Edmonton Oilers acquire Jerred Smithson from Florida

According to multiple reports, the Edmonton Oilers have acquired centre Jerred Smithson from the Florida Panthers in exchange for a fourth-round draft picks.

Smithson is in the final year of a two-season deal with an annual cap hit of $800,000; he will be an unrestricted free agent upon the conclusion of his current contract. The 34-year old veteran has played 578 career regular season games and spent the bulk of his career with the Nashville Predators before joining the Panthers in exchange for a sixth-round draft pick near the 2012 trade deadline.

Smithson’s virtues as a player are defensive; he’s never scored 30 points at any level over a 13-year professional career and never hit 40 points in junior. What he does bring is defensive acumen, size (listed at 6’3", 209 pounds), and a physical game. Despite his willingness to hit one thing he isn’t is a fighter; he hasn’t had a fighting major since 2009-10.  He has won 54.8% of his faceoffs this season, and (importantly) is a right-handed shot – giving the Oilers a reliable right-handed option for defensive zone draws, something they haven’t had this season. He was also a regular penalty-killer with the Panthers.

The timing of the deal is interesting. The Oilers recently recalled Anton Lander, giving them a fourth centre and a player who could fill in for Eric Belanger, who has been injured for much of the year. Oilers analyst Bob Stauffer reports that Edmonton had Smithson on the radar earlier in the year when injuries were mounting; it seems odd that the deal wasn’t consumated at that time. A month ago, even a small trade like this would have been a god-send; now it’s far less urgent. Regardless, the addition does strengthen Edmonton’s depth, and if it (as seems likely) results in the demotion of Lander to Oklahoma it will provide the Oilers’ farm team with a valuable piece in their own playoff push.

Also interesting is the fact that the Oilers dealt a draft pick rather than a prospect. By my count, this brings the number of contracts in the Oilers organization to 53, with three of those (Oscar Klefbom, David Musil and Travis Ewanyk) not counting against the 50-man limit this season. A fourth-round pick is not a particularly dear asset, but moving a comparable prospect – perhaps a player like Curtis Hamilton or Tyler Pitlick – or packaging a bad minor-league contract (such as Cameron Abney’s) would have given the Oilers more flexibility. 

As for Smithson himself, he isn’t likely to have much of an impact. In an average hour of 5-on-5 play this year, the Panthers have been out-shot 28-to-21 with Smithson on the ice, even worse than the 32-to-31 they’re typically out-shot with him off the ice. Smithson’s teams have been regularly out-shot by large amounts with him on the ice the last few years, but this season was particularly bad because in Nashville Smithson generally started two shifts in his own end for every offensive zone shift he played; this year the split has been almost 50/50. He’s probably best used as a reserve forward than as a regular member of the top-12, though Edmonton’s centre depth chart likely means he slots in on the fourth line as soon as he joins the team, something likely to happen during their California road trip.

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  • outdoorzguy

    Saw the Timid Tambellini interview when I got home. When I saw the grin on his face I thought maybe we got the worlds greatest player. But alas, it was just the usual stupid dumbfounded look Timid Tambellini always has on his face. I think Loser Lowe has a similar look, but it’s a bit more of a scowl. Great job today Oilers management team!! Oh wait, its the same job that its been for the last decade. Groundhog Day! Groundhog Day!

  • Cheap Shot Charlie

    @Ducey

    A 4th Round pick has a 28% chance of playing a full 80 games in the NHL – 1 season.

    It drops to 23% chance of playing 160 games in the NHL – 2 seasons.

    Finally a 16% chance to be a regular NHLer (400 games +)

    So more or less 1 in 4 – 4th Round picks have value. And 1 in 6 or 7 to get a genuine NHL player.

    If you can get an NHL player for a 4th Round pick you are ahead. A bird in hand is worth 4 (in this case) in the bush.

    I’m not a big fan of this pick up, when they could have got Wade Redden for a conditional 7th (8% chance of being an regular NHLer).

    Draft picks are like lottery tickets, buy enough you will win something, but is it worth it?

    • Old Retired Guy (A.K.A. Die-Nasty)

      I think your stats are correct…so I agree with you….going forward…Wade Redden has an 8% chance of being a regular NHLer….

  • Old Retired Guy (A.K.A. Die-Nasty)

    To be fair to Wes, the Oilers do have a history of overpaying…..but that was in the days when it was very difficult to get players to sign here…..you had to pay a premium or play Billy ball (Billy Bean).

    Recent signings, J. Schultz, Gags, Smid, etc would suggest the tide has turned. The best part about it is, Edmonton isn’t a destination of choice because of the scenery….it has become a destination of choice for players who want their name on Lord Stanley’s Cup! and that’s Exactly the kind of player you want to attract.