After sending Shawn Belle and Ryan O'Marra to the minors after Saturday's one-sided (if not lopsided) loss to the Calgary Flames, the Oilers had some space on the roster, which they decided to fill today with the recall of both Linus Omark and Liam Reddox. I was at the game, so I can assure you that both demotions were well-earned, but only O'Marra's is particularly damning - in Belle's case, defenseman Jim Vandermeer is ready to return from injury so a demotion was virtually assured, but O'Marra is being demoted despite Jordan Eberle's somewhat serious-looking injury (he'll have an MRI on the injured ankle). That's a real kick in the pants.
The new men in town are a virtual lock to be better than exactly half of the players they're replacing. Ryan O'Marra looked okay to some folks in his brief time in Edmonton, but there's something truly appalling about a Corsi rating significantly worse than Steve MacIntyre's, and his three shots in nine games is downright Jacquesian. I'm confident that both of the men on their way will be better.
But the other man being replaced is Jordan Eberle, and there's just no chance at all that either of these two will be getting results as good as the Conquistador of Clutch. Eberle has looked good by eye, and the numbers aren't raising any objections. Eberle is fourth in both team scoring and in the rookie scoring race, and he's not doing it with crazy percentages either. Normally rookies aren't too tough to replace, but the Oilers were blessed with a rookie who could really play the game.
As for the call-ups, I'm convinced that the Oilers have picked the best two forwards on the farm. At my last update Reddox and Omark were the leaders in EV points, linemates on the one outscoring line OKC had, and facing decent competition to boot. For Reddox (assuming he gets a game in), it's the fourth consecutive year with at least one NHL game, and with a team as poor as this one, this may just be the year he establishes himself as a useful guy on the fourth line and PK. Dan Tencer mentioned that Reddox would need to clear waivers if sent back down, which is something that would work in his favour, but I'm pretty sure Tencer's interpretation of the rules is incorrect (I just hope his source isn't the Oilers if I'm right). From the CBA (PDF Warning):
Subject to the provisions of this Article, the rights to the services of a Player may be Loaned to a club of another league, upon fulfillment of the following conditions, except when elsewhere expressly prohibited:
(a) Regular Waivers were requested and cleared during the Playing Season Waiver Period; and
(b) the Player has not played in ten (10) or more NHL Games cumulative since Regular Waivers on him were last cleared, and more than thirty (30) days cumulative on an NHL roster have not passed since Regular Waivers on him were last cleared.
By my reading, that means Reddox won't need to clear waivers on the way down unless he plays in ten games or spends thirty days on the roster, unless he's considered an emergency call-up (there are a couple of injured forwards), in which case he can stay on the roster even longer (until the injured player is healed) and not require waivers on the way down.
Omark is an interesting case. He showed plenty of flash in his time here, but his line often got buried. A call-up again so soon after being demoted lets him know exactly where he stands: the tweener. Here's hoping he comes out motivated. Realistically, neither guy will be able to turn this team around, but it's always fun to watch guys who are fighting for their livelihoods - effort is never a problem. That said, their departure from OKC could sink the Barons a few spots in the standings and cost them the playoffs. Sorry, guys.