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:
- Jan Hejda (8 years older)
- Tom Gilbert (3 years older)
- 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:
- 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).