Did Craig MacTavish move Ladislav Smid to Calgary just in time?

Jonathan Willis
January 14 2014 07:37AM

Something funny has happened since Craig MacTavish made the highly criticized trade that sent defenceman Ladislav Smid to the Calgary Flames in exchange for futures. Smid has imploded with the Flames, and that oh-so-weak Oilers defence seemingly hasn’t gotten any worse.

In fact, Smid’s departure appears to have marked bit of a turning point for the Oilers; after going 4-14-2 to start the year Edmonton won the first game post-Smid and has put together a still bad but much improved 11-14-3 record since.

As interesting as that won/lost record is, it’s nothing close to definitive. A lot goes into a win or a loss and often a team’s record with a given player on it is more luck than anything else. All it does is show that the sky hasn’t fallen in Edmonton post-Smid.

But other metrics show a lot more than that.

Ladislav Smid in Calgary

There’s something interesting that happens to Flames defencemen when they get paired with Smid: They get worse. Calgary gets out-shot by a 3:2 margin when Smid is on the ice, and no matter who he is paired with the partner has been better off with almost anybody else.

The following chart shows the percentage of all attempted shots taken by Calgary with a given defence pair on the ice. The break-even mark is 50 percent, with higher being better and lower being worse:

For pure puck-moving defencemen, like Mark Giordano and Dennis Wideman, the addition of Smid to their pairing hurt. In Giordano’s case – and he’s the guy most worth paying attention to since a) we know he is an exceptional defenceman and b) he’s played the most with Smid – the difference was roughly 3.5 shots out of every hundred. In other words, Calgary went from being out-shot 52-48 with Giordano and X on the ice to being out-shot 56-44 with Giordano and Smid.

For guys who aren’t puck-movers, Smid was kryptonite. We’ll ignore T.J. Brodie, since the sample size is so small, but Chris Butler and Shane O’Brien both go from being bad without Smid to being outshot 2:1 when paired with Smid.

In short: in Calgary, Smid has been worse than useless when paired with anybody other than an exceptional puck-mover, and even in the latter pairing he has dragged down the results of that puck-mover.

Ladislav Smid in Edmonton

There is an idea floating around that Smid – a big, tough, physical defenceman who knew what do in his own zone – was carrying regular partner Jeff Petry and that with Smid gone Petry has been exposed as a bad defenceman.

It isn’t a theory that harmonizes with available fact. Let’s start by looking at Petry’s numbers with various partners this year:

The idea that Petry’s a trainwreck just doesn’t work because almost everybody he partners with gets better in the process. Petry has played with five regular partners this year, and it’s not a fantastic list – he’s played with Andrew Ference against tough opposition or he’s played second-pair minutes with a rookie (Anton Belov, Martin Marincin) or the remains of Nick Schultz or Ladislav Smid, who we’re discovering has major holes in his game.

Unsurprisingly, Petry’s looked bad at times. More surprising is this:

  • Ference has been at his best with Petry.
  • The Oilers out-shot the opposition by a wide margin with rookie Belov on the ice with Petry
  • The Oilers out-shot the opposition by a wide margin with rookie Marincin on the ice with Petry

What about Smid’s Oilers numbers?

We’re looking at pretty small sample sizes here, but Smid was a disaster when not paired with Petry and this season he’s been a disaster with anybody other than Petry, Giordano or Wideman.

What to Make of It All

Ladislav Smid has been one of my favourite players to watch for a long time. In interviews he comes across as funny, upbeat and a consummate professional. On the ice, whatever his faults, I’ve never had any reason to doubt he was giving it his all. Blocking shots, making hits, taking hits, whatever; Smid was a guy who always showed up.

So it brings me no pleasure to say this: It looks like something has gone very wrong with the player. With numbers like he’s posting in Calgary, he’ll be lucky if he can hang on as a third-pair defender, and only then if he’s playing with a competent puck-mover. Maybe this is all temporary, and he’ll rebound (I hope so; I’ve always liked the way he plays) but this is an awful stretch of hockey for a guy who has three seasons left at $3.5 million.

As for Craig MacTavish, he was harshly criticized for the Smid trade. But right now, it looks like he cleared a bunch of money, added some prospects and moved a player who wasn’t furthering the cause. If trends continue as they have since the trade, that will be a monumental victory for Edmonton’s general manager. At the very least, it may be wise to tone down the rhetoric condemning him for making the unpopular move.

Finally: It isn’t easy to say nice things about Jeff Petry to Oilers fans. He’s a favoured whipping boy and he probably always will be. But it’s funny how good his partners always seem to look. First, it was Smid. Then it was Anton Belov – whose play fell off at right around the same time he got bumped to the third pairing. Now it’s Martin Marincin, a second-year professional in North America who miraculously seems to be handling second pairing minutes in his first dozen games in the majors. Maybe, just maybe, it’s time to ask whether Petry has something to do with that.

Recently by Jonathan Willis

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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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#101 RMGS
January 14 2014, 09:38AM
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Those who love MacT are loyal to no end. One way to read this analysis is as an ex post facto absolution of a poor trade by the Oilers. A 27-year-old bona fide NHL D is worth more than the marginal prospects gained.

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#102 TDSM31
January 14 2014, 11:06AM
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JW, good read. Do you have the same analysis for actual shots on goal versus 'attempted shots'....better yet, would you be able to put together the same analysis using scoring chances? Would just be curious to see if the percentages change much using these variables. It just seems that Petry gives up more glaring scoring chances when he's on the ice. I'd rather have Laddy out there blocking 5 or 6 'attempted shots' then having Petry give up 1 or 2 scoring opportunities.

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#103 DigDeepNBleedBlue
January 14 2014, 11:23AM
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Dman09 wrote:

You also need to remember that it was public that Pronger wanted out which would have greatly effected the Value Lowe could get out of the trade.

Why do I have to remember that? LOL

I get it and I think Lowe did all he could.

Hell, Eberle could turn out to be the main piece that brings in the second coming of Pronger....

My mind just went BOOM!

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#104 The Real Scuba Steve
January 14 2014, 12:08PM
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Zarny wrote:

You should probably at least include the entire trade before driveling about who won.

The draft pick the Oilers also received was Jordan Eberle.

Like it or not, given the circumstances Lowe got good return for Pronger.

I can't believe i'm sticking up for Kevin Lowe, but Kevin Lowe wouldn't have won Pronger trade no matter where he went. With his cap hit Kevin Lowe hands were tie. Looking back I wish the Oilers did to Pronger like they did to Souray.

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#105 Old Retired Guy (A.K.A. Die-Nasty)
January 14 2014, 12:09PM
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Smid was an ok to average D man....in a below average group. I was ok with the trade simply on the basis that he like others ( Sam Gagner, Nick Scultz, Ryan Smyth, etc) are not part of the long term solution here.

I never had a problem with Smid....I just never thought Smid was a very good skater, passer, shooter, fighter, hitter. His reputation for being tough was in comparison to his weak teammates, who are/ were among the softest in the league. I really have a bias against "qualifiers" like Sam Gagner is tough "for a little guy" or Laddy Smid " can't skate but man he blocks a lot of shots"......xxx "plays well for a young guy"....xxx "plays well for an old guy"....etc

Could you have gotten a better return? I think the Oilers amateur scouts put a higher value on Brossiot than most teams do. I doubt that MacT sold Smid on the cheap....makes more sense that he shopped him and other teams around the league saw a 5-6 Dman at $3.5 million and took a pass. You don't trade players, you trade contracts.

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#106 DigDeepNBleedBlue
January 14 2014, 12:34PM
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FireKLowe wrote:

Getting Eberle via the Pronger trade was pure fluke!

Lets be honest with each other. You don't want to hear/read my opinion on this trade or any other Oilers' transaction. You just want to throw sh*t at the fan. 'Cause you can. Am I right?

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#107 pkam
January 14 2014, 12:43PM
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Old Retired Guy (A.K.A. Die-Nasty) wrote:

I wish they did to Souray what they did to Pronger. Put your ego aside and make the trade.

Pronger is a franchise defenseman every team would like to have, and 6.25M is a great contract.

Souray at 5.4M not that easy to trade. We had put him on waiver twice and nobody was willing to bite. Do we have to package some draft picks or prospects to sweeten the pot to do him a favor?

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#108 Cubro
January 14 2014, 02:15PM
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This is the best article of the year!! Bravo JW, Bravo.

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#109 Zarny
January 14 2014, 05:48PM
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FireKLowe wrote:

If I were Lowe I would've asked for someone of Scott Niedermeyer's stature in return. That would've been an apples to apples trade. Plain and simple dumb$hit!!!

And you wouldn't have gotten it because that trade wasn't available.

You can ask for whatever you want; it doesn't mean sh*t if no one will pay it.

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#110 Chainsawz
January 15 2014, 10:26AM
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nick wrote:

This is the most ridiculous article you have ever written Willis and you have come up with some bad ones. You can take your stats and bend them whichever way you want but the bottom line is it was not a good trade. I think someone should come up with some stats on how bad your articles are on days ending with a Y.

While I won't say it was the most ridiculous, I think there might be other underlying stats here that are being ignored however. Are the shot attempts excluding special teams? That'll swing the numbers one way or the other. How about zone starts and quality of competition and teammates? I'm lazy so no way I'm digging that up. How about quality of shots? Historical numbers - is he regressing or maybe he has always been put in situations where he will bleed shots while getting near 0 offensive zone starts and PP time (for good reason though).

There is more than just shot attempts that define Smid as a player.

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#111 Rama Lama
January 14 2014, 10:01AM
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I will only judge the merits of this deal when the goalie LB, plays some games and proves his potential ability.

If LB is a bonafide goalie.........then it was a good deal.

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#112 Oiler Al
January 14 2014, 10:29AM
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If Smid was making say $1.75 per year, he might still be an Oiler. Also I dont think Oilers were shopping him, but that Calgary was in dire need of backend help due to injuries, came a knocking, and guess what.. we have just the guy for you. He's a bit pricey but he's a seasoned NHL D man.

In other words, a bit of a salary dump by MacT.

On a decent team Smid, was a 5/6 defense man. Poor skater, passer and really soft. He had nomean streak in him and his body checks were bear hugs at best. He was a great shot blocker, but thats about it.

I think after his fight injury a couple years ago, his game went south.

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#113 DigDeepNBleedBlue
January 14 2014, 11:18AM
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hippohero wrote:

I remember the Smid trade. "Oh no, how will we ever replace Smid's 42% (5v5 ZS adjusted) close and two annual points?" is what I said about it, if I remember correctly. And then Derek Zona personally stepped in and called me stupid. And then he made fun of me for saying other players could fill in better for Smid. And then he mocked me for mixing up and saying "special teams adjusted" instead of "5v5".

I hate you so much, Derek.

Hahahaha

Haven't read that site since they tried to argue the cycle is, and I paraphrase, ridiculous.

I don't hate anyone, though. LOL

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#114 DigDeepNBleedBlue
January 14 2014, 11:39AM
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@Nimrod

Are you giving props to your own comments? LOL

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#115 FireKLowe
January 14 2014, 12:17PM
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Still Hopeful wrote:

Wasn't Smid the product of the great Kevin Lowe trade moving Chris Pronger quickly after he wanted a trade and getting Smid and Lupul in return.

Where are they now? Not in Edmonton. Burke clearly won that trade.

You don't trade the one guy who pushed the Oilers to the cup final within two weeks unless you get a blockbuster. He jumped the gun.

This was just the start of How Bad Management of the Oilers is.

Make no mistake, this team is going nowhere until Lowe and MacT are gone.

That is exactly what I have been saying for years. KLowe botched the Pronger trade big time and it's been downhill ever since. You don't trade a bonafide #1 D-man in the league for picks and unproven prospects. KLowe should've been fired for that offence alone.

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#116 Johny22J
January 14 2014, 12:57PM
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Can anyone explain to me what "future considerations" actually means in a trade? Was the player essentially given away or is that actual compensation?

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#117 Raine
January 14 2014, 01:45PM
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Concur wrote:

What I find amusing is this is the last contract that Tambo negotiated and MacT trades it away. You can see the differences right there. If Lowe was making all the decisions then this wouldn't have happened. Further evidence that both Tambo and MacT have the reins.

Why does Tambellini always get the blame with contracts? Just easier to blame the guy not here anymore I suppose.

MacTavish was on that staff and was working with Tambellini at the time. Smid is right up MacTavish's alley with the blocking of shots - which was odd that he traded the guy. Lowe was on staff and each contract is run by Katz. Also, from my understanding, RICKY OLCZYK is the most heavily involved in contract negotiations - he's still on the staff.

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#118 BLAKPOO
January 14 2014, 05:59PM
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pkam wrote:

I won't be too critical on Petry and neither should Oilers fans.

He has been asked to do a job which is over his ability when he is still supposed to be under training.

I think most believe he is a potential 2nd pairing defenseman with only about 200 game experience. He should be transitioning from the 3rd pairing to 2nd pairing with a veteran to mentor him. But in most games he is the better of the pair defending against the top lines of our opponent, who consistently putting pressure on you and can turn any of your mistake into a goal.

All I want to point out is that he is not quite ready to be considered solid and reliable yet.

To be fair though, Ed is right. Petry will be lights out for 57 minutes, then with 3 minutes left and the game on the line he'll make that "WTF was that?!" blunder that costs us the game.

It's not that he's bad, and it's really not about top pairing minutes - he can take those and run with them better than anyone else on this team right now, it's the mistakes. If he wasn't prone to making those god-awful mental errors at exactly the wrong time, we'd all easily consider him a #1 or #2 dman right now.

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#119 pkam
January 14 2014, 06:27PM
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BLAKPOO wrote:

To be fair though, Ed is right. Petry will be lights out for 57 minutes, then with 3 minutes left and the game on the line he'll make that "WTF was that?!" blunder that costs us the game.

It's not that he's bad, and it's really not about top pairing minutes - he can take those and run with them better than anyone else on this team right now, it's the mistakes. If he wasn't prone to making those god-awful mental errors at exactly the wrong time, we'd all easily consider him a #1 or #2 dman right now.

Not sure what you are talking about. When did we allow a goal which is not an empty netter or penalty goal in the last 3 minutes of the game this year?

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#120 BLAKPOO
January 14 2014, 07:32PM
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pkam wrote:

Not sure what you are talking about. When did we allow a goal which is not an empty netter or penalty goal in the last 3 minutes of the game this year?

Perhaps "In the dying moments of the game" would be a better fit? Or "In the latter stages of a hotly contested match"? This will also include overtime, if you require specifics. 3 minutes wasn't meant to be a literal time, but a figurative one meant to draw attention to part of the game where any mistake made will more than likely be the last one. Not sure how you missed that.. not sure why you're arguing semantics either.

Petry pinching on Yandle during the Phoenix game that led to the winner would be most recent one that comes to mind. You can look up the exact time on the scoreboard yourself, if it makes you feel better.

Honestly though, if you're having difficulties recalling games that were blown due to a muffed play by Petry, you're not watching enough games. Or paying enough attention. Or both.

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#121 Sorensenator
January 14 2014, 10:12PM
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Petry is a good skater with decent puck moving ability but seems to be missing a chromosome half the time on the ice. He costs the Oilers one goal almost every game because he makes poor decisions. Willis, your lost.

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#122 Ryan
January 15 2014, 12:30AM
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@mr.patient

Quite often statistics can be played with and misrepresented in order to produce a desired outcome. Governments do this quite often when they want to persuade society and change laws. It's being selective on using certain statistics and what you want to deliver to the people. Heck, I'm sure we could draw up a few statistics and make Smid look like a fine defenseman. We've done it before with shot blocks, as one example.

This is why the hipster bloggers love it so much. They can play with it and come out looking intelligent. It appears like effort. Yet, the biggest effort would be to watch the games and analyze the game - rather than simply taking stats from a stats page.

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#123 etownman
January 14 2014, 11:01AM
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etownman wrote:

Yes indeed, get all the facts before spouting off your hatred!

Even at the time of trade I said it was a good move for the Oilers! I never liked the $3.5m for a left side pairing only d-man who can block shots! Ference & Belov both play a better all around game than Smid in my opinion!

Sorry DigDeep, wasn't directed at you! :-)

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#124 hippohero
January 14 2014, 11:23AM
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@The Last Big Bear

I don't think advanced stats are "effectively useless" when evaluating defenders. Most Norris trophy winners seem to have a positive corsirel.

Breaking out of the zone is an important duty for defenders, and should show up in their corsi. Add to that the fact that defenders seemingly cannot help or harm their goaltender's SV% to any significant degree, and looking at which D get outshot consistently seems like a decent proxy.

I'm not saying scouting is useless, or that stats should be the only factor, just that the stats should definitely show something. And in Smid's case it's not positive. I think he may be good at limiting chances while in the defensive zone, just that he cannot seem to break out of it.

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#125 Nimrod
January 14 2014, 12:04PM
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"Edmonton won the first game post-Smid and has put together a still bad but much improved 11-14-3 record since."

Oilers record the 8th November was 4-11-2 and is now 15-28-5. This should result in a 11-17-3 record since the trade.

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#126 DigDeepNBleedBlue
January 14 2014, 12:10PM
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That's a fair, well thought-out, and articulate retort. And, frankly, I don't care about your feelings toward the writer.

However, would you like to discuss the merits of the trade? Or will your conclusion always be that it was/is "stupid?"

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#127 Romulus' Apotheosis
January 14 2014, 01:01PM
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@Jonathan Willis

Finally: It isn’t easy to say nice things about Jeff Petry to Oilers fans. He’s a favoured whipping boy and he probably always will be. But it’s funny how good his partners always seem to look. First, it was Smid. Then it was Anton Belov – whose play fell off at right around the same time he got bumped to the third pairing.

This is not a fair or complete assessment of Belov's WOWY.

http://stats.hockeyanalysis.com/showplayer.php?pid=1802&withagainst=true&season=2013-14&sit=5v5

He's actually played more 5x5 with 19 (192:00 TOI).

19 is 49.7CF% with 77 and 41.5% without 77

If Belov's numbers only went up with 2, you'd have a case. But, he makes everyone he's played significant minutes with (minus Larsen, that pairing is a black hole, both get much worse together) better. Including the woeful Nick Schultz

77 and 15 played 87:18 TOI 5x5 together

15 is 46.8CF% with 77 and 41.4% without.

I think there is a case to be made that 77 isn't a case of "who's zooming who" when paired with 2, but rather a case of mutual flourishing.

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#128 pkam
January 14 2014, 02:57PM
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Jonathan wrote:

The one issue I see with this article is the omission of quality of competition tracking. I haven't watched much of Smid in Calgary but, at least to the best of my recollection, he was always used primarily in the main defensive shut down pairing.

I think this data could just as easily suggest which players were more or less equipped to tackle the "heavy lifting" playing against other teams' best players. As Smid was primarily used against top lines, players on the ice without him could arguably simply be playing against lower end players.

Aside from that, still interesting to see the differential of players playing with, or without Smid.

The fact is O'Brien is worse with Smid than with someone else.

Do you mean Bob Hartley only used Shane O'Brien against tough competition when he was paired up with Smid?

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#129 camdog
January 14 2014, 06:14PM
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"Unsurprisingly, Petry’s looked bad at times. More surprising is this:

•Ference has been at his best with Petry. •The Oilers out-shot the opposition by a wide margin with rookie Belov on the ice with Petry" •The Oilers out-shot the opposition by a wide margin with rookie Marincin on the ice with Petry

I personally thought all of the Oilers played bad when the organisation played the "SWARM"? As to the Flames I thought their entire team struggled after Burke's speach about not liking the team. In both cases all of the players on both teams suffered by incompetant managment/coaching.

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#130 Jibmeister
January 16 2014, 10:43PM
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I think Corsi and other advanced stats are a very good way of evaluating players. I also think that Smid has not been that good in Calgary, although I don't think he has been terrible either. But... you need to combine these stats with the knowledge of actually watching the damn game, you can't judge a player solely by looking at a website with stats.

Solely watching a player does not work either, the two must be combined. Things go unnoticed when only one way of judging a player is used.

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#131 Cactus
January 26 2014, 04:31PM
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You state your charts show the percentage of all attempted shots taken by team with a given defence pair on the ice.

That is certainly not enough of a statistic to draw the wide ranging conclusions you have made.

In fact it's silly and misleading. Either that or you don't have a clue about how to evaluate a defenceman.

Cactus

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#132 Bishai in the Benches
January 14 2014, 09:41AM
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Extremely interesting and well written article. Although the data suggests Smid is struggling mightily this year, and you have proved that it is not dependant on line mates with either team, I tend to view the situation similar to dubnyk. I highly doubt smid has magically become a bad D man, much the same way dubnyk didn't become an awful goalie. Neither of them are "good", but they still both deserve jobs in the NHL. I attribute the comparison of numbers between smid and petry to playing style, a defensive defensemen will always have worse Corsi numbers than a puck mover. In addition, Smid has made it clear before that he prefers the left side, and feels uncomfortable on the right. He practically begged Kruger to keep him on the left in one episode of oil change.

I tend to believe that NHL level players don't magically become bad, non NHL players when they are young and in the prime of their career. Dubnyk mostly bounced back, and so will smid.

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#133 DigDeepNBleedBlue
January 14 2014, 11:02AM
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etownman wrote:

Sorry DigDeep, wasn't directed at you! :-)

No worries, brah!

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#134 DigDeepNBleedBlue
January 14 2014, 11:45AM
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@Cold Hard Truth

And you what the "disgruntled" "fan" has left?

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#135 DigDeepNBleedBlue
January 14 2014, 12:11PM
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@Cold Hard Truth

That last comment was directed your way.

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#136 Oilbaron
January 14 2014, 12:28PM
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IMO Smid can appear pretty cocky sometimes. When traded I wondered (just for fun) if he ever used that 4-year/$3.5 million contract as clout in the dressing room, rubbing other players and management the wrong way. I don't question his passion for the game, but he also seems like a player who can act like a black hole during times of losing.

This data partly supports my theory at least

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#137 The Swarm
January 14 2014, 12:52PM
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It was a decent return for an over rated defenseman. Smid was not lacking in the will department, but seriously lacked any hockey IQ. A crisp, quick outlet pass? Forget it, everything was high off the glass. Then rinse and repeat. I still remember him leaving the front of the net to chase a guy behind the net when he was "defending" a 5 on 3 PP. You can guess what happened next.

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#138 samurai003
January 14 2014, 01:11PM
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Great stats JW! Can you run this on the whole team, and then filter out who is dragging the team down?

Maybe they should run these kind of stats before trading/acquiring a player, coach, POHO.

Also, can you send a link to Calgary - I'm sure they'd love to read this. This is going to get the pot boiling!

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#139 Sean
January 14 2014, 06:11PM
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Neilio wrote:

So you're making conclusions based on a half seasons work on two of the worst, most chaotic teams in the league? He was a good defenceman before and he will be a good one again. Smid's poor play with the Oilers this year coincides with Eakins' failed Swarm system, BTW.

Regarding the trade, take this for what its worth. I have it on good authority that Smid asked for a trade because the locker room had become unbearable. Eakins plays favorites heavily and it has divided the room. Eakins made no bones about Ference being Smid's replacement, and the first time he actually spoke to Smid was when he told him he'd been traded.

His agent?

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#140 Chainsawz
January 14 2014, 09:43PM
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Raine wrote:

I wrote about Smid and his blocked shots as being over rated prior to his contract extension. I knew putting value on Smid blocking shots was wrong and he was going to be awarded. http://www.oilogosphere.com/blog/dont-base-smids-contract-on-over-rated-blocked-shots/

Smid's blocked shots were highly over rated. When you get hemmed in your own zone and allow more shots towards the net it's likely you'll have a higher blocked shots count. Problem with Smid is he's always premeditated blocking a shot rather than forcing a turn over or preventing the shot. He simply collapses and everyone calls him a warrior. Blocking a shot should be done in desperation and not premeditated, in Smid's case he allowed the shooter to take the shot - whether Smid blocked it or not I'd much prefer the defensemen forcing a turnover and gaining possession of the puck.

I might buy that if you could break out 5v5 blocked shots from 4v5 blocked shots. Then compare shots against 5v5 with Smid to shots against 5v5 without Smid along with QOC.

Instead that's a link to an opinion piece. You might be right, I don't know, but I'm left wondering about those stats after reading that.

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#141 Raine
January 15 2014, 12:49AM
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Chainsawz wrote:

Did MacTavish move Smid in time? That'll be determined at the trade deadline if Calgary moves him and we might get to see what they get in return. Even if they move at sometime prior to his contract being up, an answer could be had to that question.

Was it a good trade? The only stats I need are Smid 30 games played for Calgary to 1 game played by Horak and Brossoit for Edmonton to make a call on that for now. If, and that's a HUGE if, one of those guys can become something of an NHL regular, the trade can re-evaluated.

As for the stats... Are there any historical numbers on Smid showing that he was ever a player that improved another defensemans shot attempts?

The biggest concerns in the Oilers game I saw, by watching, last season was the lack of a transitional game, an inability to take possession of the puck and effectively break out of their zone and finally enter the offensive zone. They had defensemen, which included Smid, that were being hemmed in their own zone. A swarm of offence usually came the Oilers way and they couldn't do a good enough job of breaking it up and taking control. I wrote about this last year.

Obviously MacTavish saw something similar as he tried to stock up on puck moving defenders this offseason and he eventually traded Smid. Unfortunately the players he brought in were the poor mans version and not at a strong enough level to compete against the stronger teams in this league. I imagine this will be MacTavish's focus once again as we get closer to the deadline and more likely again in the offseason. This team needs players that can drive the play up ice.

Yes it would be nice to have better stats, which you mentioned. But you need a trained eye to sit and watch the game and make ticks on a piece of paper. Time consuming and sometimes you just want to get up and grab that beer and/or take a piss.

But if you watch hockey often and know what you're watching jotting down occurrences is unnecessary. Your brain does a damn good job at estimating and coming to a good conclusion, if there is something you are watching for in particular. Unfortunately, for those that allow instincts to do the work, our word isn't good enough and people need numbers behind it.

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#142 CMG30
January 15 2014, 07:37AM
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Well, if the premise of this article is accurate it just goes to show why I'm not a GM.

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