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?