Did Craig MacTavish move Ladislav Smid to Calgary just in time?

Something funny has happened since Craig MacTavish made the highly criticized trade that sent defenceman Ladislav Smid to the Calgary Flames in exchange for futures. Smid has imploded with the Flames, and that oh-so-weak Oilers defence seemingly hasn’t gotten any worse.

In fact, Smid’s departure appears to have marked bit of a turning point for the Oilers; after going 4-14-2 to start the year Edmonton won the first game post-Smid and has put together a still bad but much improved 11-14-3 record since.

As interesting as that won/lost record is, it’s nothing close to definitive. A lot goes into a win or a loss and often a team’s record with a given player on it is more luck than anything else. All it does is show that the sky hasn’t fallen in Edmonton post-Smid.

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But other metrics show a lot more than that.

Ladislav Smid in Calgary

There’s something interesting that happens to Flames defencemen when they get paired with Smid: They get worse. Calgary gets out-shot by a 3:2 margin when Smid is on the ice, and no matter who he is paired with the partner has been better off with almost anybody else.

The following chart shows the percentage of all attempted shots taken by Calgary with a given defence pair on the ice. The break-even mark is 50 percent, with higher being better and lower being worse:

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For pure puck-moving defencemen, like Mark Giordano and Dennis Wideman, the addition of Smid to their pairing hurt. In Giordano’s case – and he’s the guy most worth paying attention to since a) we know he is an exceptional defenceman and b) he’s played the most with Smid – the difference was roughly 3.5 shots out of every hundred. In other words, Calgary went from being out-shot 52-48 with Giordano and X on the ice to being out-shot 56-44 with Giordano and Smid.

For guys who aren’t puck-movers, Smid was kryptonite. We’ll ignore T.J. Brodie, since the sample size is so small, but Chris Butler and Shane O’Brien both go from being bad without Smid to being outshot 2:1 when paired with Smid.

In short: in Calgary, Smid has been worse than useless when paired with anybody other than an exceptional puck-mover, and even in the latter pairing he has dragged down the results of that puck-mover.

Ladislav Smid in Edmonton

There is an idea floating around that Smid – a big, tough, physical defenceman who knew what do in his own zone – was carrying regular partner Jeff Petry and that with Smid gone Petry has been exposed as a bad defenceman.

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It isn’t a theory that harmonizes with available fact. Let’s start by looking at Petry’s numbers with various partners this year:

The idea that Petry’s a trainwreck just doesn’t work because almost everybody he partners with gets better in the process. Petry has played with five regular partners this year, and it’s not a fantastic list – he’s played with Andrew Ference against tough opposition or he’s played second-pair minutes with a rookie (Anton Belov, Martin Marincin) or the remains of Nick Schultz or Ladislav Smid, who we’re discovering has major holes in his game.

Unsurprisingly, Petry’s looked bad at times. More surprising is this:

  • Ference has been at his best with Petry.
  • The Oilers out-shot the opposition by a wide margin with rookie Belov on the ice with Petry
  • The Oilers out-shot the opposition by a wide margin with rookie Marincin on the ice with Petry

What about Smid’s Oilers numbers?

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We’re looking at pretty small sample sizes here, but Smid was a disaster when not paired with Petry and this season he’s been a disaster with anybody other than Petry, Giordano or Wideman.

What to Make of It All

Ladislav Smid has been one of my favourite players to watch for a long time. In interviews he comes across as funny, upbeat and a consummate professional. On the ice, whatever his faults, I’ve never had any reason to doubt he was giving it his all. Blocking shots, making hits, taking hits, whatever; Smid was a guy who always showed up.

So it brings me no pleasure to say this: It looks like something has gone very wrong with the player. With numbers like he’s posting in Calgary, he’ll be lucky if he can hang on as a third-pair defender, and only then if he’s playing with a competent puck-mover. Maybe this is all temporary, and he’ll rebound (I hope so; I’ve always liked the way he plays) but this is an awful stretch of hockey for a guy who has three seasons left at $3.5 million.

As for Craig MacTavish, he was harshly criticized for the Smid trade. But right now, it looks like he cleared a bunch of money, added some prospects and moved a player who wasn’t furthering the cause. If trends continue as they have since the trade, that will be a monumental victory for Edmonton’s general manager. At the very least, it may be wise to tone down the rhetoric condemning him for making the unpopular move.

Finally: It isn’t easy to say nice things about Jeff Petry to Oilers fans. He’s a favoured whipping boy and he probably always will be. But it’s funny how good his partners always seem to look. First, it was Smid. Then it was Anton Belov – whose play fell off at right around the same time he got bumped to the third pairing. Now it’s Martin Marincin, a second-year professional in North America who miraculously seems to be handling second pairing minutes in his first dozen games in the majors. Maybe, just maybe, it’s time to ask whether Petry has something to do with that.

Recently by Jonathan Willis


  • Bishai in the Benches

    Extremely interesting and well written article. Although the data suggests Smid is struggling mightily this year, and you have proved that it is not dependant on line mates with either team, I tend to view the situation similar to dubnyk. I highly doubt smid has magically become a bad D man, much the same way dubnyk didn’t become an awful goalie. Neither of them are “good”, but they still both deserve jobs in the NHL. I attribute the comparison of numbers between smid and petry to playing style, a defensive defensemen will always have worse Corsi numbers than a puck mover. In addition, Smid has made it clear before that he prefers the left side, and feels uncomfortable on the right. He practically begged Kruger to keep him on the left in one episode of oil change.

    I tend to believe that NHL level players don’t magically become bad, non NHL players when they are young and in the prime of their career. Dubnyk mostly bounced back, and so will smid.

  • Willis:

    Not sure if this has been brought up yet…

    I didn’t mind the Oilers moving Smid, I like him, and as you mentioned brought a lot of what the Oilers don’t do.

    I just don’t like the return, how the Oilers could have drafted a like type goalie 3 months ago ( Jarry or Comrie) to finding a competent center for the Barons for probable a 4 to 6th
    round draft pick.

    I honestly think the Oilers could have gotten a whole lot more at the trade deadline.

    As for Petry, again, I like his game. I hate his compete level, I also have witnessed him leaving scrums, I find him to be almost butter soft (competitively not tough)

  • Smid was way overpriced at 3.5 million. He had heart and played tough, he was also very good at blocking shots. However it was nice Mact got 3.5 million off the books.
    People love to bash Petry, but is starting to play much better, he has been used as a 1or2 defencemen which he is not. If and when he is used as a 3 or 4 he will fit that role nicely.
    These advanced stats are quite useless .The only advanced stats that anyone should care about are wins and losses.
    And finally Sam gets to play with Hall and Nuge and looks completely lost. His game has digressed so much that he should get a couple of games in the pressbox. Really 4.8 million

  • If you believe that Nurse and Klefbom are the future of this blueline, then you should also believe that Jeff Petry will be an integral defence partner for one of these two kids. Petry is a complementary right shot who will have plenty of NHL games under his belt by the time Nurse and Klefbom step up to the bigs.

    The Oilers don’t have enough guys with significant NHL experience playing in key roles. Petry is building towards that and to me, he’s just as important to this club as Nurse and Klefbom.

  • pkam

    If ya watched the games this info comes as no surprise.

    Said he was signed for too much as well. 2mil would’ve been fine for a bottom pairing D-man.

    If Brossiot pans out everyone will understand why Feaster is wandering…in a desert somewhere.

    The new NHL: Don’t watch the game, read the stats. Hilarious….

  • pkam

    The problem with Petry is even he is playing well for most part of the game, he will make one or two mind boggling mistakes and usually it ends with the puck in our net.

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

      That’s the result of a guy being asked to do too much. He’s trying to compensate for weak D partners. He looks like he could be an above average 3-4 Dman with a reliable partner. Let’s hope they don’t totally crush his spirit/diminish his skills before things get turned around.

      He’s not as tough physically as we’d like him too be, but his all round skills more than compensate for his lack of toughness. If Klefbom and J Schultz can develope their all round game, that will make three D men who are deficient in toughness….that’s about the max any good team could endure on balance…..the other four need to be Nurse, Biufulyn, type of tough….Ferrence is a good balance of physical and skilled…good for now

    • Absolutely correct. I’m wondering if the Petry kind of player, who plays well most of the time but when he makes an error it’s a big one, will always have “advanced stats” that make him look better than he might really be. When I am always concerned when Petry is on the ice.

      • pkam

        I won’t be too critical on Petry and neither should Oilers fans.

        He has been asked to do a job which is over his ability when he is still supposed to be under training.

        I think most believe he is a potential 2nd pairing defenseman with only about 200 game experience. He should be transitioning from the 3rd pairing to 2nd pairing with a veteran to mentor him. But in most games he is the better of the pair defending against the top lines of our opponent, who consistently putting pressure on you and can turn any of your mistake into a goal.

        All I want to point out is that he is not quite ready to be considered solid and reliable yet.

        • BLAKPOO

          To be fair though, Ed is right. Petry will be lights out for 57 minutes, then with 3 minutes left and the game on the line he’ll make that “WTF was that?!” blunder that costs us the game.

          It’s not that he’s bad, and it’s really not about top pairing minutes – he can take those and run with them better than anyone else on this team right now, it’s the mistakes. If he wasn’t prone to making those god-awful mental errors at exactly the wrong time, we’d all easily consider him a #1 or #2 dman right now.

          • BLAKPOO

            Perhaps “In the dying moments of the game” would be a better fit? Or “In the latter stages of a hotly contested match”? This will also include overtime, if you require specifics. 3 minutes wasn’t meant to be a literal time, but a figurative one meant to draw attention to part of the game where any mistake made will more than likely be the last one. Not sure how you missed that.. not sure why you’re arguing semantics either.

            Petry pinching on Yandle during the Phoenix game that led to the winner would be most recent one that comes to mind. You can look up the exact time on the scoreboard yourself, if it makes you feel better.

            Honestly though, if you’re having difficulties recalling games that were blown due to a muffed play by Petry, you’re not watching enough games. Or paying enough attention. Or both.

  • Puck_In_Throat

    JW, this is a perfect example of how advanced stats ought to be used.

    Sometimes it is hard to see which players are putting the team on their back, and which players are riding the coattails of their teammates. This type of analysis could be very helpful when deciding which free agent to sign or which player to trade/trade for.

    I would be very interested in this analysis of the forwards. I believe you did one earlier on Arcobello (no surprise- everyone gets better).

    My guess would be that Nuge and Hall are pulling the bus, while Gagner and Eberle are both dependent on linemates.

  • I’m not saying the two are remotely comparable in terms of talent or playing style, but the love-in with whoever Petry plays with reminds of when Pronger was on the team. I remember watching at least two special features on TV. One was on the resurgence of Jason Smith as a dominant, mean, shutdown guy, and the other feature was on how Mark-Andre Bergeron was suddenly defensively responsible. Both of those happened right after they got paired with Chris Pronger, who (as we believed at the time) was having a good (but not great) season.

    Many good defencemen have an interesting ability to make everybody else look better than themselves. If this team improves and we can stop feeding Petry to the wolves people might learn to appreciate him. People seem to forget he has less NHL experience than Hall/Eberle and plays a less rewarding position.

  • Zarny

    I hadn’t checked the stats but I’m not surprised. It was obvious Smid was playing terrible just by watching. 4th liners were walking out from the corner to net and Ladi was even brushing their jersey.

    I always liked Smid. The guy was a warrior but his play dropped off a cliff this year. He was the worst skater and puck-mover on Edm’s blueline this year. They certainly haven’t missed him.

    The “outrage” by some fans is based on wishful thinking that Smid was/is a top 4 D. Maybe at times in the past but not this year. Not even close. Given his salary and play MacT was right to trade him.

    • Zarny

      Agree with everything JW and you have said except for one thing. I beleive the outrage was caused by the return and it will be very interesting to see what the flames get at the trade deadline when he is moved, if they can move him because of the contract.

      All in all this is MacT undoing a tambo wrong.

  • Oilers4Ever

    If Smid was making say $1.75 per year, he might still be an Oiler. Also I dont think Oilers were shopping him, but that Calgary was in dire need of backend help due to injuries, came a knocking, and guess what.. we have just the guy for you. He’s a bit pricey but he’s a seasoned NHL D man.

    In other words, a bit of a salary dump by MacT.

    On a decent team Smid, was a 5/6 defense man.
    Poor skater, passer and really soft. He had nomean streak in him and his body checks were bear hugs at best. He was a great shot blocker, but thats about it.

    I think after his fight injury a couple years ago, his game went south.

  • Zarny

    The hate some fans have for Petry is the same as the hate some have for Gagner.

    It simply isn’t rational and stems from them not meeting some delusional expectation some fans have. Gagner hasn’t become a #1 C and Petry a top pairing D so the simple folk pile on the hate.

    The reality is both are very good players who aren’t fully developed and certainly aren’t perfect; but both will be very good NHLers for many years to come.

  • Wasn’t Smid the product of the great Kevin Lowe trade moving Chris Pronger quickly after he wanted a trade and getting Smid and Lupul in return.

    Where are they now? Not in Edmonton. Burke clearly won that trade.

    You don’t trade the one guy who pushed the Oilers to the cup final within two weeks unless you get a blockbuster. He jumped the gun.

    This was just the start of How Bad Management of the Oilers is.

    Make no mistake, this team is going nowhere until Lowe and MacT are gone.

      • The Last Big Bear

        No, they got a draft choice and Eberle was available. Doesn’t count. They sent, arguably, the MVP of the playoffs and got a draft choice.

        The other two players were dudes.

        Again, poor management.

        • pkam

          The question is why Eberle was still available at pick 22nd? Why 21 GM passed on Eberle and Lowe and Tambellini didn’t?

          Other than Stamkos, Doughty, Pietrangelo, and Karlsson, who was drafted ahead of Eberle do you think is better?

          No credit when they did a good job and only count their mistakes. All management will fail by the way you rate them.

          • Time Travelling Sean

            I don’t need to rate them. They are the worst team in the league overall since Lowe took over.

            The facts speak for yourself. And that includes with Eberle playing (although I do think he is a great player).

            Time for a change in management.

            Would any other business or organization be so bad and not get rid of the problem. The losing stigma is not going to change with other players in the league until they see fresh faces in the front office.

            Hey I wonder how many people employed by the Oilers are replying to the blogs right now? My guess, a lot!

      • Zarny

        Yes indeed, get all the facts before spouting off your hatred!

        Even at the time of trade I said it was a good move for the Oilers! I never liked the $3.5m for a left side pairing only d-man who can block shots! Ference & Belov both play a better all around game than Smid in my opinion!

        • Oilers4Ever

          Lets be honest with each other. You don’t want to hear/read my opinion on this trade or any other Oilers’ transaction. You just want to throw sh*t at the fan. ‘Cause you can. Am I right?

    • Zarny

      You should probably at least include the entire trade before driveling about who won.

      The draft pick the Oilers also received was Jordan Eberle.

      Like it or not, given the circumstances Lowe got good return for Pronger.

      • The Real Scuba Steve

        I can’t believe i’m sticking up for Kevin Lowe, but Kevin Lowe wouldn’t have won Pronger trade no matter where he went. With his cap hit Kevin Lowe hands were tie. Looking back I wish the Oilers did to Pronger like they did to Souray.

          • pkam

            Pronger is a franchise defenseman every team would like to have, and 6.25M is a great contract.

            Souray at 5.4M not that easy to trade. We had put him on waiver twice and nobody was willing to bite. Do we have to package some draft picks or prospects to sweeten the pot to do him a favor?

      • Oilers4Ever

        No he did not! You’re an idiot for thinking that. Getting Eberle was pure fluke! Now had Eberle been a roster player or prospect for the Ducks then you can say Lowe knowingly made a good deal.

        • Zarny

          Spare me your drivel you dumb tard.

          Lowe got a 1st round pick which turned into Eberle. That isn’t pure fluke. Good fortune perhaps, but the intent of getting the 1st round pick was to draft a player of that caliber.

          No different than Bos using the 2nd overall pick from the Kessel trade to draft Seguin. It wasn’t a fluke. It was good fortune that the pick turned out to be #2 overall but a quality 1st round player is exactly what Bos knew they would draft with the pick. Same with Edm.

          Had Eberle been drafted with a 6th round pick from the trade…that would have been a fluke because very few players drafted in that position turn out like Eberle. Middle first round? Not even in the same vicinity as surprising.

          Like it or not, Lowe made a good deal under the circumstances.

          But, of course, idiots like you who drivel away never actually have an answer for what Lowe missed out on…so let’s hear it…what trade did Lowe miss out on when Pronger was moved?

          • Oilers4Ever

            If I were Lowe I would’ve asked for someone of Scott Niedermeyer’s stature in return. That would’ve been an apples to apples trade. Plain and simple dumb$hit!!!

          • Oilers4Ever

            A couple of years after the Pronger trade someone asked Lowe if there was anything he would have done differently over the previous few years. Lowe answered, surprisingly frankly, that he should have mage Pronger sit longer. I think this suggests that in hind site Lowe thinks he could have done better. Getting Eberle at 22 is quite fortunate.

    • Oilers4Ever

      That is exactly what I have been saying for years. KLowe botched the Pronger trade big time and it’s been downhill ever since. You don’t trade a bonafide #1 D-man in the league for picks and unproven prospects. KLowe should’ve been fired for that offence alone.

  • Zarny

    Yes, you’re right.

    Lowe got a first rounder if the Ducks went to the final. Good pucking call, huh?

    Then he drafted Eberle 22nd. Good pick too, huh?

    But, no, please continue to tell us how you really feel! lol

      • Zarny

        Why do I have to remember that? LOL

        I get it and I think Lowe did all he could.

        Hell, Eberle could turn out to be the main piece that brings in the second coming of Pronger….

        My mind just went BOOM!

      • Oilers4Ever

        No it wouldn’t have. Pronger didn’t want out because he had problem with the team but rather for personal reasons. Waiting for a better trade would not have diminished Pronger’s value given that he was the best D-man in the league by a mile. KLowe rushed the trade when he could’ve used the entire summer to find a better deal.

      • Time Travelling Sean

        No, disagree.

        No other city really cares what happens in Edmonton, all they want is a good hockey player.

        Lowe punched out way too early and got nothing.

  • Zarny

    JW, good read. Do you have the same analysis for actual shots on goal versus ‘attempted shots’….better yet, would you be able to put together the same analysis using scoring chances? Would just be curious to see if the percentages change much using these variables. It just seems that Petry gives up more glaring scoring chances when he’s on the ice. I’d rather have Laddy out there blocking 5 or 6 ‘attempted shots’ then having Petry give up 1 or 2 scoring opportunities.

  • The Last Big Bear

    I am a huge advocate of “advanced” stats when looking for information about forwards, but Corsi measures of any kind are effectively useless when evaluating defencemen, especially defensive defencemen. As a descriminator of defenceman performance, I’d say they’re about as useful as +/-.

    And I’m not saying Smid has been a Norris candidate in Calgary, but Corsi numbers, even in a WOWY context, are not the metric to use to show this one way or the other.

    I think the “advanced” stat metric that best reflects a defenceman’s abilities is TOI, which is just another way of explicitly stating that we don’t yet have a metric that outperforms a coach’s subjective evaluation of defensive defenders.

    • hippohero

      I don’t think advanced stats are “effectively useless” when evaluating defenders. Most Norris trophy winners seem to have a positive corsirel.

      Breaking out of the zone is an important duty for defenders, and should show up in their corsi. Add to that the fact that defenders seemingly cannot help or harm their goaltender’s SV% to any significant degree, and looking at which D get outshot consistently seems like a decent proxy.

      I’m not saying scouting is useless, or that stats should be the only factor, just that the stats should definitely show something. And in Smid’s case it’s not positive. I think he may be good at limiting chances while in the defensive zone, just that he cannot seem to break out of it.

      • The Last Big Bear

        Martin Marincin leads the NHL in CorsiRel among players with >10 games. Followed by Brent Burns and Jean-Phillipe Cote.

        Did you honestly just try to defend using this stat to evaluate defencemen?

        Anton Strahlman is barely even the best defenceman in the NHL named Anton Strahlman, but he’s top 10 in CorsiRel, and even has tougher QoC and zone starts than several of the guys ahead of him.

        Of the top 30 CorsiRel defencemen in the NHL, I would say 3 or 4 of them are even the best defenceman on their team.

        On the other hand, look at TOI/60. See the difference? The worst you can say about any of those guys is that they’re the best defenceman on a bad team.

  • hippohero

    I remember the Smid trade. “Oh no, how will we ever replace Smid’s 42% (5v5 ZS adjusted) close and two annual points?” is what I said about it, if I remember correctly. And then Derek Zona personally stepped in and called me stupid. And then he made fun of me for saying other players could fill in better for Smid. And then he mocked me for mixing up and saying “special teams adjusted” instead of “5v5”.

    I hate you so much, Derek.

  • Zarny

    JW,

    I think your also missing a key point to the whole trade…. Laurent Brossoit. He has been more than exceptional in his stint in the ECHL. This guy looks to be a grade A prospect. Fully expect to see him in OKC next season and maybe even get some NHL the season after that. I think the trade was great at the time and it just looks better. However I don’t think that trade would have happened if Laurent Brossoit wasn’t part of it.

  • Zarny

    When you’re 29th in the league with an inverted bullet and allowing most goals in the league, pretending that the trade of a guy the team re-signed less than a year ago is somehow a triumph because the team decided to trade him to another team equally bad and that team remaining bad is somehow proof of a brilliant trade?

    Desperately clutching at straws is what this is.

    • Zarny

      That’s all the writers are left to write about.

      Common Willis foil: isolate a variable within the team, find a stat which challenges popular concensus, decide the parameters of the stat based on the argue bet you would like to make, then use into construct an argument which demonstrates what a genius MacTavish is.

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

          I’m not really disgruntled.

          It would be nice to read a piece from Willis that is even mildly critical of management; instead, we just get palliative pieces.

          Also, you can isolate any statistic, remove it from its context, then have it demonstrate anything you’d like.

          Bottom line is the Oilers have done even worse this year than last — which, considering how bad they’ve done in previous seasons, is an accomplishment in itself.

          MacTavish’s trade doesn’t look as stupid as it initially did? So what. The bottom line is the same; that’s the only thing that matters.

          • My blogging career curve:

            • 1. Express optimism at Edmonton going outside the family to hire Steve Tambellini.
            • 2. Hammer Steve Tambellini and the Oilers for doing almost nothing but stupid things for five years.
            • 3. Express optimism at new GM MacTavish’s first few trades looking decent.
            • 4. Get hammered as a homer for never being critical of management.

            That’s fine, too; this is a great way to make a living and I’m glad people are still reading. But honestly, the kind of criticism I’ve been getting lately just makes me laugh. I’m not going to burn MacTavish at the stake for Tambellini’s crimes; that’s just the way it is. I’m not going to fault the new G.M. for the sins of the organization under the last guy.

            I thought MacTavish made a mistake trading Smid, and I didn’t hesitate to say so at the time. Two months later, it’s looking a lot like he was right and I was wrong and I thought it was only right to acknowledge that – especially since I was a long way from being alone in those views.

            If you think that’s Oiler boot-licking the best advice I can give you is to enjoy a cold beer and calm down.

          • Romulus' Apotheosis

            Finally: It isn’t easy to say nice things about Jeff Petry to Oilers fans. He’s a favoured whipping boy and he probably always will be. But it’s funny how good his partners always seem to look. First, it was Smid. Then it was Anton Belov – whose play fell off at right around the same time he got bumped to the third pairing.

            This is not a fair or complete assessment of Belov’s WOWY.

            http://stats.hockeyanalysis.com/showplayer.php?pid=1802&withagainst=true&season=2013-14&sit=5v5

            He’s actually played more 5×5 with 19 (192:00 TOI).

            19 is 49.7CF% with 77 and 41.5% without 77

            If Belov’s numbers only went up with 2, you’d have a case. But, he makes everyone he’s played significant minutes with (minus Larsen, that pairing is a black hole, both get much worse together) better. Including the woeful Nick Schultz

            77 and 15 played 87:18 TOI 5×5 together

            15 is 46.8CF% with 77 and 41.4% without.

            I think there is a case to be made that 77 isn’t a case of “who’s zooming who” when paired with 2, but rather a case of mutual flourishing.

          • Andy7190

            No you can’t just “isolate any statistic” you want to prove a point. It can somethimes be unclear what the numbers mean but they never lie or “say whatever you want” Math doesn’t work that way. And in this case, what the numbers say seems pretty obvious: Letting Smid go was, sadly, a good move.

            “MacTavish’s trade doesn’t look as stupid as it initially did? So what. The bottom line is the same; that’s the only thing that matters”

            That’s just silly. Are you suggesting that EVERY trade the OIlers make is bad unless it immediately improves the team to a winning record?! Have you seen this roster? There isn’t a trade out there that can do that, short of trading our entire roster for Chicago’s. Whatever improvements MacT (or perhaps a different GM in the near future will make will be incremental, as even a blockbuster trade will unlikely fix all this team’s problems. Meanwhile we can at least be satisfied that this seemingly minor deal looks to be working out well for the OIlers.

          • pkam

            Quite often statistics can be played with and misrepresented in order to produce a desired outcome. Governments do this quite often when they want to persuade society and change laws. It’s being selective on using certain statistics and what you want to deliver to the people. Heck, I’m sure we could draw up a few statistics and make Smid look like a fine defenseman. We’ve done it before with shot blocks, as one example.

            This is why the hipster bloggers love it so much. They can play with it and come out looking intelligent. It appears like effort. Yet, the biggest effort would be to watch the games and analyze the game – rather than simply taking stats from a stats page.

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

    “Edmonton won the first game post-Smid and has put together a still bad but much improved 11-14-3 record since.”

    Oilers record the 8th November was 4-11-2 and is now 15-28-5. This should result in a 11-17-3 record since the trade.

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

    Smid was an ok to average D man….in a below average group. I was ok with the trade simply on the basis that he like others ( Sam Gagner, Nick Scultz, Ryan Smyth, etc) are not part of the long term solution here.

    I never had a problem with Smid….I just never thought Smid was a very good skater, passer, shooter, fighter, hitter. His reputation for being tough was in comparison to his weak teammates, who are/ were among the softest in the league. I really have a bias against “qualifiers” like Sam Gagner is tough “for a little guy” or Laddy Smid ” can’t skate but man he blocks a lot of shots”……xxx “plays well for a young guy”….xxx “plays well for an old guy”….etc

    Could you have gotten a better return? I think the Oilers amateur scouts put a higher value on Brossiot than most teams do. I doubt that MacT sold Smid on the cheap….makes more sense that he shopped him and other teams around the league saw a 5-6 Dman at $3.5 million and took a pass. You don’t trade players, you trade contracts.

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

    That’s a fair, well thought-out, and articulate retort. And, frankly, I don’t care about your feelings toward the writer.

    However, would you like to discuss the merits of the trade? Or will your conclusion always be that it was/is “stupid?”

  • Oilers4Ever

    IMO Smid can appear pretty cocky sometimes. When traded I wondered (just for fun) if he ever used that 4-year/$3.5 million contract as clout in the dressing room, rubbing other players and management the wrong way. I don’t question his passion for the game, but he also seems like a player who can act like a black hole during times of losing.

    This data partly supports my theory at least

  • Oilers4Ever

    It was a decent return for an over rated defenseman. Smid was not lacking in the will department, but seriously lacked any hockey IQ. A crisp, quick outlet pass? Forget it, everything was high off the glass. Then rinse and repeat. I still remember him leaving the front of the net to chase a guy behind the net when he was “defending” a 5 on 3 PP. You can guess what happened next.

  • Great stats JW!
    Can you run this on the whole team, and then filter out who is dragging the team down?

    Maybe they should run these kind of stats before trading/acquiring a player, coach, POHO.

    Also, can you send a link to Calgary – I’m sure they’d love to read this. This is going to get the pot boiling!

  • Bishai in the Benches

    I wrote about Smid and his blocked shots as being over rated prior to his contract extension. I knew putting value on Smid blocking shots was wrong and he was going to be awarded. http://www.oilogosphere.com/blog/dont-base-smids-contract-on-over-rated-blocked-shots/

    Smid’s blocked shots were highly over rated. When you get hemmed in your own zone and allow more shots towards the net it’s likely you’ll have a higher blocked shots count. Problem with Smid is he’s always premeditated blocking a shot rather than forcing a turn over or preventing the shot. He simply collapses and everyone calls him a warrior. Blocking a shot should be done in desperation and not premeditated, in Smid’s case he allowed the shooter to take the shot – whether Smid blocked it or not I’d much prefer the defensemen forcing a turnover and gaining possession of the puck.

    • Chainsawz

      I might buy that if you could break out 5v5 blocked shots from 4v5 blocked shots. Then compare shots against 5v5 with Smid to shots against 5v5 without Smid along with QOC.

      Instead that’s a link to an opinion piece. You might be right, I don’t know, but I’m left wondering about those stats after reading that.

    • Chainsawz

      Did MacTavish move Smid in time? That’ll be determined at the trade deadline if Calgary moves him and we might get to see what they get in return. Even if they move at sometime prior to his contract being up, an answer could be had to that question.

      Was it a good trade? The only stats I need are Smid 30 games played for Calgary to 1 game played by Horak and Brossoit for Edmonton to make a call on that for now. If, and that’s a HUGE if, one of those guys can become something of an NHL regular, the trade can re-evaluated.

      As for the stats… Are there any historical numbers on Smid showing that he was ever a player that improved another defensemans shot attempts?

      • The biggest concerns in the Oilers game I saw, by watching, last season was the lack of a transitional game, an inability to take possession of the puck and effectively break out of their zone and finally enter the offensive zone. They had defensemen, which included Smid, that were being hemmed in their own zone. A swarm of offence usually came the Oilers way and they couldn’t do a good enough job of breaking it up and taking control. I wrote about this last year.

        Obviously MacTavish saw something similar as he tried to stock up on puck moving defenders this offseason and he eventually traded Smid. Unfortunately the players he brought in were the poor mans version and not at a strong enough level to compete against the stronger teams in this league. I imagine this will be MacTavish’s focus once again as we get closer to the deadline and more likely again in the offseason. This team needs players that can drive the play up ice.

        Yes it would be nice to have better stats, which you mentioned. But you need a trained eye to sit and watch the game and make ticks on a piece of paper. Time consuming and sometimes you just want to get up and grab that beer and/or take a piss.

        But if you watch hockey often and know what you’re watching jotting down occurrences is unnecessary. Your brain does a damn good job at estimating and coming to a good conclusion, if there is something you are watching for in particular. Unfortunately, for those that allow instincts to do the work, our word isn’t good enough and people need numbers behind it.

  • Johnnydapunk

    I admit I always like articles that surprise me, meaning they pull out a fact that I was unaware of and changes the way I look at something. Well done Willis!

    I can’t say that I wasn’t happy or sad over the trade, I thought that it was maybe a personality clash of some sort that just couldn’t be fixed and the easiest solution was moving Smid. He was alright but seemed to be typical of the Oil player that kindof did my head in, he was good but not that good and the fact that he was good in a bad group made him look better. His contract was a bit fat for a player of his calibre, but he seemed to put an effort in and that was nice to see.

    The only little thing about one of the comments made which also kindof makes me crazy is when people use a double negative “I don’t disagree” for example. It seems more common nowadays and I’m baffled why.