Liam Reddox: Ginger with 9 Lives

I’ve long been a fan of Liam Reddox. Despite a rather long list of "yeah but’s" on his resume, the Oilers keep bringing him back as insurance and he keeps moving up the in-season depth chart. For a team looking for some sandpaper and an eye on what happens when the puck is going the wrong way, the little ginger might surprise. 

On his draft day, Reddox was a deep pick (112th overall, about 87 slots after Hockey Jesus) and very little was known about him. Redline Report: an agitator extraordinaire. Industrial strength abrasive. Plays like a pit bull–locks on and won’t let go.

A natural goal scorer in the OHL, Reddox graduated to pro hockey (ECHL) and had a pedestrian season. A long chat and a renewed effort over the summer following his signing a pro contract meant he arrived as a 21-year old and forced his way up the depth chart fall 2007. By 2008-09 established himself as a trusted young player for coach MacTavish. Which meant he had to earn the trust of the new coaching staff last season (Reddox was recalled in early November, playing 9 NHL games last season and graduating as a prospect. My line in the sand for that is 50 NHL games) and now begins anew with a (somewhat) new group of grey-hairs at the top.

Reddox signed this week (2-way deal, $90k in the A, $550k in the show) and has a nice chance to play in the NHL this season. Maybe not beginning the season with the Oilers (the flashy rookies will likely dominate) but on a team with very few defensive and penalty killing options up front, Liam the Lion should make an impression long before someone in management says "gee, we’ve got a lot of small forwards who can’t PK to save their ass."

There’s a chance Reddox will be lost to waivers when being sent down, or the Oilers will call him up and lose him on re-entry waivers. Having said that, their LW depth chart as it stands:
  1. Dustin Penner
  2. Taylor Hall
  3. Ryan Jones
  4. Magnus Pääjärvi
  5. Steve MaCintyre
  6. Linus Omark
  7. JF Jacques
  8. Liam Reddox
  9. Teemu Hartikainen
  10. Philippe Cornet
  11. Matt Marquardt

isn’t exactly overrunn with two-way options. Ryan Jones may end up playing RW (the depth chart without him on RW looks like this):

  1. Ales Hemsky
  2. Gilbert Brule
  3. Jordan Eberle
  4. Zack Stortini
  5. Alexandre Giroux
  6. Liam Reddox
  7. Ben Ondrus
  8. Colin McDonald

so Liam Reddox has a nice window of opportunity this fall. Moreau and Pisani are gone, and the Oilers have replaced them with rebar and duct tape (read: Jacques and MacIntyre). If the Oilers don’t sign someone for the 2-way W role before training camp, someone on the coaching staff is going to notice Liam Reddox in a very good way. He’s undersized, gets hit more often than Washington’s pitching staff, and isn’t going to stand out in this crowd of NHL wannabe’s.

But he has skill, gives effort and has learned the trade. I’ll bet money Liam Reddox has an NHL career; the question is where? 

  • Skidplate

    I too hope he can stick with the team. We need a few players that play with his tenacity.

    He seems to have a lot of haters on ON however. I have always wondered what is wrong with someone that does what the coaches ask, works hard and has some skill.

    • Cosmo

      Because there are 600 guys who play in the AHL that would agree to have their toes cut off just to become an NHL regular.

      They can’t. It’s not for lack of trying. It’s because they’re not amongst the 600-700 most talented hockey players on earth who deserve to play in the world’s most elite league.

      A lot of fans question whether Liam Reddox is, or ever will be, talented enough to have an NHL job in spite of his size. I agree about the importance of tenacity, especially having just viewed an ’09-’10 version of the Oil where this was seriously lacking.

      Is there any sizzle to Reddox’s game? Most fans don’t see it.

  • Cosmo

    I hope he stays. I was at the game where he scored his first NHL goal and would really like to see him succeed with us. I think the Marchant reference is relevent. You can easily be retained by a team if you can master a good PK.

  • Adam D

    I think most people don’t really hate Reddox, we just have a lot of anger towards him due to the way he was utilized by MacT.

    It’s irrational, but it happens and I like to call it the Horcoff Dilemma.

  • Lowetide

    Pabst: Reddox and his role on the Oilers isn’t about flash. It’s about hauling ass back when you’re out of position, or more to the point, not being in that position.

    Reddox is a solid option for that role at this point.

    • 9 Inches Uncut

      Sorry, have to disagree…just re-watched the Oil Change documentary and KLowe makes the point during that documentary that bottom six guys need to have some size and jam…

      Reddox does not have the size or the required jam to make a solid contribution in the as a bottom six in the NHL and he sure isn’t going to play top 6…if he does IMO the Oilers will have gone backwards in becoming a better team.

      As for RW possibilities, Paajarvi said he can play either wing.

      • Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach

        I don’t get it. If he can be an effective PK guy and not hurt the time while playing a regular shift does it really matter that he doesn’t have size?

        Not saying Reddox is the answer, but if he comes into camp and is one of the better PK men I don’t see the issue with giving him a shot.

        • 9 Inches Uncut

          If this team truly has to have Liam Reddox here to kill penalties then we have bigger problems than we thought..

          Myself I’d like to see a whole shift in philosophy on the PK and see more of our high end skill guys spend time killing penalties just like top teams in the league do.

          IMO this team needs some grit, size and a bit of mean in our bottom six, Reddox isn’t going to provide any of that.

          He’s a good AHLer for the farm club.

        • 9 Inches Uncut

          Maybe I shouldn’t have added that part…just wanted to emphasize that thinking of some of the brass…

          I’m of the opinion the bottom six needs more grit, size and toughness…we have to start being able to protect our top six guys and we can’t do it with a whole slew of guys like Liam Reddox.

  • Lowetide

    Adam D: I’ve never understood that rationale. Toby Petersen, Liam Reddox, they were used in specific roles because they are needed.

    The coaching staff may well talk about “3 scoring lines” at the beginning of camp, but a few -4’s for the newbies will straighten out that kind of thinking.

    Reddox has pro experience and on this roster that stands out.

    • OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F

      “I’ve never understood that rationale. Toby Petersen, Liam Reddox, they were used in specific roles because they are needed.”

      Those oiler teams, which ‘needed’ Toby Petersen and Liam Reddox, were awful!.. horribly imbalanced and lacked decent options to fill the alluded to role..

      To say that the oilers once again need Reddox leads me to think that the state of the team, in regards to PK and bottom six options, is just as dire..

      I like reddox just fine, thought he did well with the time on ice received and put up decent numbers to boot, but the classic argument ‘would he make any of the other 29 teams’ highlights an organizational failure of hiring NHL quality help for the bottom six and PK…

      But hey, at least Smac and JFJ are under contract…

      • OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F

        Well Toby Petersen played for a pretty solid Dallas team, he also played the point on the PP in the conference finals.

        Chicago/Pits/Boston/SJ/Flyers will likely also have a Reddox or two on their regular roster and they will all be solid as well

  • Ducey

    I never understood the hate for Peterson or Reddox either.

    Reddox got 82 pts in his second year of junior in 68 G. He also got 44pts in 65 G in the AHL in 07/08.

    He has some skills.

  • Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach

    I really don’t understand why signing Reddox is such a big deal. If he doesn’t make the NHL team he will be needed in the AHL. If we lose him on waivers, oh well.

  • Skidplate

    Darkhorse Reddox needs to develop a scoring touch this season or his hopes of staying look rather slim . It might happen , as he is only 23 , and their is more offensive talent on club in form of emerging rookies . His enthusiasm is infectious , and his defence should continue to get better as well . Size is his drawback .

  • Lowetide

    Dominoiler: Reddox is older and more experienced, but I do agree that if the Oilers were serious about contending ST would have signed a more established option.

  • Lowetide

    Thanks for the rebuttals..

    I see the merit for Reddox filling a needed role for this team, as there are almost no other suitors for the Pk work, and for cheap help to provide quality minutes..

    I am just disappointed that in order to add Pk help, the team needs to draw from outside the top 12-14 forwards.. of course that is subjective opinion, combined with too many soft minute forwards and dead weight (Smac/JFJ) being penciled in ahead of him…

    Ideally, a flush of JFJ for a larger reddox type would have improved matters.. but like you point out LT, who is talking about the oil contending (or even competing) next year?!

  • No Sarcasm, those were both good points to consider..

    Not only was reddox in over is head, previous games/season played up in the bigs, but he was young.. now at least he is more mature and developed as a player (and still just as cheap)..

    That being said, despair for sure.. because guys like reddox should only make the big club if they are beating out other (established, one would hope) options/players.. right now, reddox is being given (at least in this theoretical forum) a shining opportunity to step up the depth chart because the org hasnt taken measures to acquire legitimate NHL options (bottom six PKers)..

    ‘being the best option doesnt mean much when you are the only option’.. that is the crux of my argument for why reddox in the opening night line-up is a bad bad indicator…

  • If there are legitimate NHL options/players invited to camp and he beats them out, then that is different… I welcome any training camp surprise ‘step-up’ from under rated players, so long as they are beating out competition resembling NHL quality… (this goes for forwards too!)

  • MARKET CHANGES now favoring rookies over free agents , etc .? The hockey factory is growing by leaps as more ready players at younger ages flood the marketplace . Free agents flock to contending teams , while low contending teams are paying too much for them just to get them to play there.

    Oilers, and others, are starting to realize their money is better off spent going with the new rookies than overpriced free agents . This trend will probably continue as younger players keep coming on already NHL ready .

    Once the contending teams take all the good ones in free agency , the rest are finding it more advantageous and cap wise to go with youth . Not all , but most are finding it is very beneficial to do so . Will the new CBA address the concern that Free Agents prefer not to sign with non contending clubs ? More and more non contending clubs are facing same problems Oilers have in going after free agents .

    Do i feel sorry for all the glut of free agents having such a difficult time finding work ? Not at all , it’s about time for that market adjustment . Are they losing out to youth ? Absolutely . The youth pool is vibrant and getting better almost every year depthwise and skillwise .

    Here’s to the Oilers youth movement . GO YOUNG OILERS GO !!

    • Quite a summation, imo. I think you’ve hit something I’ve never considered before. So I’m going to run with the off topic topic.

      Free agency seemed somehow sketchy to me when it all started, and honestly I somehow lost respect for Paul Coffey when he left, and so far it hasn’t exactly returned over time, like I thought it would.

      If there is some way to put the boots to the dudes who chase the money, then I’m all for it. Especially if it involves the new kids somehow. I bet a CBA could encourage such even more, though I have no idea how that could be written in.

      • Chris.

        At the heart of every good old fashioned rivalry is contempt or even downright hatred between the players.

        In this era, under the current CBA, players as young as twenty-five are moving from contact to contract, in organization after organization… and rivalries suffer.

        IMO, increased interdivisional play has done little to heat up the dying sence of rivalry and only leads to boredom. Did you know the Oilers will be playing the Flames on October first, then on the third, the seventh, and then the sixteenth, and AGAIN on the 26th! Five times in twenty-six days? Really? Aren’t there thirty differnt teams in the league?