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.

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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.


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.

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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.

  • Time Travelling Sean

    The point is if Smid went to the open market he would get a 3.5-4M contract. Your only worth what someone is willing to pay, so Smid at 3.5ishM is not an overpayment if that is the price he gets on the open market.

    • DSF

      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.

      • Bonvie

        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.

        • DSF

          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:

  • Supernova

    We need to sign him period, he will come in somewhere close to 4 million over 4 years. This needs to happen for progression. The cap will be going back up in 2 years and if the team has made the correct progression we can use him in exchange for another asset.

    The management and fans have a long history of saying asset X is only worth Y.

    The discussion was exactly like this about glencross, that line was a difference of 200k, and the team has regretted it for years. I am not saying sign at any cost but this type of players need to be signed In order to progress. The team can save money on the 4th line and the 5 & 6 D.

    When Smid is truly our 5 trade him for a asset. Even if it isn’t equal value then.

  • DSF

    Deal Smid, Whitney, Hemsky at deadline for high picks in the upcoming draft and then package those picks with our pick to the team with 1st overall choice (if it’s not us already)and lets draft Seth! The Oilers have to stop over paying and giving multiple year contracts to overrated veterans! You can’t build new until you’ve completely destroyed the old!!

  • Citizen David

    Typical of the Oilers to sign someone today that has not proven anything to them, and let a fan favourite like Smid dangle. He’s been on the team for several years, and has given blood, sweat, tears and teeth. He’s been loyal and has be vocal about his desire to stay a part of the team. There’s no question Smid wants to be paid and wants to be in for the long haul, but he doesn’t strike me as the type of guy that would be unreasonable. He’s a hard working blue collar guy that most teams would love to have, so why in the name of everything that’s Holy would the GD GM take so long. He’s had many years to assess Smids play, loyalty and commitment.

  • Quicksilver ballet

    We’ll find out soon enough if Ladislav Smid loves money a helluva lot more than Edmonton. Smid has surprising interest around the league for a guy with his limitations. I think the Oilers should cash in on that interest and move him next week, and then offer him a contract on July 5th.

    Trade him at the deadline, then wait and see if he gets that redonkulus 4.5 he’s seeking. If not, offer him a 4 yr 17 million dollar deal during the summer. If he loves Edmonton that much, set him free. If he comes back, he’s ours and there’s nothing to worry about going into next season.