Reasonable Expectations for 08-09 (Smid)

The white horse in photo represents Ladislav Smid. His NHL experience gives him a slight lead over Peckham, Chorney, Wild, Bisaillon, McGuinn, Clark and Hillman (who are the other horses in photo).

I think we need to go back to his draft day bio in order to re-set the Ladislav Smid skill set. Here’s what Redline Report had to say:

  • Maintains great gap control and always squares up to the puckhandler. Has good poise and patience to move puck out of zone with crisp outlets and good decisions under checking pressure. Steadying influence along blue line. Can make long home run passes through neutral zone to beat trap and transition from defence to “O.” Plays angles well and cuts off passing lanes. Great stamina – plays huge minutes. Best asset is intelligence and natural hockey sense. Sticks up for teammates. Plays solid, mistake-free game in own zone and is excellent positionally. Reads and anticipates developing plays well. Good laterally, but 1st step and straightaway speed are average. Is not good as either a PP quarterback or trigger-man— has weak shot and makes poor decisions in puck distribution. Projection: Steady, consistent #2-3 defenceman. Style compares to: Toni Lydman

Smid’s an unusual player type and I think that makes it hard for people to quantify him and project him into the future. Here are a few facts about him:

  • His toughness appears almost exclusively after the whistle
  • Although the offense isn’t there, he can carry the puck reasonably well.
  • He’s a finesse defender in that he thinks position first and reacts.

Smid’s splits this past season were encouraging, mostly due to a distinct change in quality of opposition in the second half:

  • 33gp, 0-2-2 -12
  • 32gp, 0-2-2 -3

The problem for Smid is that he’s developed a past. Even though he was not ready for the role of NHL defenseman the day he won the job, the day he arrived a clock began ticking in the collective that is Oiler nation. He is viewed as a half-baked NHL prospect who is floundering and barely hanging on. Smid broke camp with the Oilers in the fall of 2006, age 20. He was paired with Staios (2nd pairing, behind Tjanrqviust-Smith opening night) and since that evening the following defensemen have passed him on the depth chart:

  1. Jan Hejda (8 years older)
  2. Tom Gilbert (3 years older)
  3. Denis Grebeshkov (2 years older)

He’s kept Danny Syvret, Mathieu Roy, Bryan Young, Sebastien Bisaillon, Theo Peckham at bay. For now. The Oilers have dealt for a plethora of D since then, including Pitkanen and now Visnovsky. They’ve signed free agent Sheldon Souray, they’ve dealt Matt Greene and through all of this Smid has managed to play 142 NHL games with a -31 rating. Smid bleeds goals and that should come as no surprise. Kids who aren’t ready usually do two things:

  1. Fail
  2. Fail to develop

Now comes the next wave of kids and leading the pack is piss cutter Theo Peckham. This is a guy the organization loves, and if we add in the fact that the Pronger trade is a distant bell (Oilers have several defensemen who arrived after CFP) then Smid is a guy who will need to earn playing time this season. Unlike Peckham, who has slowly but surely moved his way along the depth chart, Smid has been waterboarding.

When it comes to the Edmonton Oilers, Ladislav Smid is dead in the water. He’s gone. Book it.

Prediction for 08-09: 72gp, 0-5-5 (.069 per game).

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36 Responses to "Reasonable Expectations for 08-09 (Smid)"

  1. Jonathan says:

    When it comes to the Edmonton Oilers, Ladislav Smid is dead in the water. He’s gone. Book it.

    How’s that for bold predictions?

    I think that if they were planning to dump Smid, it would have been this summer along with the other players identified as problems (either on-ice or off-). The fact that he survived the remapping of the back end when any objective analysis of the Oilers playoff hopes says that the team would be better off short-term switching him for a veteran shut-down type tells me that they plan to hang on to Smid.

    I think you’re wrong, but even more than that, I hope you’re wrong.

  2. Lowetide says:

    In order for me to be wrong, we need another candidate for release/trade:

    1. Visnovsky
    2. Gilbert
    3. Souray
    4. Grebeshkov
    5. Staios
    6. Strudwick
    7. Smid

    If Peckham shows up as a clear option, who do they send away? Strudwick? He’s a veteran making over 200k less than Smid and perfect for the pressbox.

    Smid currently owns the “young D who might amount to something” role but a strong TC by Peckham makes him a future RFA making close enough to a million that sending him away is a strong option.

    Peckham? 565k this winter, 580k next winter.

  3. John says:

    2 for 2

    Lowetide thinks Staios is a horse for the Oilers and Smid is a goner. I could not disagree more.

    Smid is the only physical Dman we have left ( ok, ok Souray can hit someone and be out for 65 games again) and is 22 years old…at the same age the other prospects have played ZERO NHL games, have major holes in their game and simply way behind them in terms of development.

    Referencing Staios he is a 35 year number 5 Dman who is a very good character guy. He is also overpaid for what he does

  4. Lowetide says:

    John: I’m not arguing Smid’s future. I’m arguing Smid’s future in Edmonton.

    As for being way behind Smid in terms of developmnent, I think Peckhman has been learning at a level he can succeed.

    Smid has not moved up the depth chart. Can we agree on that? Gilbert, Grebeshkov, they’ve passed him, right?

  5. Jonathan says:

    In order for me to be wrong, we need another candidate for release/trade:

    1. Visnovsky
    2. Gilbert
    3. Souray
    4. Grebeshkov
    5. Staios
    6. Strudwick
    7. Smid

    If Peckham shows up as a clear option, who do they send away? Strudwick? He’s a veteran making over 200k less than Smid and perfect for the pressbox.

    Peckham starts the year in the minors. I know the organization has been raving about him, but even so, he’s a year and a half younger than Smid and to my eyes about the same distance back in terms of career path.

    That whole crowd of young blueliners is still a little ways back, and I think the AHL performances this winter are going to decide which of Peckham, Chorney, Wild, Bisaillon, Young, etc. are going to hang around for another season. Smid’s got one more year to look like a shut-down option.

    And slightly off-topic, but I don’t think Grebeshkov stays in Edmonton past the end of his current contract.

  6. Lowetide says:

    I think Smid makes the team (unless he’s dealt to Toronto) but won’t last the season. Peckham is only the most obvious option but there are others.

    Grebeshkov may well be gone to the RSL next season, but replacing him with Smid isn’t going to help (unless Smid comes in and has clearly turned a corner which let’s face it isn’t likely).

  7. PDO says:

    Toronto eh?

    Smid for Steen straight up?

    Steen ain’t a RH shot, but he sure can play tough minutes and do decently well with them already…

    Then again, maybe Fletcher will confuse Strudwick and Smid… :]

  8. Traktor says:

    No chance Edmonton moves Smid with only Peckham and Motin in the pipeline.

    Even if Peckham has a great camp, trading Smid would be something that the Leafs would do. Say Smid for Luke Richardson.

  9. Schitzo says:

    The blogosphere was calling it last year: The oilers had to choose one of Greene or Smid to try and develop, because there wasn’t enough soft minutes for both.

    Having made that choice, I can’t believe that Greene was dealt unless Smid still had some slack left on his leash. He’s still very young, and I can’t believe Lowe and Huddy would give up on the potential he’s supposed to have.

    Of course, in retrospect we probably should have cut bait a year (or two!) earlier on Greene, kept Hejda and acquired another vet, and sheltered Smid properly for the last two years.

    But even with fucking up his development (some by choice, some by necessity), I think there will be light at the end of the tunnel.

  10. Traktor says:

    I see Peckham in the same boat as Schremp. It doesn’t matter how good a camp they have, unless injury occurs they will be in Springfield.

  11. PDO says:

    Traktor:

    What if Smid shows up and plays like he did last camp?

    And if Schremp has a Broziak camp or if Peckham has a Gilbert camp…

    One way or another, they’re on the team. They can do enough, but basically it comes down to two things:

    A) They have to do all the right things to create way more scoring chances than they give up.

    B) They need to get lucky, in that the very short time that TC goes on, the pucks find twine.

    But both have an opportunity to do it.

  12. Shawn says:

    I don’t agree with this either. I don’t know how the Oilers feel about him, but Smid is the kind of defenceman I want around here for a long time. The thing I’ve noticed about him since the first game he played in Edmonton is poise. You can’t really teach that. He has that natural ability. The other areas of his game have improved and he has tremendous potential. He’s the kind of guy who will make the Oilers look foolish if they trade him when he ends up being a horse by his mid 20s. We’re talking about a guy who is still absurdly young. Did Gilbert and Greb pass him? Sure, they should have! They had age and experience on him.

    Don’t forget the likely injuries will give the Oilers a chance to have a look at Peckham if they want. But it’s really early yet. I still believe he’s a long term Oiler.

  13. James says:

    Sorry Lowetide….

    I usually agree with most of your points, but this is waaaay off.

    There is NO WAY Smid is dealt until Grebs signs a multi year next summer. There is nobody in the pipeline ready, including Peckham.

    They chose to keep Smid over Greene (the right choice IMO).

    Prediction: Smid/Staios as the 3rd pair playing the other teams 3/4 lines. A TON of PK time for Steve, and moderate PK time for Smid (when the game is out of reach either way.)

    If Smid takes a few steps forward they can afford to let Grebs walk to the KHL if he want’s too much $$$, if Grebs signs a reasonable deal…..then Smid might get dealt.

    Smid will still be hear after the deadline.

  14. PerformanceOil says:

    If Peckham comes in and blows off the doors, then I agree Smid looks like the likely candidate to leave (unless they are worried about signing Grebeshkov).

    Thing is, he hasn’t been that bad. We basically had seven NHL(ish) defencemen last year. Of those, he was the 4th best PK option. He was 4th in GA/60 last year (3rd if you subtract Green). He played the 5th hardest minutes, but had the 2nd worst linemates doing it.

    Obviously, none of that is particularly glowing, especially given the Oilers were generally regarded as having a pretty poor D-corps last year (more due to inexperience than lack of talent). At the same time, for his age, I don’t think any of that is bad. Basically, at 22 the guy is a serviceable NHL defencemen. How common is that?

    I think he still has a bit of time before the pack catch up. I also think the Oilers would be fools not to give him the chance to gain some clearance before giving up on him. On a team with a strong top-4, I’m positive people would be damn happy to have a guy like Smid simmering away on the 3rd pairing.

    Finally, it should be mentioned that Smid did more at a younger age than Peckham in the AHL (though Smid’s team was far better, relative to the league).

    I don’t see Peckham leapfrogging Smid by such a margin that they would trade him before he really establishes some value.

  15. Vic Ferrari says:

    Peckham will get his chance, if he’s earned it, when the first injury happens. That usually doesn’t take long in the NHL.

    Though why anyone would pine for a rookie D in the lineup is beyond me, LT. :)

  16. Bruce says:

    through all of this Smid has managed to play 142 NHL games with a -31 rating. Smid bleeds goals and that should come as no surprise. Kids who aren’t ready usually do two things:
    1.Fail
    2.Fail to develop

    Smid has not moved up the depth chart. Can we agree on that? Gilbert, Grebeshkov, they’ve passed him, right?

    As you pointed out, both are older. Smid has played 142 GP and counting by age 22; at a similar age Grebeshkov had 4, Gilbert 0. Do you supoose if those others had been exposed to NHL calibre players at a similar age that they too would have been lit up? I don’t doubt it for a second.

    For sure young defencemen can be slow to develop (and all three of those guys had their struggles at times last season). But “slow” is not synomymous with “fail”.

    To choose a somewhat-comparable out of a hat, Smid’s compatriot Rostislav Klesla was a high draft pick who got rushed along by CBJ, to his detriment in my view at the time. But he’s a long way from a failure … after some highly publicized early struggles he has settled in to become a solid NHL defenceman, with ice time, responsibility and results rising by the season. Klesla’s now a 26-year-old young vet with 410 GP under his belt. Whatever mistakes Columbus made in playing him too soon, one mistake they didn’t make was getting frustrated with his baptism-by-fire and dumping him.

    Patience, LT. The more pieces of the puzzle we develop from within, the better.

  17. trader says:

    LT, shouldn’t the 6th dman be cheap, young, willing to learn, be a good team guy, and have the potential to improve? Sounds like we have that guy.

    Just because at 22 he’s not a top 4 is no reason to get rid of him for a rookie who has played a game in the NHL.

    It is amazing how much shorter your rope is for a guy who wrongly gets thrown in the deep end at age 20 and survived then it is for a guy who has played 1 NHL game.

    Seems like some Pouliot type love for Peckham.

  18. Schitzo says:

    I’d just like to point out that not a single person has mentioned Roy as a serious contender to come up and play, even if injuries start occurring.

    Good.

  19. Lowetide says:

    trader: This isn’t my “suggested” move, it is what I think will happen. I like Smid, always have.

    I don’t think he’s going to be on this team, especially if they get off to a good start and he sticks out like a sore thumb.

    Both completely possible.

    Vic: Yeah. The rookie they ran out there SC run ’06 was enough for a lifetime.

  20. Dennis says:

    This feels like the time LT “opined” that the Oilers would deal Hemsky.

  21. PDO says:

    Vic:

    When we’re talking about Smid as the guy he’s replacing, is it really any different?

    ;]

  22. mc79hockey says:

    This feels like the time LT “opined” that the Oilers would deal Hemsky.

    I don’t remember that one. I have to say though, I haven’t yet tipped my cap to the guy for calling the Lowe “promotion” in what seems like about November of last year. That wasn’t predicting that JFJ got fired. Impressive stuff.

  23. Vic Ferrari says:

    PDO:

    I was just starting to like Smid last season. Seriously.

    Hell Visnovsky was a year or two older than Smid is now when he was drafted, wasn’t he.

    Not comparing their games, just casting my vote in this thread for patience.

  24. PDO says:

    Vic:

    Seriously? I mean, I have no problems with waiting for him… he’s STILL young for a D, and I guess it was more apt when EIG was still around; but if I had a vote on Tribal Council I’d vote for him to stay. Having said that… he’s still doing a lot of things that drive a guy nuts, from dumping the puck to his partner no matter what position he’s in to having a weaker shot than me. It’s nice that he has the aggression after the whistle, but the guy still doesn’t know how to play an odd man situation for the life of him and has no physical game to speak of when the game is actually being… well, played.

    He looks so damn good aesthetically while doing very little in terms of helping the team win from my eye. Useless in the offensive zone, unable to make a breakout pass, unable to break the cycle and completely exposed when put into an odd-man situation.. whether he’s out numbered down low or a simple 2 on 1.

    If Doug MacLean still had a job, I’d be calling him up and finding out just what he’d part with for a guy that looked as good as Smid does.

  25. John says:

    Sorry guys…..

    what I do not get is that Peckham had 6 goals and 7 assists in the AHL as a 20 years old. Smid had 3 gaols and 25 assists…..that is double the production at comparable age altho Smid was 6 months younger than Peckham when he was at Portland.

    Put another way, Peckham is the apple of someones eye in the Oiler nation but it is not on the basis of offensive production. Also, there are very very very few tough Dmen at 215 lbs so we know that is not gonna be his calling card. So Peckham is gonna hit the wall …too small to be a tough Dman,not offensively gifted enough to be an offensive D man…… in the NBA they call this type of player a tweener….. too small to be a power forward and too slow o be a small forward or shooting guard

    Lowetide….. Smid has 143 games in the show by his 22nd birth date ….. Bill James teaches us that is absolutely HUGE in predicting future performance

    By his 22nd birthdate …Peckham will have 40 games in the show and Grebeshkov and Gilbert are both noticeably older than Smid

    PS if Grebeshkov is not signed by Christmas he will be playing in Russia next year for more money than the Oilers will pay!

  26. PDO says:

    Why would a team sign Grebeshkov in the KHL? He’s not flashy. I see no reason to believe the Oilers can’t give him the Gilbert contract… and I see no reason to believe the Russians can offer similar.

    As for Peckham… 215 lbs is too small? Seriously?

    First of all, NHL.com lists him as 6’2″ and 223 lbs.

    Secondly: Jason Smith is listed as 6’2″, 215 lbs.

  27. John says:

    The KHL has more money to spend than they have players to spend it on. They will overpay to sign a player like Grebeshkov. If we sign him to a Gilbert type contract we will have $21 million tied up in 4 Dmen none of whom is an NHL superstar. That is just stupid

    I watched Peckham play in the Oiler/Golden Bear rookie game, saw him play when called up to the big team and watched him play twice in Springfield …… he is NOT a big D man so if you want to suggest he is 232 lbs go ahead, saying it does not make it so.

  28. Asiaoil says:

    Pretty negative take LT – especially the part where you think a bunch of guys with 0-3 NHL games are hot on his heels and Strudwick is better……come on.

    Young defense first dmen get exposed and exposed bad early on – and like I’ve been saying for months – just look at how many OTT fans thought Phillips and Volchenkov were garbage until 2-3 years ago.

    But more to the point – the Oilers mgmt team thinks Smid is special – and given their stellar longterm record on all things dmen – do you really think that they are that far off target in this case? I’ll take Lowe and Huddy’s take on Smid and in this case it’s very likely that you will be wrong.

  29. ClaytonMagnet says:

    Scott Stevens was listed at 6’2″ 215 most of his career. If memory serves, he did ok as a physical defenceman.

  30. PDO says:

    Pretty big difference between 223 and 232 you know ;). I see no reason why a guy listed at 223 can’t be a physical defenseman in this league. Zero.

    The KHL has a salary cap that is HALF of what the NHL has. Would it be worrisome to have a huge chunk of cash loaded into Grebeshkov, Gilbert, Visnovsky and Souray?

    Yup…

    Ironically though, I have no problem with having a huge chunk of cash sitting on Grebveshkov, Gilbert and Visnovsky. We’re already set for next season, and the only players possibly looking for significant raises (with us being $4,000,000 under the cap) are Grebeshkov, Cole and Garon. So… sign the three with what the cap goes by re: inflation, and then head off to next offseason with full intent of unloading Souray on some poor sucker, and we’re sitting pretty.

  31. Paper Designer says:

    And I’m here to tell you that this organization will deal Staios before they deal Smid.

    Talented blue-liners aged halfway between Gagner and Hemsky are going to be given every opportunity to succeed. And they already dealt Greene, who was playing a similar role, despite Greene being a little more reliable as a shut-down defender. I believe they’re in a position now where they need a few of the assets acquired directly from the second Pronger deal to turn out for them. They’re down to Smid. Every other asset has been dealt.

    Peckham is their “injury eighth”. He’s the guy they go to the minute two defenders go down with injuries at the same time. They’re not going to put him ahead of Smid this season.

    I have Smid as their second pairing defencemen when this team wins their next cup.

  32. Bank Shot says:

    I like Smid’s combination of physical talents, but you’re right Lowetide.

    The guy has been in way over his head, and he regressed in 07-08 from his rookie season. That’s not good for a guy that is playing on the end of the roster.

    Smid needs to make tangible strides, and he needs to make them early this season, or he is likely part of the next deal the Oilers management hydra cooks up.

    As for Peckham. I’ll believe the Oilers can draft and develop a defenseman capable of displacing Smid when it actually happens, and not a moment before.

  33. dawgbone says:

    I think you’ve been hanging around BBO for a bit too long.

    There is quite a jump between the AHL and NHL. Tom Gilbert, Denis Grebeshkov and Ladislav Smid all were excellent defencemen in the AHL.

    Smid has 33 points and is +17 in 79 AHL games.

    Gilbert has 30 points and is +6 in 48 AHL games.

    Grebeshkov has 85 points and is +34 in 166 AHL games.

    Theo Peckham has 13 points and is -14 in 59 AHL games.

    I know the Oilers brass like the kid (and he’s got a good skill set), but he’s behind the other 4 (he’s also younger), and it’s not even close.

    There should be no doubt that at this point that Smid is better and farther along than Peckham. I don’t think Gilbert would have been doing as well at 22 as he did last year, and I think the Oilers are smart enough to realize that they can’t make decisions on Smid at this point in time.

  34. Kev says:

    Thanks for posting that Redline report LT. I’ve been a supporter of Smid and had a lot of patience for him. I did take a step back last Fall when Laddy came back with a confidence that he had a secure position on the team. He didn’t start out with a hunger, IIRC admitted so when he got sent down. Does this young fella, who bursted at the seams “I got traded for Pronger!!” (with his agent over the phone) have some sense of entitlement? Just wondering.

    Given his age, his on the job training, all his good qualitities, I’m still hoping stays an Oiler a long while. But I better see the hunger this September damn it! Because players like Peckham have piqued my interest.

    As for Grebeshkov, I’m hoping he doesn’t take all he’s learned here then go back to Russsia. And help beat us in the Olympics.

  35. Lowetide says:

    Kev: Yeah, I always like keeping those draft day scouting reports. Sometimes we forget our starting points with these guys.

  36. oilerdiehard says:

    LT – unless Smid comes in and has clearly turned a corner which let’s face it isn’t likely

    A totally different player of course and higher top end. But Bouwmeester did not exactly look amazing in his first 2 seasons in the NHL. Plus with the lockout he tacked on a season in the AHL where he was a -18 and 26 points. Yet he clearly turned a corner in year 3 in the NHL.

    One thing they do have in common is both were thrown in the fire very young.

    I am not saying it is going to happen with Smid. But I am not sure why we are so certain it will not.

    Also a lot of this seems to be on an assumption. That Peckham is going to take an NHL spot at some point this season. I am not sure I am willing to take that leap just yet. Though I like the kid and think he is going to have an NHL career. I think another full year at least in the AHL will be good for him.

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