LADDY SMID: GET THE INK DONE

Robin Brownlee
March 22 2013 05:51PM

Anybody who has watched Ladislav Smid play for the Edmonton Oilers for more than five minutes or so knows exactly what he is: a physically robust stay-at-home defenseman who will block shots and take the body and won't contribute much in the way of offense.

We know what Smid is. The question the Oilers have to come up with an answer to, preferably before the 27-year-old hits unrestricted free agency during an off-season in which the UFA blue line crop is less than inspiring, is what is Smid worth on a new contract?

While that number is up to debate, what isn't is that whatever figure you arrive at before free agency kicks in is going to go up, perhaps considerably, should the Oilers drag their feet and let Smid hit the open market.

I'm not saying empty the vault for Smid – that usually doesn't and shouldn't happen with defensemen who don’t put up big numbers – but I'd certainly urge GM Steve Tambellini and president of hockey operations Kevin Lowe to get the ink done on Smid, who is playing for $2.25 million this season, before anybody else gets a crack at him.

WHAT'S THE NUMBER?

I don't know what line in the sand agent Steve Kotlowitz has drawn regarding salary and term with Tambellini, or how much exactly that line will move in outright UFA status, but my best guess is he's looking at settling for something between $3.5 million and $4 million a season for Smid.

I don't see Smid being worth $4 million a season, at least not to the Oilers. If I was in the GM's chair, I'd be looking to make a deal by offering Smid a four-year contract, taking him to age 31, at $3.25 a season, or $13 million over the term.

While Kotlowitz and Smid might find that a bit tight (or a lot tight) -- the sides could easily split the difference and eventually settle on four years at $14 million -- I would not feel compelled to go beyond that, if I was Tambellini.

I like Smid because you know exactly what you’re going to get with him and from him – 20 minutes of honest effort a night, a competitive streak and an edge to his game. There is consistency and a measure of continuity with Smid, who is now the fourth-longest serving Oiler behind Ryan Smyth, Shawn Horcoff and Ales Hemsky.

Smid's respected and liked in the dressing room. He's a good teammate. He wants to stay in Edmonton and he's young enough to be a piece of the puzzle moving forward. All that would compel me to get the ink done and avoid a price hike on the open market.

Just not at stupid money.

Listen to Robin Brownlee Wednesdays and Thursdays from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. on the Jason Gregor Show on TEAM 1260.

Aceb4a1816f5fa09879a023b07d1a9b4
A sports writer since 1983, including stints at The Edmonton Journal and The Sun 1989-2007, I happily co-host the Jason Gregor Show on TSN 1260 twice a week and write when so inclined. Have the best damn lawn on the internet. Most important, I am Sam's dad. Follow me on Twitter at Robin_Brownlee. Or don't.
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#51 Bonvie
March 23 2013, 04:30AM
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DSF wrote:

Some comparables:

Ryan Wilson - $2.25M

Matt Niskanen - $2.25M

Nikita Nikitin - $2.15M

Alexei Emelin - $2M

Anything over $2.5M will be an overpay.

You can increase that amount slightly for buying UFA years but not by much.

He's a #5D on a contending team.

Your out to lunch with the 5th D comment, not to mention all your compareables are near entry level contracts your comparing Peckham and Fistric type guys to Smid watch an Oilers game for a change.

Picking Cherries!!!

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#52 Bonvie
March 23 2013, 04:35AM
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DSF wrote:

There's a difference between what a smart GM and a dumb GM would pay on the open market.

There are scores of examples of mediocre players who were paid more than they are worth on the open market.

See Mike Komisarek for reference.

The worst contract to date was just signed this summer when Minnesota empties the vault on Suter apperantly they thought they were signing Crosby.

Can't wait to be talking about this albatross contract in about 5 years.

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#53 Bonvie
March 23 2013, 04:44AM
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Rocket wrote:

Anything over 3.25 is clearly an over payment.

I really like Smid but he is expendable. I'm not saying get rid of him but I hope management plays hardball. No more grovelling to players to play in Edmonton.

If he likes it in Edmonton, he will take a hometown discount. If not, as DSF accurately pointed out, he's not that hard to replace.

Hopefully he signs with the Oilers Though.

After all, how many shot blockers do you want to get rid of? Did anyone watch last years playoffs? Blocked shots apparently wins championships.

How boring.

DSF accurately pointed out? Really!!! I have been watching for good D-men every year on the UFA, the few decent ones that make it to the summer without getting signed by their own team get contracts like Denis Wideman. There are no value contracts for a top 4 D like Smid. There are some good value out of 6-9 depth guys through UFA but we have lots of those already.

One last reminder the most important part about being a good Defenseman is playing DEFENSE!!!

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#54 Bonvie
March 23 2013, 05:01AM
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Raine wrote:

So you're saying Smid should be getting a 56% raise while the Salary cap decreases by 9%. Essentially a 65% raise next season for Smid on a contract he signed 2 years ago. His game really hasn't elevated to a whole new level the past couple years to warrant a 65% raise.

With the salary cap coming down and Smid's abilities improving at a marginal level than potentially a 20% raise is fair which brings Smid to 2.7 million. However, given he is going to UFA status than one could argue 30%.

In any case, anything over 3 million is an overpayment. This is a player who is seeing a lot of ice time because of the team he is playing for. Because he is playing 4/5 pairing on a very poor team doesn't make him a 4/5 pairing defenseman in this league. He's a 5/6 defenseman in my opinion and you can't over pay for those players.

Interesting how you classify him as a number 5 or 6 Defenseman based on.... points I would imagine.

Smid is a 27 year old D-man just entering his prime coming off three relatively consistent seasons. Partnered up usually with the call-up or the new guy on the team facing probably the toughest lines and usually doing okay, he is the main staple of the Oilers PK which is a fairly good unit.

I think the Oilers sign him for exactly what Brownlee suggested for 4 years at 14m. I would be extemely happy if it was only 12m over 4. I think entering UFA at 31 will give him perfect timing to earn a great contract providing he establishes himself through the next four years to be a Kevin Lowe like D-man who provides solid D to a winning team which I think he can.

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#55 CaptainLander
March 23 2013, 09:16AM
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DSF wrote:

There's a difference between what a smart GM and a dumb GM would pay on the open market.

There are scores of examples of mediocre players who were paid more than they are worth on the open market.

See Mike Komisarek for reference.

A few days ago you were praising Burke's genius, now he is dumb?

I imagine his is what having a conversation with DSF would be like.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TRUj8dma0oo&playnext=1&list=PL93369A80F9658EBE&feature=results_main

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#56 Jay
March 23 2013, 09:33AM
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Why is there always so much hate for DSF? Every post I read of his always seems to be logical and thought out and I usually tend to agree with him. As for smid, I say sign him to a contract that will be easy to move in 2 years when he becomes our 3rd pairing guy. If you can move him at 3.5 with 2 years left without taking a contract back, then do it. who knows maybe he'll have a career year and pot 5 goals again..... Also I'd like to point out to the "he's a defensive defenseman shot blocker crowd" that he is a career -40

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#57 Chet134
March 23 2013, 10:09AM
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Honestly, does it matter what they sign Smid too or length. 2016 will be the target year for this club to be competing for a Stanley Cup. A new arena will be built and all our young talent will be in there prime. Right now there is zero urgency or pressure on management to be successful. Our owner is making money, we are selling out games and we are competing for the playoffs. If it ends up to be a poor signing, management will blame it on the dynamics on the NHL ie tough to make trades, bringIng in UFAs etc. Edmonton is the organization of excuses of why they aren't winning. We all should praise management for doing nothing to make this club successful. When I see Montreal and Columbus ahead of us in the standing, heads should role. Come on 2016, we ll be rock stars by then

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#58 DSF
March 23 2013, 10:20AM
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Bonvie wrote:

Your out to lunch with the 5th D comment, not to mention all your compareables are near entry level contracts your comparing Peckham and Fistric type guys to Smid watch an Oilers game for a change.

Picking Cherries!!!

Find a contending team that you think would employ Ladi in a top 4 role.

I've already done Vancouver.

Here's Anaheim.

Beauchemin

Souray

Fowler

Sbisa

Lydman

Allen

I would think Ladi would be 4 at best in that lineup....more likely #5.

Now, take a look at Chicago, Los Angeles, STL, San Jose, Detroit and Minnesota.

Detroit might employ Ladi on their second pairing and Minnesota might place Ladi on their second pairing with Gilbert but the others...not so much.

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#59 DSF
March 23 2013, 10:55AM
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Bonvie wrote:

The worst contract to date was just signed this summer when Minnesota empties the vault on Suter apperantly they thought they were signing Crosby.

Can't wait to be talking about this albatross contract in about 5 years.

I'm not sure why you're insisting Suter will be a bad bet in 5 years.

There are numerous examples of stud defensemen playing at a very high level well into their 30's and Suter just turned 28 in January.(he's 1 year older than Smid)

As for his contract, in 5 years the cap will likely be in the range of $90M so his cap hit won't be an issue.

Cap projections here:

http://goo.gl/iPoEs

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#60 DSF
March 23 2013, 10:56AM
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CaptainLander wrote:

A few days ago you were praising Burke's genius, now he is dumb?

I imagine his is what having a conversation with DSF would be like.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TRUj8dma0oo&playnext=1&list=PL93369A80F9658EBE&feature=results_main

Every GM on the planet has signed a bad contract.

Some, have signed a LOT of bad contracts.

See Steve Tambellini for reference.

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#61 Czar
March 23 2013, 10:59AM
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@DSF

I think that Chicago,Minny,Pittsburgh and Boston would all put more value on Smid than you do. I also believe he'd be in the 2nd pairing in Anaheim with one of the kids. Vancouver could really use him because they'd finally have a dman with a pair.

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#62 Citizen David
March 23 2013, 11:02AM
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DSF wrote:

I'm not sure why you're insisting Suter will be a bad bet in 5 years.

There are numerous examples of stud defensemen playing at a very high level well into their 30's and Suter just turned 28 in January.(he's 1 year older than Smid)

As for his contract, in 5 years the cap will likely be in the range of $90M so his cap hit won't be an issue.

Cap projections here:

http://goo.gl/iPoEs

If the cap will be at 90 mil in 5 years then the oilers won't have any cap trouble. Thanks for the great news!

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#63 DSF
March 23 2013, 11:27AM
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Czar wrote:

I think that Chicago,Minny,Pittsburgh and Boston would all put more value on Smid than you do. I also believe he'd be in the 2nd pairing in Anaheim with one of the kids. Vancouver could really use him because they'd finally have a dman with a pair.

Chicago:

Keith

Seabrook

Hjalmarsson

Leddy

Oduya

Rozival

Bottom pairing at best unless you think Smid is superiror to Hjalmarsson.

Minnesota:

Suter

Brodin

Gilbert

Spurgeon

Stoner

Prosser

(Scandella on injury rehab in Houston)

Possibly #4

Pittsburgh:

Letang

Oorpik

Martin

Niskanen

Depres

Engelland

Not a chance

Boston:

Chara

Hamilton

Seidenberg

Ference

Boychuk

McQuaid

Actually, Boychuk might be a very good comparable for Smid.

Boychuk is signed for 3 years at $3.3M.

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#64 Serious Gord
March 23 2013, 12:04PM
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Dsf is making some pretty good arguments.

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#65 Rocket
March 23 2013, 12:09PM
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Bonvie wrote:

DSF accurately pointed out? Really!!! I have been watching for good D-men every year on the UFA, the few decent ones that make it to the summer without getting signed by their own team get contracts like Denis Wideman. There are no value contracts for a top 4 D like Smid. There are some good value out of 6-9 depth guys through UFA but we have lots of those already.

One last reminder the most important part about being a good Defenseman is playing DEFENSE!!!

Fair enough, playing good in his own end is the most important thing for a defenceman.

What I meant was that the Oilers should not overpay Smid. He obviously has value & I hope he signs in Edmonton but he's not completely irreplaceable.

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#66 nunyour
March 23 2013, 12:26PM
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If Whitney keeps improving like he is,he historically is a better d-man than both N.Schulz and Smid,the oilers can't pay them all 3-4 mil.

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#67 @Oilanderp
March 23 2013, 02:11PM
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As far as defencemen go, if I were GM I would sit down for a beer (or a dehydrated water - whatever atheletes drink these days) with DUBNYK.

I'd propose a scenario. I tell him that we are up by 1 goal with 1 minute left in the game and the faceoff is in our zone. To make matters worse we have to kill a 5 on 3 against.

The question I ask then is which d-men on the team does he (Dubnyk) want on the ice? I'm thinking he would say Smid's name first. Maybe he would maybe he wouldn't.

My point is that when it comes to playing defence, the most important thing is what your goaltender thinks of you. He's really the only one who knows what you're worth.

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#68 @Oilanderp
March 23 2013, 02:49PM
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It's relatively pointless to discuss where Smid would slot into the lineup on another team. What is important is that the Oilers will be a worse team if he is let walk.

EITHER:

1) Smid is easy to replace.

If this is true then we shouldn't worry. However, this would also mean that in being a common lowly #5 d-man, Smid won't fetch much of a price on the open market. In this case the Oilers could just as easily sign him for a good price instead of replacing him anyway.

OR 2) Smid isn't easy to replace.

This could be true if Smid is more than a #5, or if market conditions mean that there simply aren't very many d-men available. In this case Smid is going to cost more, but it is impossible for him to cost more than he is worth since if what he was asking for was too high he could simply be replaced by a player who was asking a reasonable price.

My point here is that the Oilers will be a worse team if Smid leaves. There is no replacement for him coming available. The choice here is either to pony up slightly above the usual price or simply become WORSE as a team.

I'm not comfortable with the Oilers actually become worse, so please sign this man whatever the cost. He can be traded in the years to come. He will always have value.

ADD to the D, not subtract! Do it now, not later.

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#69 Bonvie
March 23 2013, 02:49PM
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DSF wrote:

Chicago:

Keith

Seabrook

Hjalmarsson

Leddy

Oduya

Rozival

Bottom pairing at best unless you think Smid is superiror to Hjalmarsson.

Minnesota:

Suter

Brodin

Gilbert

Spurgeon

Stoner

Prosser

(Scandella on injury rehab in Houston)

Possibly #4

Pittsburgh:

Letang

Oorpik

Martin

Niskanen

Depres

Engelland

Not a chance

Boston:

Chara

Hamilton

Seidenberg

Ference

Boychuk

McQuaid

Actually, Boychuk might be a very good comparable for Smid.

Boychuk is signed for 3 years at $3.3M.

First off if you look at a d like Vancouver you can place him anywhere from 1 to 4 because their d is pretty even. In Minnesota did we not have Smid ahead of Gilbert probably #2 there. Same thing goes for Boston could easily be #2 with Chara.

Also making the argument that in Chicago because he is not better than their top four D and could not bump any of them, therefore he is not a top four D. This is the same as saying Tavares is not as good a centre as Crosby or Malkin so, Tavares is a third line centre.

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#70 @Oilanderp
March 23 2013, 02:54PM
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~Nevermind, now that we have gone through the years and years of growing pains and Smid has established himself... let's trade him.~

EDM would be the ONLY team in the league to let a 27 year old d-man walk as UFA.

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#71 Oilers07
March 24 2013, 04:30PM
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@Bonvie

Bonvie, you are an idiot, Smid is a top four on any team. If the Oilers don't sign him then they are as dumb as you. We don't need anymore draft picks, those don't work out so well. Smid competes every night hard more than you can say for Eberle or Schultz. We need more guys willing to sacrifice.

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