With our man Laddy gone, the Edmonton Oilers have an immediate question: who will fill his role? And that’s short term. What about the longer term? Edmonton has some nice prospects, but they’re miles away. Right?
TIME ON ICE
In his final Oiler game, Ladislav Smid played over 20 minutes at even strength. That’s a lot of playing time that will have to be replaced by someone who can face tough opponents. He also played 2:30 on the PK–second on the team–and overall played 22:38 for Edmonton. Those are legit minutes and he’s not available to the team tomorrow morning.
WHO DID HE PLAY WITH?
In the Tampa Bay game, his partner was Phil Larsen (the impressive newcomer) and of course he was with Jeff Petry for most of the last couple seasons. Ladislav’s skills (size, speed, shot blocking, a bit of a mean streak, toughness) are a nice complement to puck movers like Petry and Larsen.
WAS HE ONE DIMENSIONAL?
Well, he didn’t deliver much offensively and didn’t get a lot of powerplay time, but he had dimension. Smid was an effective penalty-killer and played many nights against the opposition’s best. Against the Lightning, it looks like Dallas Eakins tried to get Ference-Petry out against the big line, but but the Smid-Larson pairing did face the gifted scorer as the game went on. Of course, without last change there’s not a lot of control and I’m just looking back without the Eakins crib notes.
WHY DID THEY TRADE HIM?
My guess is that Anton Belov emerged as a real option, the Oilers like Andrew Ference as veteran mentor, and that the club was unable to offload Nick Schultz at this time. That’s a guess. Smid’s value (he owns a reasonable contract) would certainly be greater and Edmonton clearly wanted to get a contract/cap dollars off the books. How do I know? They traded with Calgary, certainly a noxious thought at any time.
WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN?
The Smid trade may have been startling, but Craig MacTavish is the new GM and he has no loyalty to this group. He took over a team that spent a generation in the second division and the men who have been here for years may be sacrificed even if they hold substantial value–in this case especially if they hold substantial value. Craig MacTavish and Dallas Eakins saw a way to improve the team (in their estimation) and pulled the trigger.
The results in the future may not show improvement, but a team that’s 4-11-2 doesn’t have a lot to lose.