This is Liam Reddox. He’s top of mind for Oilers fans currently because MacT chose him to replace Ales Hemsky on the top line when the “franchise” was unable to play in the bundle of games around the holiday season.
I’m not terribly surprised that the “saw him good” crowd is up in arms. Reddox looks like Opie and tonight he’ll be the slightest fellow in every corner of the rink (save the zebra’s). He looks 12. He is not the best LW on the team, not the obvious (veteran) option for the top line.
I am surprised at the math people in regard to Reddox. His arrows have been pointing in the right direction for over a year now (AHL last season and this, plus the NHL games this year) and on a team coached by a guy who constantly states “it’s also what you leave” Reddox moving up the depth chart cannot be a surprise.
So let’s run some math today and look at his resume. Why? Because if Liam Reddox is ahead of Rob Schremp now (and he is) then he’s going to be ahead of him two years from now. I think it’s time we started talking about Liam Reddox being the payoff in the 2004 Entry Draft.
In 2007-08, Reddox led the Falcons in EV points-per-game (.490, 11-14-25 in 51gp) and his +10 lapped the field among Springfield forwards who played in 35 or more games:
- Liam Reddox +10
- Stephane Goulet -3 (in half a season)
- Jonas Almtorp -5 (in half a season)
- Troy Bodie -7
- Marc Pouliot -11
- JF Jacques -13 (in half a season)
- Ben Simon
- Rob Schremp -15
- Slava Trukhno -16
- Colin McDonald -21
- Tim Sestito -25
In the summer I suggested Reddox was in a very good position to spend some time with the big club based on the summer moves, injuries to Jacques and others, plus his standing in the organization (he’d already moved past a few first rounders).
Come the fall and he’s in Springfield, scoring on the PP & PK and generally looking like a guy who might get the call again. It was not obvious he would be the first callup (item here) but they were looking for PK help (leaving Schremp out in the cold) and Gilbert Brule’s waiver eligibility questions (and the fact the organization wanted him to get his feet wet on the farm) meant Liam Reddox was the callup.
His TOI was predictable early on (first 3 games averaging 14.5 minutes and then dwindling) and on December 7th (when placing him at #6 on the prospect list) I wrote “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.” The plane tickets were never ordered, Reddox is still in Edmonton and moving up the depth chart.
A big part of the appeal for me in doing this blog is the comments section. As a group, we sort of reach a conclusion on things and at least in my mind it becomes the prevailing wisdom. I seldom find myself out of touch with the things stated in the comments section of this blog, or MC’s or what I understand of IOF’s comments section. It’s like a giant think tank. However, I did find myself running out of sync with some of the comments in the Reddox entry. Here are a few (without the names, that isn’t the point):
- 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.
- Undersized grinders aren’t in huge demand around the league.
- 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.
- Ideally, I’d like to see him fill that Curtis Glencross role.
- 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 like Liam Reddox as a player, but he’s a difficult prospect to get excited about.
- 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.
- 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.
The reason I feel we’re missing the mark is that we don’t know enough about him yet to say with authority what he can and cannot do and because of it we’re in danger of being completely wrong about his progression curve. Once a player (in this case Reddox) has the light bulb over his head go on (which it clearly did a year ago in Springfield) and begins to make sweeping advances in areas that had been weaknesses, then it is best to stand back and watch as opposed to making sweeping statements. I think we’ve missed the boat a little here, and that’s pretty much all of us.
Enter Jonathan. Buddy writes for Oilers Nation (a fine group of people I’ve badly let down) but some of his best work gets lost because of the sheer number of people who post there. An example is the watershed post that sits at Copper & Blue currently. In that post Jonathan identifies what I like to call the future Pisani’s, the guys who are playing the best of the other team, who are staying above the fray +/- and are delivering points too.
No one I know suggested Pisani would be Pisani when he entered pro, no one I know even suggested Pisani was Pisani when he arrived in the NHL. We began to talk about Pisani being Pisani when the Oilers sent away Daniel Cleary because Fernando ate his lunch and now we hold Pisani close as one of the things that we can count on as being a positive.
Had Jonathan posted this information in 2001 or 2002 on the Oilers AHL team I suspect we’d have been following Pisani more closely and that he would have been showing up on various top 20 lists (and for the record he was not).
So, Jonathan’s top 5 forwards in terms of opposition vaunt (Sestito, Reddox, Spurgeon, McDonald, Brule) require a closer look, and perhaps a bump in the estimation of the collective based on the Copper & Blue math.
Reddox has seen his Corsi improve (-12.4) and as he settles in against major league pitching his EV/60 point production (1.38) improves to the point where he can no longer (stolen from baseball’s Mendoza line) see the “Stortini” line. Plus a pretty smart guy looked at his roster and decided that when considering what you do and what you leave that Liam Reddox was the best available option (all things considered).
That is as telling in its own way as Jonathan’s number. We’d do well to remember it and perhaps be less surprised the next time Liam Reddox moves up the depth chart.