SUN Hockey Pool

Back to square one for Oilers' Reddox

DEREK VAN DIEST, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 7:41 PM ET

He proved to be versatile and dependable.

A player former head coach Craig MacTavish could look down the bench to and throw out on the ice in any situation.

With MacTavish gone, Liam Reddox now has to try and win over a new coaching staff to earn himself a place at an increasingly overcrowded table.

Its always been that way ever since Ive turned pro, Reddox said. Ive always had a new coach every year and Ive tried to work hard at being that reliable guy that they can count on and have confidence to put out on the ice.

Im just trying to play the game heady and do the right things.

Last season Reddox took on the role Marty Reasoner and Toby Peterson occupied in previous seasons. He became MacTavishs guy, a smart, hardworking player that could fill in a number of different roles.

Its the reason he stuck around for so long after getting called up from the minors.

He was probably a favourite because hes a Scot and so is Mac, joked Oilers new head coach Pat Quinn. No, you can see why he liked him. He competes, he can play, hes got a good brain about the game. Hes quick and he looks to be reliable and coaches love reliability. He looks to be the

kind of guy you trust with responsibility out there, so I could see why hed like him. Hes one of those guys that was ticked coming in here to give a look to.

Yesterday, Reddox got an opportunity to display his versatility filling in at centre from his usual left wing spot. Not in the lineup Tuesday as the Oilers took on the Calgary Flames in their first exhibition of the season, hes expected to play against the New York Islanders at Rexall

Place Wednesday.

Im just trying to play wherever they want me, Reddox said. I want to be the guy that can play left wing, right wing, centre. Wherever I have the best chance to make it, Ill play.

Originally selected by the Oilers in the fourth round 112 overall of the 2004 NHL Entry Draft, Reddox, 23, started last season in Springfield.

There, with the Oilers AHL affiliate, the native of Whitby, Ont., had nine points in 14 games before getting called up to the NHL.

He quickly earned the trust of the coaching staff and found himself playing a variety of different situations. He was even briefly used on the top line.

This summer he signed a two-way contract extension with the Oilers after flirting with the idea of going to play in Europe.

I was pretty positive I wasnt going to get a one-way deal, Reddox said.

I still have to pay my dues. Last year I had an opportunity with the injury to (Fernando) Pisani and stuff and I just tried to take advantage of it, so I really wasnt expecting a one way deal.

With the Oilers having 17 forwards fighting for 12 spots in the lineup, Reddox is going to have to beat out players with one-way deals in order to make the team.

Regardless, having suited up in 46 games last year, scoring five goals and adding seven assists he is coming into camp with a lot more confidence.

I wouldnt say I feel like an NHLer, though I feel a lot more confident and comfortable with the puck and I am trying to make more plays with the puck, Reddox said. I dont feel like a bonafied NHLer by any means, but I feel like I can contribute up here and bring something to the table, whether its starting up the season here or being that first call up.


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