LADDY SMID: GET THE INK DONE

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.

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.

WHAT’S THE NUMBER?

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.

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.

  • DSF

    Honestly, does it matter what they sign Smid too or length. 2016 will be the target year for this club to be competing for a Stanley Cup. A new arena will be built and all our young talent will be in there prime. Right now there is zero urgency or pressure on management to be successful. Our owner is making money, we are selling out games and we are competing for the playoffs. If it ends up to be a poor signing, management will blame it on the dynamics on the NHL ie tough to make trades, bringIng in UFAs etc. Edmonton is the organization of excuses of why they aren’t winning. We all should praise management for doing nothing to make this club successful. When I see Montreal and Columbus ahead of us in the standing, heads should role. Come on 2016, we ll be rock stars by then

  • As far as defencemen go, if I were GM I would sit down for a beer (or a dehydrated water – whatever atheletes drink these days) with DUBNYK.

    I’d propose a scenario. I tell him that we are up by 1 goal with 1 minute left in the game and the faceoff is in our zone. To make matters worse we have to kill a 5 on 3 against.

    The question I ask then is which d-men on the team does he (Dubnyk) want on the ice? I’m thinking he would say Smid’s name first. Maybe he would maybe he wouldn’t.

    My point is that when it comes to playing defence, the most important thing is what your goaltender thinks of you. He’s really the only one who knows what you’re worth.

  • It’s relatively pointless to discuss where Smid would slot into the lineup on another team. What is important is that the Oilers will be a worse team if he is let walk.

    EITHER:

    1) Smid is easy to replace.

    If this is true then we shouldn’t worry. However, this would also mean that in being a common lowly #5 d-man, Smid won’t fetch much of a price on the open market. In this case the Oilers could just as easily sign him for a good price instead of replacing him anyway.

    OR 2) Smid isn’t easy to replace.

    This could be true if Smid is more than a #5, or if market conditions mean that there simply aren’t very many d-men available. In this case Smid is going to cost more, but it is impossible for him to cost more than he is worth since if what he was asking for was too high he could simply be replaced by a player who was asking a reasonable price.

    My point here is that the Oilers will be a worse team if Smid leaves. There is no replacement for him coming available. The choice here is either to pony up slightly above the usual price or simply become WORSE as a team.

    I’m not comfortable with the Oilers actually become worse, so please sign this man whatever the cost. He can be traded in the years to come. He will always have value.

    ADD to the D, not subtract! Do it now, not later.

  • ~Nevermind, now that we have gone through the years and years of growing pains and Smid has established himself… let’s trade him.~

    EDM would be the ONLY team in the league to let a 27 year old d-man walk as UFA.