#6 Prospect 2008: Liam Reddox

Current Rank: #6
Summer Rank: #7

In the twelve months between June 2007 and June 2008, no Oiler prospect did more to advance his hockey career than Liam Reddox.

The numbers at the AHL level in 07-08 were solid any way you looked at them. 65gp, 16-28-44, +10. The +10 led the team and Reddox got a call to the show when Geoff Sanderson was hurt and Patrick Thoresen wasn’t pleasing the coaching staff.

Reddox was “in the mix” for the recall, but there were other options. One of the main reasons he went to the front of the class was Kelly Buchberger, who no doubt saw a little of himself in the gritty Reddox. Bucky told Jim Matheson “He’s our Ryan Smyth the way he works in practices and the games. I’ve been at the rink early and who walks in the door before eight, for a 10 o’clock practice? Liam– so he can start working out. He competes, plus he’s got skill, lots of skill. You know how Smytty drives to the net, burying that shoulder? Well, Liam does a lot of those little things, too. He’s made big strides in one year. I use him on the point on the power play and when we’re down five-on-three, he’s the forward I send out.”

Now, a word about hyperbole. If you could win with it, the Oilers would win the Stanley more often than they did in the 1980′s. Kevin Prendergast never met a prospect he didn’t like, and Buchberger appears to have some of the same issues in regard to framing specific issues. Calling Reddox “our Ryan Smyth” has special meaning for Oilers fans who enjoyed more than a decade of #94 not only going to hockey’s proverbial “Black hole of Calcutta” every night but further enjoyed his exceptional results. So, we need to measure the words and not get ahead of ourselves.

Which brings us to this season. I felt he’d get a full AHL schedule in with a recall for a game or two, but early in the season it was Reddox who got the call. Ahead of Rob Schremp, Ryan Potulny and Gilbert Brule. Were his numbers (12gp, 5-4-9 -1) superior? No. The Oilers recalled Reddox when Ladislav Smid went on the IR, wanting a gritty player to replace his edge and a forward who could help on the penalty kill.

Since arriving, Reddox scored a nice goal and looked good early on, but has since become less of a factor in each game. Here’s the list of TOI/shifts for Reddox, from game 1 through 10:

  1. 15:35/23 (goal)
  2. 12:27/20
  3. 15:30/24
  4. 7:56/13
  5. 6:43/10
  6. 4:21/10
  7. 4:17/8
  8. 7:13/9
  9. 4:33/8
  10. 9:37/15

Last night (injuries are piling up) aside, if we saw those numbers and didn’t know it was Reddox, we could reasonably guess that a trip to AAA would be the obvious next step. The question then is what comes after that? Reddox would appear to have a chance at future employment in the NHL despite what could be called “tweener skills” as we gain better focus on him as a player.

He’s a gritty player with an edge, but he’s also 5-10, 180 (Oilers site). When he goes into those traffic areas or is working for possession along the boards, Reddox is undersized and probably not the strongest man in the scrum. He has some good hands but his EV/60 (0.83) and the number of chances he’s getting speak to his dwindling ice time and his Corsi (-19.8, 3rd worst among forwards who’ve played 9 games or more and going the wrong way fast) suggests a trip to the farm to reload on confidence might be a plan.

Based on where he was selected and how far he’s gotten, Reddox is already a winner. Winning a regular NHL job over the long term is the next step on the ladder, and that’s a huge step. He doesn’t look ready yet, but being in the conversation is impressive.

One final note: Reddox represents the final player (at #6) whose positives are well clear of his negatives. It’s important to make note of that because in prospect evaluation one of the key elements is to recognize when a player either:

  • begins to take on water
  • fails to take that next step

So, as we move forward and discuss the prospects 7-20 it’s important to make a distinction: at some level, 1-6 are on track and moving forward with momentum. The prospects after Reddox are in a bit of trouble as prospects and although in some cases the warning signs are predictable (Chorney), the results are so poor we should be concerned about these prospects. That “line in the sand” would have started at #8 one year ago, so the depth of the prospect pool remains strong.

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34 Responses to "#6 Prospect 2008: Liam Reddox"

  1. doritogrande says:

    Kid’s got bottom-sixer written all over him, and given our lack of development in that area the last couple years, I’m okay with that. Reddox is an interesting player to gauge in that he’s completely rebuilt his game from junior hockey. Dude was a pure scorer back in Peterborough and now he’s the consummate grinder. Maybe someone like Ryan O’Marra should take this approach and become Joe Thornton.

    Clearly the most NHL-ready prospect.

  2. B.C.B. says:

    I haven't watched all of Reddox's games, but he hasn't impressed me at even strength. He is showing flashes of goodness on the PK. I would hope that he models his game after Marty Reasoner (even though his passing skills are not naturally as good, to my eye).

    I think, to improve his EV game, he will need to be shuffled between the AHL and the NHL this season: to make sure he gets some playing time (> 10min/game). In the AAA he could work on his fielding and a bit on his hitting: I don't think he has mastered AAA pitching so far and could use a little more work, but it is the fielding that will keep in the big league not his ability to hit it out of the park. Sorry for the baseball analogy.

  3. Lowetide says:

    BCB: NEVER, EVER feel a need to apologize for referencing baseball. :-)

  4. Black Dog says:

    Cue the Warren Cromartie stories. ;)

    The area where this kid really may carve out a niche is on the PK and that may save his bacon at least until Pisani returns. My main concern is that the organization may look at him like they did Thoresen and cut him loose if he doesn’t bring a little more offence.

    Thoresen was a useful player (yeah I’m still not over that although I understand it) – hopefully Reddox can be the same.

  5. jon k says:

    I think it’s borderline negligent, even as fans, to suggest Reddox is the last prospect where the positives clearly outweigh the negatives when Petry still remains.

  6. Lowetide says:

    jon k: He has negatives, he just does. I had him at #4 but badly misread the plus minus. As it stands now Petry is -11 and sinking quickly, Chorney is -9 and not getting better and Wild is playing well but (along with Bisaillon) is a HS scratch enough for us to wonder.

    ALL of the players from here on out have significant negatives. Have a look. It’s true.

  7. Lord Bob says:

    Yes, the plus/minus numbers are bad down in Springfield, but that and a buck will get you a can of Coke.

    Frankly, the trouble with evaluating AHLers by the numbers is that we don’t have the useful numbers to evaluate them with. I’d have all of the defensemen ahead of Reddox, whose picture is actually in the new edition of the Oxford English Dictionary next to the word “tweener”.

  8. doritogrande says:

    Lord Bob:

    Respectfully disagree. The patron saint of Tweeners is one JF Jacques.

    I would have supported putting Liam ahead of all the defensemen though, as like the others, Plante’s observed weaknesses outweigh his positives to me. But there aren’t a lot of prospects that come out okay on that equation (Riley Nash for example, got bumsexed this weekend in the faceoff dot).

    But it’s your list, not mine so I won’t pile on. Can’t wait to see where VandeVelde winds up.

  9. Jfry says:

    all this petry love really blows my mind. it has for a couple of years. if he’s really that good shouldn’t he be putting up comrie in the whl type numbers, where you dominate younger players? i’ve never seen proof of that in his game and i’m so happy you rated plante higher, lt

  10. doritogrande says:


    Petry is:

    b)A defenseman
    c)21 years old

    Try again.

  11. Traktor says:

    I would bet a large amount of money that 30/30 GM’s would take Petry over Reddox.

    I think maybe too much weight is being put in the +- if it’s the difference between #4 and #8.

    I think Reddox is a lock to be an NHL player but I don’t see the upside that would warrant him such a high place on the prospect scale. Undersized grinders aren’t in huge demand around the league.

  12. Asiaoil says:

    I had a bunch of people questioning my sanity when I said I was not much impressed with our so-called young defensive depth although I think Plante is a player and it’s nice to see him have a healthy season. Still think we will be lucky if one of these NCAA guys ends up a regular on our NHL roster but I like Petry best of the lot. Petry is at the point where we stole Gilbert from COL – similar kind of player as well – so the kid would be fine in the NCAA for another couple years. Wild does zero for me and Chorney isn’t really big enough or strong enough to play the kind of game he’s most suited for at the pro level. Color me skeptical about the lot of them though.

    Reddox – big yawn – I’m sure he’s a good kid but guys like him a dime a dozen in the AHL. But I’m sure that coaching genius Buchburger loves him.

  13. B.C.B. says:

    Traktor: I thought this list was about how the Oiler’s prospects are doing and how they related to each other, rather then a list of who would be more desirable on the trade market (why do you go to your blog and write that list, then we can compare it to Lowetide’s analysis and updates on the Oiler’s system).

    I have watch only one of Petry’s game this year (this weekend vs. Mich) and I thought he was often sloppy in his defensive end (not getting the puck out: either by chipping it of the glass or a smart short pass, but rather he was looking for the two line breakout and dumping it past his wingers to the other teams defenseman), and self-focused in the offensive end. I only liked his heart/anger at losing.

    As for Reddox he maybe a regular NHL player someday, but I don’t think he is a lock. He needs the next year (or two) to build up some more muscle, and as I said work on his fielding in the AAA. I wish Springfield would use a checking line, so we could put Reddox on it, during his time the AHL, to better improve his defensive play against the best the AHL has to offer. I think that would be helpful to his career.

  14. Kris says:

    I love the ratings LT. They -unlike God- give this Sunday a meaning.

    But I think you might want to try something like they do at hockey’s future: one rating for how good a player a prospect could become in a possible world, and another rating for his probability of doing so.

    I mean, you’re already doing this in your written explanations, but I think if you make it more explicit with some number or letter grade system it would help.

    That is, if you use a number to indicate that Reddox has less high end potential than Chorney/Petry, but a much higher chance of playing in the NHL regularly, then you wouldn’t get so much unwarranted flak.

    The numbers or letter grades needn’t be precise; they’d just be a rough guide to insure people get what your rating means for the player.

    Just a suggestion. Hope it helps.

  15. Kris says:

    Is it me or are defensive AHL guys like Reddox and offensive college defenseman similar sorts of prospects; both tend to bloom late and both have a fairly low chance of playing in the show at all.

  16. Lowetide says:

    Kris: I think the numbers would be too arbitrary. As dorito indicated in the first post in this thread Reddox himself was a goal-scorer in junior and his number would look silly today.

    I have toyed with the idea of a ratings sytem but it’s much different than HF’s.

    If you’re interested, it’s here.


  17. jon k says:

    Jfry: Your statement is all kinds of wrong. You’re comparing a one-dimensional CHL junior forward to a two-way college defenseman.

    In regards to Petry, yes there are negatives, however I think that bias is playing a fairly significant role in over emphasizing them while completely disregarding positives.

    Of the 25 players listed on the team roster, 11 are freshmen this year.

    His stats are arguably no worse than some of our previous college prospects who’ve been highly touted over the years, and when viewing the totality of circumstances, a case can be made this is a player being “talked down” by the stats.

    2007-2008 Age 20
    18.6% of 129 goals
    Team +49 Player +8
    Third scoringest D

    2006-2007 Age 19
    20.2% of 153 goals
    Team +37 Player +2
    Second scoringest D

    2005-2006 Age 18
    11.0% of 164 goals
    Team +55 Player +21
    Third scoringest D


    2007-2008 Age 20
    24.1% of 91 goals
    Team -8 Player +6
    Second scoringest D

    2006-2007 Age 19
    18.4% of 76 goals
    Team -32 Player -11

    2005-2006 Age 18
    20.0% of 105 goals
    Team +11 Player +5

    2008-2009 Age 20/21
    24.1% of 29 goals
    Team -23 Player -11

    2007-2008 Age 19/20
    17.8% of 135 goals
    Team +37 Player +2
    Second scoringest D

    Things that can be gleaned from this?

    - I really don’t feel like studying.
    - Wild had an impressive 20 year old season.
    - Petry’s season statistically is not what we would want to see as prospect fans, but it’s not terrible when considering the circumstances as a whole (rebuilding team, lack of offensive support).
    - And my personal favorite: Chorney has been chronically overrated by the organization and fans. Despite being labeled a skating defenseman he doesn’t have world-beating footspeed. He’s prone to terrible defensive braincramps and turnovers, which I think was nicely displayed at his final WJC where he was the goat on the GWG for Canada I believe. And quite frankly, his offense is not spectacular. He’s never really been close to leading his team from the backend for an offensive powerhouse of a team and as the team trended toward a rebuild at the end of his college career, both his contribution to offense and his +/- suffered, presumably as his responsibilities increased as a Junior.

    Alternatively, we know these things in regards to Petry.
    - Overage draftee.
    - Late getting to college by 1.5 years at least.
    - However, by all reports, he’s had far more responsibility as a defender than is usual for a college freshmen and then sophomore. We’ve had individuals and reports that he’s been playing upwards of 25+ minutes per game.
    - Has more size than Chorney or Wild, plays a significantly more physical game.
    - 19/20 year old season on par, at the very least, with Chorney and Wild.

    While Chorney was reasonably ranked in the 4-6 range most seasons, I think it’s pretty indicative of bias when Petry is going to be at least 7 (likely higher since I presume Chorney or Wild was going to be ranked before him) and behind the likes of Reddox.

    Call me crazy, but I’d rather have a Brad Stuart on the blue line rather than a John-Michael Liles.

  18. jon k says:

    And just to clarify, I’m not try to criticize your work LT. I’ve enjoyed this blog on a daily basis since day one.

    I just feel the need to get a word in on a perceived slight to a prospect who I think is interesting.

    It worked out reasonably well last time with Nilsson. ;)

  19. Asiaoil says:

    Kris….no it’s just that guys who project as bottom 6 or offensive dmen with flaws are taken later in the draft. In the second round it already less than 50/50 that you get a guy who plays 100 pro games – and the odds get way longer after that. Developing guys like Horcoff, Pisani, Bodziak and Gilbert from that far back in the draft is a sign that somebody knows what they’re doing in the procurement department.

  20. raventalon40 says:

    If Liam Reddox becomes anywhere as useful as a Toby Petersen or a Todd Harvey, he already has a roster spot on this team. Ideally, I’d like to see him fill that Curtis Glencross role.

  21. doritogrande says:

    Well, it took 21 posts, but someone finally tried to plug Reddox into the GlenX role. He has neither the size nor the skating for that.

    I do like your comparison to Toby Petersen though. But if Reddox ever plays defense for this team, fire MacT.

  22. Jonathan says:

    I hate to do this, but I completely agree with Traktor. I like Liam Reddox as a player, but he’s a difficult prospect to get excited about – as much as Buchberger likes him.

    He may be a third-liner someday, or he may end up as a tweener, and if I had to bet, I’d go with the latter. I’d certainly put Brule, Petry and Dubnyk ahead of him.

    As always though, I love the write-ups and this is one of my favourite features on your blog.

  23. Lord Bob says:

    He may be a third-liner someday, or he may end up as a tweener, and if I had to bet, I’d go with the latter. I’d certainly put Brule, Petry and Dubnyk ahead of him.

    I suspect Brule doesn’t count.

  24. Lowetide says:

    Just to clarify, the following farmhands-young guns are not under consideration:

    Gilbert Brule
    Ryan Potulny
    JF Jacques

  25. Scott says:

    Brule is well beyond the number of games that LT considers the cut-off for prospects.

    I am definitely surprised that Reddox is ranked higher than Omark in this segment of the rankings. I figured Omark might drop below some of the defencemen and the goalies since that’s like comparing apples and oranges to a certain degree, but lower than Reddox is surprising. Reddox isn’t exactly a big guy either and I would consider the SEL a pretty good league where Omark is working on a PPG this year. I know you mentioned size and speed as issues LT, but moreso than they are for someone like Eberle? Or Schremp?

  26. Scott says:

    Is Deslauriers still in the running LT? I imagine he is, but figured that I’d double check.

  27. Lowetide says:

    Scott: Omark offensively grades out very well (his Desjardins NHLE is impressive) but he’s small, really small (under 170 pounds, that’s Bobby Sheehan territory). He was #16 and he moves up but that’s all I’m saying.

    Deslauriers does qualify.

  28. Jonathan says:

    Good to hear about Omark. Somehow I neglected to include him in the list of guys I’d move above Reddox.

    Deslauriers too, come to think of it. But I’m going to be quiet now, out of fear that LT might take it out on my favorite long-shot prospect.

  29. raventalon40 says:

    Why not? Glencross had an energy role and it’s not like he shot out the lights when he was on the Oilers, the way he is doing with the Flames. It’s not hard to fill the Glencross role on this team — it’s just hard to do it effectively.

  30. doritogrande says:


    If we wanted a guy that brings the energy role in a way that Glencross did, the team would have picked Brule. Reddox hasn’t really brought a physical game. He’s more of the Pisani type, which is great and all because we’re short a Pisani.

  31. Kris says:

    Dorito said,

    “Kid’s got bottom-sixer written all over him”

    But he meant to say

    “Kid’s got sixth-grader written all over him”

  32. Dennis says:

    Bumsexed and cans of Coke?

    Sounds like the 80′s;)

    Seriously, always love your lists LT and I believe in numbers as the way to rate players so I don’t quibble all that much with your ratings.

    But in an effort to educate young Traktor on what constitutes as Pendergasting – just a couple of days ago Traktor said he wasn’t aware of Pendergast telling lies – you should’ve broken out a couple of more beauty KP quotes.

    I would suggest his Mihknov/Samsonov comparison as a good starter though I’m sure you’ll find other gems.

  33. Traktor says:

    “I would suggest his Mihknov/Samsonov comparison as a good starter though I’m sure you’ll find other gems.”

    He actually said “he looks a little like Mario Lemieux”.

    I remember all the quotes.

    Comped Omark to Cogliano

    Comped Grebeshkov to Gilbert

    Said Hejda is a guy who could play in the top 4

    Sure he said that he envisioned Pouliot is a future #1 C. I’m sure they believed it when they drafted him. As we all know injuries play a major factor in development and Pouliot had multiple major injuries.

    For the most part I think KP tells you what he believes. Unless it’s damage control cleanup there’s no point in telling a bunch of lies because they will just catch up to you.

    You only have to look at the 3 goalie situation and it becomes 100% obvious that Edmonton BELIEVED that JDD was one of the best goalies in the AHL – if they didn’t believe then they never would’ve went in the season with 3 goalies and screwed Garon in the process.

  34. Master Lok says:

    screwed Garon in the process

    Oh so that’s the bumsex reference.

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