SUN Hockey Pool

Oilers' Reddox takes it hard

DEREK VAN DIEST, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 8:46 PM ET

Liam Reddox had his sticks in one hand, his bag in the other and his lower lip precariously close to the ground.

On Monday, Reddox was one of eight players cut by the Edmonton Oilers as they whittled their roster down heading towards the season opener against the Calgary Flames on Thursday.

Reddox, 24, had a good camp and was a strong candidate to earn one of the final roster spots up front for the Oilers. However, when it came down to filling the bottom two lines, he was beat out by the bigger Ryan Jones.

“They told me they were looking for more size and strength in the bottom six and unfortunately, I’m not blessed with that size,” said the five-foot-11, 178-pound Reddox. “I thought I had a good camp, I felt great throughout camp, and I felt like I did enough to stick around at least until opening night.

“But I’ll just have to go down to Oklahoma City, continue to work hard, and hopefully get myself back up here.”

Reddox was one of the first players to receive the bad news, as those let go were summoned down to the Edmonton Oilers dressing room to meet with the coaching staff.

Also getting the morning phone call were defencemen Shawn Belle, Richard Petiot, left winger Alexandre Giroux, right winger Ben Ondrus, centre Ryan O’Marra, centre Chris Vande Velde and winger Linus Omark.

All of those cut, with the exception of Vande Velde and Omark, who are still on entry-level contracts, have to clear waivers in order to head down to the Oilers AHL affiliate in Oklahoma City.

“All the cuts were tough to make, nobody is exclusive to that,” said Oilers head coach Tom Renney.

“Liam had come in and done exactly what Liam does. He’s a smart player that plays hard, he can skate, he can do all those things that you look for in a player. At the end of the day, things didn’t quite work out for him today.

“But I think that all of these people need to realize that this is still the front end of a work in progress. It doesn’t let anybody off the hook, myself, especially.

“We had to make some tough decisions today and we did that. But what they have to remember is that this will be a body of work over time that I think they should want to be a part of because this is a pretty exceptional organization in my mind with a great landscape.”

Earlier in training camp Renney stated Reddox was a player every team in the NHL needed.

The native of Whitby, Ont., regressed somewhat last season after making a similar impression on Craig MacTavish and his coaching staff two years ago.

This season, Reddox came into camp determined on getting back to what was successful for him and for the most part did that, despite collecting just one assist in three games.

“I will say that we need to play with more size and grit and jam in our lineup in general,” said Renney. “Liam plays with all of that. What he doesn’t have necessarily is the size, but he has the effort and the gumption.

“Ryan Jones is a little bigger and he brings what I think we need in that part of our lineup in order to help, to a degree at least, protect what should be a young team this season.”

derek.vandiest@sunmedia.ca


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