Liam Reddox had a pretty good season relative to expectations (he played in more than 40 NHL games), but the news of him signing in Sweden really isn't a big deal because a good season for Liam Reddox still isn't a very good season. Although Reddox wasn't much worse than the team average when it comes to scoring chances, it's important to keep in mind which team he played on: the worst one. In terms of Corsi differential per sixty minutes, Reddox was in the middle of the pack, behind eight Oiler forwards and ahead of seven others. But once again, the makeup of the pack is pretty important: Zack Stortini, Jean-Francois Jacques, Colin Fraser, Gilbert Brule, Ryan Jones, Ryan O'Marra, and Steve MacIntyre. If you're better than those guys you haven't proven much as far as NHL ability goes. Liam Reddox passed through waivers to start the year for a reason (he's not very good), but that doesn't mean that he didn't have some value to the organization.
With Reddox gone, I've heard some talk about the Oilers needing to replace what he brought on the Oilers' fourth line, and in one sense I agree. I do, after all, think that the Oilers should try to replace Reddox, and I would also like to see them improve their fourth line. It's just that I think that those really ought to be two different transactions.
To start the year, Reddox was the team's 15th or 16th forward, which is the perfect slot for a man of his skill level - that he was better than many of the guys slotted 10th-14th is an indictment of the guys slotted 10th-14th rather than an argument in favor of Reddox as an NHL player - and contract status. Reddox, you see, was in the "sweet spot" for an AHL player, a quality veteran who hasn't played quite enough games to count as a "veteran" by the AHL's rules. But partially because of injuries and partially because of the weak NHL roster, Reddox played too much in the NHL this season, which put the Oilers in a bit of a pickle come the off-season. Reddox isn't in that sweet spot anymore regardless, but even if the Oilers ignored that and wanted to keep him, a qualifying offer could have easily led to Reddox in arbitration, which would have easily seen Reddox on a one-way deal small enough that the Oilers couldn't walk away from it (as happened with Tim Kennedy and Jannik Hansen last off-season). The Oilers likely weren't interested in Reddox on a one-way deal (I don't blame then), and probably said as much, which led to yesterday's news about Sweden. All in all, a good call for the Oilers.
Not so much for the Barons. The only "sweet spot" candidates in-house are either too good for the AHL (Linus Omark) or not as good as Reddox (Ryan O'Marra; Matt Marquardt), and the player type isn't exactly easy to find in free agency since most of the best ones are restricted free agents that teams would like to keep around. So Liam Reddox will be missed... in Oklahoma.
Projection: Liam Reddox does a fine job in the SEL, and Ryan O'Marra takes over his spot as not-so-veteran veteran but is further down the depth chart than Reddox was for a call-up; OKC misses the redhead.