Ladislav Smid: Never Safe

Jonathan Willis
June 16 2013 12:35PM

Oilers observers spent much of 2013 wondering whether Ladislav Smid was going to be re-signed by the club or moved on deadline day. With the signing of a long-term value contract – four years with an average annual value of $3.5 million – that speculation ceased. Despite that, it’s far from certain that Ladislav Smid will be a long-term member of the Edmonton Oilers.

Things To Remember

1. Ladislav Smid was signed by the previous administration.

2. Ladislav Smid does not have a no-trade clause.

3. Craig MacTavish has emphasized mobility, puck-movement and quick decision-making from his defence.

4. The Oilers have a pressing need to add a top-pairing defender.

Eric Brewer

Photo: Herkie/Wikimedia

The Oilers aren’t going to throw away a player like Smid – despite his warts moving the puck, he has a great deal of value as a defenceman. He’s big, tough, plays an honest physical game and defends rather well. He has at times been quite good in a top-four role – notably towards the end of 2011-12 when he and Jeff Petry held their own as a top pairing for a significant stretch.

But the Oilers didn’t throw away Eric Brewer, either. They traded him and some spare pieces to St. Louis in exchange for Chris Pronger when that elite defenceman became available. It was, without question, the strongest move of Kevin Lowe’s managerial career, and one that worked out rather well for the Oilers.

If Edmonton finds themselves in a situation where they can add a legitimate top-pairing guy, Smid makes a lot of sense as a potential trade candidate – because he’s a good defenceman on a value contract in the prime of his career whose skillset isn’t a perfect marriage to the espoused philosophy of the new general manager.

Expectation

None of this means that the Oilers are on the verge of trading Ladislav Smid, or even that Smid won’t spend the rest of his contract in Edmonton. He is a good player on a good contract; generally those are the kind of pieces a team likes to keep around. Additionally, it would make no sense to trade him except in a very specific scenario where the Oilers had the opportunity to trade a package built around Smid for a superior defenceman; they don’t have the defensive depth to move Smid out without replacing him at the same time or very, very shortly thereafter.

All it means is that Smid’s name should be written in pencil, rather than pen, on long-term projections.

Recently around the Nation Network

For those who missed it, the Vancouver Canucks stepped in and signed a player who would have been a perfect for the Oilers organization: undrafted European goaltender Joacim Eriksson.

Just based on their respective contract status, I'd guess that Lack still has the inside track to be Vancouver's backup next season, while Eriksson is most likely to star in the Penticton Young Stars Tournament before being shipped out to Utica for most of the year where he'll battle with Joe Cannata for starts. If the Canucks don't pursue a veteran goaltender to replace the likely-to-be-traded-at-long-last Roberto Luongo, I wouldn't be surprised if the training camp battle between Eriksson and Lack turned out to be a hotly contested one.

Click the link above to read the whole piece, or feel free check out some of my other pieces here:

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Jonathan Willis is a freelance writer. He currently works for Oilers Nation, Sportsnet, the Edmonton Journal and Bleacher Report. He's co-written three books and worked for myriad websites, including Grantland, ESPN, The Score, and Hockey Prospectus. He was previously the founder and managing editor of Copper & Blue.
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#51 Quicksilver ballet
June 16 2013, 08:37PM
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David S wrote:

No. Just no.

The days of development and "process" are over. MacT has a mandate to improve the team NOW.

Trading away a solid actual NHL'er for yet another long term potential solution may have been palatable a couple of years ago, but not anymore.

You guys really have to get over Infinibuild™.

Resistance is futile David, you will be assimilated.

I guess you know which side of the fence i'm on with this one. My frame of mind is there's really little else here (but the fab 5) that you could call, an integral part of the future going forward. I see it as, the rest of the players on this roster being nothing but support type players remaining, easily replaced come early July each year. A tinker here and a tweak there, these guys are for the most part, are easily replaced.

It's a different game today compared to 15 yrs ago. Teams are putting their monies into their top 10 players (top 7 forwards, top 3 D, and a goaltender). The rest of your roster you have to dictate to them what they're worth/willing to play for, if they choose to come play here. These guys (non fab 5 club members) are different/less important and turn over more rapidly than your top 10 players.

I'm clearly with Wes on this. Sell the farm to add to that top 10 group at almost any cost (outside of the Fabulous five). I propped your comment accidentaly, so your total should be minus one of your current number.

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#52 Walter Sobchak
June 16 2013, 08:38PM
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MKE wrote:

Wes i agree with you 100% on the smid/barkov thing. id taken it even a step farther. i believe as many as 8 people from the first round this year will step in and have a significant impact on their teams this year.

If trading Smid means we can get barkov...im all for it.

Well that makes two of us, I watched a lot of CHL hockey and this years draft Is good.

I honestly think the sleeper in the draft will be Horvat, as for any Oiler, I'll I have to say is nobody on this team should feel safe.

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#53 Quicksilver ballet
June 16 2013, 08:52PM
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EHH Team wrote:

Agreed.

There's your gimme, Ehh Team. You have a democraric right to be wrong too, that's your free one used up, you hoser.

Hard to believe David S has 9 relatives on this board. Must've used up some of his brownie points to have them all check in and prop his comment like that. Think there's some inbreeding going on there perhaps?

Oh and, Sell the Farm!!!!

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#54 OilLeak
June 16 2013, 09:37PM
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NewAgeSys wrote:

Reverse Full Stop--- All Steam Ahead.

I disagree Willis, I respectfully disagree.

I believe Taylor is still something of an unknown, I definately havent seen his dominating style translate to any line but the first line, the best player on any team can elevate any of all four lines to another level entirely.

Taylors point projections are as much a reflection of his linemates and the room they demand as anything else.

It is all about small degrees of excellence that we see the line elevate to when they are together.

Neither Hall nor Ebbs have really shown the ability to project themselves adequately from deeper in the lineup.

Players like Gagner have learned to do this and it is a sign of NHL maturity. MPS has learned this, Ryan Jones has shown he can project his game from all lines.

I believe that if we played Nuge on all four lines for 20 games each he would maintain or project his game to a more optimal and consistant degree than either Hall or Ebbs could at this point, Nuges game would likely be more defensively or positionally catalysed but that is fine from the systems perspective.

Show me a player who can score their way up from the 4th line into a top six role on the team and I will begin to consider these men as being well rounded enough and flexible enough to be considered the best on the team.

I am a huge Taylor Hall fan and he will be doing great things for us for a long time, but to be the best Player on the roster we have you need to be an elite line manager, Taylor has a ways to go in that dept. but is so far ahead in the physicality department that he is still an enigma at times. In the Optimal line managment dynamic Taylor could be in the top 5 NHL scorers, and as soon as we can deposit Ebbs or Nuge in that same spot we will have the level of 1st line managment we need. We have seen Hall get there, on the others backs and now we need to see him boost someone else up that high before we can call him the best man on the team, he is a good way there but has a good way to go.

I have a trade secret Willis, sorry, I cant expound on it here. Suffice to say that were I the GM we would see a blockbuster trade coming soon.

I stopped reading after the 3rd line. I knew,from that point,the rest of your argument didn't matter. Hall is currently the best player on the team, I could rifle of traditional stats, advanced stats or BS stats to prove it, but it wouldn't matter to you anyways. As Hall goes, so do the Oilers.

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#55 MKE
June 16 2013, 09:44PM
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Walter Sobchak wrote:

Well that makes two of us, I watched a lot of CHL hockey and this years draft Is good.

I honestly think the sleeper in the draft will be Horvat, as for any Oiler, I'll I have to say is nobody on this team should feel safe.

I agree Wes. I think this draft will be better then 2003. For me though Hall, Nuge, Ebs and Yak would be untouchable.

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#56 Taylor Gang
June 16 2013, 10:04PM
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OilLeak wrote:

I stopped reading after the 3rd line. I knew,from that point,the rest of your argument didn't matter. Hall is currently the best player on the team, I could rifle of traditional stats, advanced stats or BS stats to prove it, but it wouldn't matter to you anyways. As Hall goes, so do the Oilers.

This

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#57 etownman
June 16 2013, 10:10PM
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Eddie Shore wrote:

Trade Smid and then who takes his spot on the blueline? I'm curious who think is knocking on the door to replace him?

To be honest I would sign Fistric to take Smid's spot! Fistric is under appreciated in Oil Country & can do the things Smid does if given the opportunity! Better hitter & gets more respect on the ice than Smid does! If the Oil don't sign Fistric it's a big mistake in my opinion & Mark is going to make another team much better!

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#58 Count
June 17 2013, 01:45AM
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No ,I think u trade a prospect player not a NHL player like Smid

And barkov is going to Nash at 4 spot anyway.

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#59 Bonvie
June 17 2013, 03:10AM
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Walter Sobchak wrote:

You don't get out much do you?

Have you read JW NHLE for Barkov, have you taken the time to read his scouting report?

This kid will step in and completely make Gagner redundant.

Better in all zones already. This is not some long term prospect, this is a plug and play elite center much the same as RNH.

By the way RNH is his second year is already an upgrade on anything the Oilers have had since Wieght.

Furthjer more The Oilers have players that can already compete with Smid, Hanging onto a 3rd or 4th defensmen because you want to win now, is why Tambellini is no longer here!

You can call it an infinity build, but it's clearly not.

By the way, if the Oilers are moving out 12 players, what do you think the chances are there going to be good next year?

Perspective.

Prospect-still not a sure thing see past number 4 pick Jason Bonsignore

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#60 Rocket
June 17 2013, 03:17AM
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@Bonvie

I think Bonsignore might be the exception that proves the rule. #4 picks are usually solid.

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#61 madjam
June 17 2013, 06:34AM
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We need to fill holes , not create more with good personnel already in place . I doubt MacT. wants a bunch more draft choices at this stage .

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#62 madjam
June 17 2013, 06:50AM
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We probably only have 9 pieces of the puzzle in place :Dubbie , Hall , Eberle ,Hopkins , Gagner , Yakupov ,J.Schultz , Smid , Klefbom , J.Petry . Maybe this year we add 1-3 more if lucky . Do we really want to start ripping apart the pieces in place at this stage ? I doubt it .

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#63 keilan
June 17 2013, 12:38PM
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Taylor Gang wrote:

If you don't know his last name you have no right to criticise. He also scored 50 points in 45 games, which put him in 9th place in NHL scoring, second in the Western Conference to Patrick Kane. He also hits more than either of those two. A mean edge is not something that can be taught. Yakupov also played in the KHL after the lockout, which is better than the AHL is. You sir have no idea what you're talking about

Sounds like you have a boy-crush on Hall. You're a little over the top in your comments but from your handle it's probably expected.

How many teammates did Yak have the luxury of playing with in the KHL. What are you twelve?

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#64 keilan
June 17 2013, 12:52PM
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@Spydyr

Spider, try commenting on content. That way you won't appear like such a mamma's boy.

God forbid you ever misspell someone's name. Really that's such a big deal to you, how do you get through the day?

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#65 steelymac
June 17 2013, 01:15PM
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keilan wrote:

Best Oiler gets benched at worlds because after three years he isn't responsible with the puck. Is on his a$$ at least twice every 45 second shift.

Was out scored by an 18 yr old on his own team that didn't have the advantage of playing in Oklahoma during the lockout. Plus didn't received quality power-play that Hull did and had the great Gagner as his centre when he wasn't on the checking line.

Still allot of warts on Hull's game after 3 years, hoping he figures out what type of player he is going to be.

I have Hull rated behind both Nuge & Yak but time will tell.

Hope you didnt buy a jersey with the#4 Hull on it,not that you would look like a dork or anything.

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#66 Spydyr
June 17 2013, 01:18PM
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keilan wrote:

Spider, try commenting on content. That way you won't appear like such a mamma's boy.

God forbid you ever misspell someone's name. Really that's such a big deal to you, how do you get through the day?

Even though my name is a centimeter above the name you typed in. You still spelled it wrong.

I hear banjos.... Paddle faster.

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#67 steelymac
June 17 2013, 01:42PM
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Hey keilan did you hear about the dyslexic atheist innsomniac?He laid in bed wondering if there really was a dog.

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#68 Spydyr
June 17 2013, 01:46PM
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steelymac wrote:

Hey keilan did you hear about the dyslexic atheist innsomniac?He laid in bed wondering if there really was a dog.

If keilan has dyslexia my heart goes out to him.That might explain things.

If he is just ignorant. Not so much.

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#69 TV6
June 17 2013, 03:29PM
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Did I just read that right..?

Did J.W. just advocate that the River City Oil Men should bring in Derek Roy to play Center for their Hockey Club..?

That didn't just happen did it..?

I mean REALLY...

x6

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#70 Taylor Gang
June 17 2013, 07:10PM
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keilan wrote:

Sounds like you have a boy-crush on Hall. You're a little over the top in your comments but from your handle it's probably expected.

How many teammates did Yak have the luxury of playing with in the KHL. What are you twelve?

This coming from the guy who is insulting me over defending our best player.

Even if I was 12, how would that even play any part in this argument?

Sure, he falls a lot. He also got benched at the World Championships. But how does that make him a worse player? He averaged over a point per game this season. How can you argue with that?

Also for the record, I'm 18, so beak me if you want. But I have season tickets and have been following the Oilers as long as I can remember.

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