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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  • vetinari

    This feels like we are going sideways on acquisitions and that we are replacing Belanger with Belanger Part II… it’s funny that when I googled this guy, he’s played almost 600 games at the NHL level and I don’t think I’ve ever heard of him.

    So, does the demotion of Eager and Hordichuk and obtaining a replacement for Belanger mean that most of our recent signings can be officially considered to be busts?

    Also, does this signify that any future acquisitions will have to be players going out since we are butting up against the NHL contract limit?

  • Sox and Oil

    @Cheesenaka well i think it would make sense to deal him because Isles are struggling for a playoff spot and Streit doesnt want to resign with the Isles. Might as well get somthing out of him instead of letting the contract expire.

    • Cheesenaka

      True, but NYI is very much in the playoff race in the east. According to NBC, Garth Snow is only 500K apart (per year) in contract extension negotiations. The only way we could hope at getting him, in my opinion, would be to overpay. We’d need to put up a lot more than a bunch of our castoffs.

  • Bucknuck

    You mean… it’s the deadline and the team traded picks for a real player? Be still my beating heart. It’s been SEVEN years since that has happened. No matter how small the move, I think the players have to feel pretty happy about that.

    The Oiler management finally shed the loser mentality.

  • CopperBlueBalls

    I do not consider this a big body. He is 20 lbs short of being big for his height. He doesnt really address any needs outside of winning faceoffs and Belange ris more then capable of that.

  • pan0ramic

    Wow, sounds like a great add! Our #1 problem is faceoffs, and 55% is AWESOME. Sounds like an upgrade or at least a solid replacement for Belanger.

    Like others have said, a 4th round is basically nothing. 4th rounders don’t usually make the best picks.

  • Cheesenaka

    Hey Jonathan, off topic. But what do you think it will take to get Mark Streit? Will Whitney and Anaheims 2nd round pick do it? or Whitney/Khabi and the 2nd round pick?

  • Truth

    Tambi got fleeced having to give a 4th for a guy obtained last year at this time for a 6th.

    Smithson looks to be a good fit however. Big body that competes and above average in the FO circle.

    • Sox and Oil

      I imagine (Hope) that they did have a claim in on Hall but Philly won the claim.

      A 4th is high considering he was dealt for a 6th last year but we shouldn’t be upset with burning a 4th for a servicable player, even if it is for only 13 games.

    • mr_nihilism

      Hall was claimed off waivers by Philly, who had a crack at him before we did. I’d imagine if he lasted that long, Oilers would have grabbed him, but he didn’t

      Second of all, why is everyone so high on fourth round picks? How do you “waste” a fourth round pick. Fourth round picks, though some really work our great, percentage wise, are wastes to begin with. Two thing happen with 4th rounders, you get extremely lucky and look like a scouting genius, or the player doesn’t work out. So “wasting” a fourth round on someone that helps our team in our playoff push, is a stupid thing to say.

      Had it been a second, then talk about a “waste”, but a fourth round for a guy like this, is not a “waste”.

      Smithson, Brown, and Petrell or Smyth, might not be an offensive power house. But man that is not going to be a fun line to play against.

      • Ducey

        Since 2008 the following guys were drafted by the Oilers in the 4th round or later and still have a chance:

        Hartikanen, Bigos, Rajala, Roy, Bunz, Davidson, Pelss, Simpson, Gernat, Gustafsson

        Its a place you can usually make a decent bet on a goalie prospect.

        Anyway, why give up something if you don’t need to? Waivers are free.

        • CopperBlueBalls

          And there is little to no room for all these assets. The Oilers have too many assets, and they can’t sign them all. A fourth rounder is not likely to get signed. Last year the Oilers walked on Quebec Junior, Blain who by all accounts is a reasonable asset. The Oilers this.year are up against it and have not signed Gernat.

          Fourth round picks have value if you got room for.the asset your drafting. There is no room at the farm right now. Why not use these picks for actual players that are servicible and fill a need. The Oilers are moving into a different stage of the rebuild, and what Tambo is actually doing is positive. The only value right now to a organization is that maybe it helps them move up in a draft, but they got more then enough assets and picks to still do this.

          • Ducey

            They have to sign Bigos and Gernat off my list. They also have to sign Kessy. Three guys have to be signed by June. How is that not having room?

            There would be even more room if they didn’t waste their time with Abney and didn’t have deadwood like Eager, Hordichuk, and Belanger kicking around.

            Anyway a fourth rounder in this draft wouldn’t have to be signed for 2 -4 years.

            Good GM’s make good moves to marginally improve their team all the time. Lousy GM’s say “WTF its only a fourth”.