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.

  • DaveChamp

    Any guy who shows the willingness to put his fists through anyone’s face who messes with the young guns is a desirable player. One who is also top 10 in the league in hits and blocked shots deserves a raise. Let’s sign him. Get it done.

    • Time Travelling Sean

      Really, since when does Smid play an enforcer type of game? The only guys he rough houses with is usually after the whistle is blown and the guy is of smaller stature. I think Smid picks and chooses who he goes with in regards to fighting, and usually it’s nothing more than some face washes with the ref jumping in.

      On a side note Smid is a decent stay at home defender that can block shots. He’s playing more minutes with a weak Oilers team than he would on most other teams, which in turn has helped his number (shot blocking, hits) rise. He’s nothing much more than that so let’s hope Tambo doesn’t get carried away with an inflated salary. Smid shouldn’t get much more than 3 million per.

  • DieHard

    Robin the title is a bit misleading. You and I agree sign him but not at any cost. Solid defensemen with nil offense are hardly a rare commodity. Smid is a known entity to the oil and thus a small premium over market is justified. 3.5 for four max. Otherwise let him walk.

  • DieHard

    I love smid but he just doesn’t bring enough to get paid. I’d feel uncomfortable at 3 mill, and would be happy at 2.5. He’s ideally a 5/6 pairing and you just can’t afford to pay for that with all the tip level talent we have to pay. That money should go for a left shot puck mover to go with j Schultz petry and klefbom

    • Ladi is not passing on UFA status for $2.5 million a season when he makes $2.25 million now. The UFA crop is thin for blueliners this summer and there will be a market for him.

      Like I said, my aim would be to get him signed for $3.25 and I could live with $3.5, but I wouldn’t go higher than that — and that’s with recognizing his service and that he wants to play here. I’d also be willing to go five years, taking him to 32, as long as I got my average at no more than $3.5 per.

      • nuge2drai

        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.

        • Bonvie

          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.

  • geeker99

    I know the oilchange scene has been brought up when losing late in o.t to Van? I love it and looking at Lander’s face when it’s happening I don’t think it happens enough. I think we all know what we get with the lad. very little offence but a good effort everynight. IMO 3.5 depending on the term of course is fair. i have a sick feeling that we would miss him dearly if he goes. Classic Tambo letting it go this late. Ladi will have over a barrel soon enough. [see hemsky deal]

    • Citizen David

      I agree we’ll miss him sorely if he goes. I don’t think it’s fair to get on Tambo’s case until we see what he does. People critisize him for signing the Hall and Eberle contracts too soon, now waiting to long on Smid. I didn’t mind the Hemsky deal because of it’s term and we need some vets that are better at offense than Belanger to tide us over till the young guns can carry the team. Tambellini might sign Smid to 4.5 million a year which would be too much, but if he does get him signed to 3.5 people won’t give him any props. Which is wrong. We shall see.