams..

    • Jason Gregor

      He doesn’t have the size to be tough like Moreau, but that doesn’t mean he can’t forecheck hard.

      And your final paragraph just agreed with my point. He is one of the best options on the team. Are you saying they should go with worse options on the PK, because he is small.

      Do the Oilers need a better option? Yes. But the point was they don’t have many, so you might see the Red Ox here. I never wrote it was the best scenario, just a likely one at this point, unless they sign a veteran penalty killer.

  • Jason Gregor

    I can’t for the life of me see why they are not signing Fernando. He is one of the most reliable players on the ice when he does play. Just doesn’t make sense. If we need a veteran presence, I would take him in the dressing room over most.