Smid Zone

The man on the good side of the Edmonton D-line that divides majors from minors is Ladislav Smid. He’s an interesting player whose on the job training for NHL defense (a tough job by any measure) has taken place in the National Hockey League.

Warts and all, he’s survived.

Smid’s skills at this time are (I believe) reflected by four columns of numbers. Three are covered here by Vic Ferrari and the other is covered under the CBA. Vic’s graph shows that Smid was facing about the same number of own zone faceoffs (as a comparison to overall) and shots against as Tom Gilbert but wearing his ass for a hat far more often. Basically, as much as he could drive results he was doing same and they were all headed in a predictable direction.

For a young defenseman to struggle isn’t news. As a rookie, Denis Potvin finished -16 while two old slugs (Gerry Hart and Bert Marshall) were in the black. As a rookie, Lee Fogolin finished at EV for the season on a club that had four defensemen at +32 or better (Bill Hajt, Jerry Korab, Jim Schoenfeld, Jocelyn Guevremont). It happens most of the time. It’s hard to find a rookie defensemen who exceeded (while played big minutes) the veterans.

However, that isn’t really the point. The point is that Ladislav Smid is not worth it in a season where 2 of your highest paid players are defensemen with holes in their game. Smid is a big 22 year old kid making good money and one day he’ll be a big version of Gerry Hart and on that day he’s a guy I want for the Oilers. But right now he’s a guy who is one year away from being an RFA and asking for a pay raise, he’s a guy who is still somewhere on that learning curve and he’s a guy the Oilers need to play bigger minutes this season due completely to roster makeup. On the 2005-06 team Smid could start in the shallow end of the pool and move along at a normal pace. On this team? I think it depends on Souray’s health.

You can’t trade for Erik Cole on one hand and give up hundreds of at-bats to kids. Should Sheldon Souray get injured this winter that means the top 4D would be (in no specific order) Visnovsky, Staios, Grebeshkov, Gilbert. Which means 5-6 is Strudwick-Smid and there will be times on the road (say the Saddledome in a close game after a powerplay) where Smid is out there and overmatched.

The last two seasons were about development. It went well. Greene and Stoll turned into Visnovsky and the post-Smyth dive turned into Sam Gagner. Magic! The Erik Cole trade (I believe) represents a change in direction and the Northwest division can be won but it’s going to be close.

So close that adding another veteran on the blue (at the expense of Smid) is the way to go.

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41 Responses to "Smid Zone"

  1. kinger says:

    Youhatehimyouhatehimyouhatehim.

    JUST ADMIT IT!

  2. Lowetide says:

    In all seriousness, I don’t. One of my first posts on this blog was about him:

    http://lowetide.blogspot.com/2007/03/accidentally-like-martyr.html

  3. PDO says:

    Just hurry up and suggest Allen for Smid already LT. Makes sense on both sides, especially once McCabe is a Panther.

  4. Slipper says:

    Can’t Smid can still play a whole season in the AHL?

  5. MrMackey says:

    I really don't mind this line of thinking (even though I don't necessarily agree).

    My confusion comes in when you make arguments that Hrabel (0 NHL games & 20pts in 86 RSL games over 2 season), or Peckham (1 NHL game; 21 in Nov; 59 AHL games) could or should come in and win a spot with the Oilers, and that Smid should be the guy pushed out the door.

    If you want to make a case to bring in a guy like Malik at least that's consistent with the current argument you're making… but I have yet to see where Peckham or Hrabel might offer anything more reliable then Smid at this point. I have no problems with both spending the entire year in Springfield.

    Hell, Peckham started last year in the ECHL but now the Oilers "like him good" and as such might push Smid out.

    I just don't get where Peckham/Hrabel making the team at the expense of Smid is consistent with Souray insurance.

  6. Lowetide says:

    Well I'm not saying Peckham should make the team over Smid. Peckham might impress in camp enough to make the team but that's a whole other deal and also runs counter to the moves this summer.

    A kid like Peckham can get called up when injuries happen and work his way into the lineup that way.

    The issue with Smid is when he's forced to play something outside the area he was in last spring (easier minutes).

    It's a matter of depth. If this was the 70s Habs I'd be saying they should bring him along like Rick Chartraw.

    For the record, Smid>Peckham, etc. The questions become:

    1. How wide is the gap?
    2. How much more will Smid made one year from now than Peckham?

    Peckham's contract calls for him to make $560,000 this season (should he make the Oilers) and $585,000 in 08-09.

    Smid makes $952,000 this season and then is RFA. That's a problem with burning off those two entry level seasons so early.
    There's always a price.

    But the bigger struggle is with the makeup of the roster. Should Souray stay healthy and play as well as he did in spurts this past season, well maybe this club makes the playoffs anyway.

  7. MrMackey says:

    I’m more in line with this thinking.

    If Souray gets injured in a big way, I can agree Smid might be the appropriate carrot to dangle in order to bring in a guy who can be inserted in to the top-4.

    I also agree that bringing the kids along too quick comes with a price… but what’re you gonna do?

    I suspect one or both of Hrabel/Peckham will see some NHL minutes this year, but I really hope that its because we’re resting some veterans after we’ve got our playoff spot locked up. ;)

  8. trader says:

    LT, you are obsessed with getting rid of Smid.
    What do you want from a #6-Man? They can’t all be top four guys in a cap world.

    If getting Cole means the time is now .. I can hardly wait for your blog on how we can’t afford to play Pouliot…oh wait..he’s a favourite so the same logic takes a back seat.

  9. Coach pb9617 says:

    Smid is one of the two guys that I expet will have a light goes on kind of year. Smid and Penner are going to leave the HF crew digging deep to come up with insults.

  10. Paper Designer says:

    Well, how about we stop thinking about windows of opportunity to win, and start thinking about developing multiple generations of talent, so you can, you know, win all the time? It shouldn’t be possible in a salary cap era, but of course, there’s everyone’s favorite evil Detroit-based hockey franchise.

    So let’s not give up on a player with a skill set that can give the Oilers a useful player at right around the time that Visnovsky and Souray decrease in effectiveness. If anything, we should be stockpiling such players.

    And Lowetide, you clearly have the same sort of feelings towards Ladislav Smid as Bob Stauffer has towards MacTavish. But at least Bob never publicly demanded MacTavish be axed. :P

  11. Paper Designer says:

    Also, are you really concerned about Smid making a lot of money? What is going to use to negotiate, his single digit career goals stat? His minute totals?

    Remember, he’s still on a two-way contract. He might be willing to take a Pouliot-style deal just for the assurance of a one-way contract.

  12. Lowetide says:

    trader: I like Smid fine. He has some issues (he has vapor lock from time to time with or without the puck, just like every young dman does) but most would agree with me (I think) he’ll have a solid career.

    coach: I like Penner as a player, if he had a pinch of John Tonelli in him he’d be worth the money just for games against the Flames. But he’s useful even now.

    paper designer: There are plenty of encouraging signs in Oilerville. Even before Tambellini took over Lowe was talking about signing guys who fit within a salary structure (I think it was Glencross).

    Also, Katz is way involved (although throwing around extra years on contract offers is a bit much) and that bodes well I think for the future. He seems to be very interested in making Edmonton more attractive in the future.

    The issue at hand in this thread is a pretty valuable asset in Smid and whether or not to sacrifice him for the short term. If the Oilers had a Nik Lidstrom instead of a Sheldon Souray this would be far less of an issue.

  13. Asiaoil says:

    Did I miss the news where we are suddenly a win-now squad that is making a bold run for the cup? LT my friend – you are making no sense at all with this trade Smid train of thought.

    1) Smid has not been past by Grebs and Gilbert as he’s 2-3 years younger than these guys. Where were these guys at 22? Not in the NHL!

    2) Smid is not threatened by Peckham or Chorney as they are significantly younger, error prone and even less able to face tough competition than Smid

    3) Smid is not getting paid huge dollars next year – for what and based on what comparables?

    I will say this again – the problem on the Oilers is Staios on the top pair and Souray playing tough ES minutes. If you want to fix those issues then trade those players – not a young kid on the 3rd pair making peanuts who has already played 3 pro seasons at 22 and could be our version of Phillips or Volchenkov in another two seasons.

  14. Slipper says:

    It really depends who you can package the guy for. Any player should be expendable if the proper return is availble. You can’t get too cozy with every player that comes inot the fold, even if they were trade for Chris fucking PRonger.

    You could just sign Marek Malik, and then send Smid to the PB or AHL,as the 6-7 D spot doesn’t even matter when a team has a really good 1-3.

    Now if you could get another good center or LW by packaging SMid with a couple young forwards- that’s something else entirely.

    If we could get a Pominville, Frolov, Williams, Horton, Erat or Antropov for some combination of Smid, Penner, Schremp, MAP or one of the other undressed prospects, well then, giddy up. I’d take Arnott too, but that probably isn’t a good match.

    You either want a forward with an ESP/60 over 2.00 who can play toughies; OR you’re looking for a big minute defender over the age of 25 who played on a crap team last year, thus his numbers suffered enough that he could be pried away for below market value.

    Side Note: I can’t believe PHX signed Kurt Sauer for 1.75 million, and then Toronto paid twice as much for Finger. That’s a pretty repectable replacement Phoenix got for Ballard. So they basically get Jokinen for a second round pick and Nick Boynton. Sick.

    But that’s the kind of guy on defense you’d like to see, right LT? A defender from the Ballard/Hejda/Sauer/Phillips tree?

  15. Asiaoil says:

    I will throw up an alternative theory for Smid’s usage over the past two season based in part on Vic’s numbers (very interesting Vic – thank you).

    I think that the Oilers brain-trust (Lowe, Huddy, MacT) think that Smid can be a top pair defensive beast in the Phillips mold. They have invested very very heavily in this kid the last two year – pushing him to play at a high level at very young age. You don’t make that kiind of investment and then walk away from it to bring a Sauer in for a year or two – that’s plain daft.

    I think that the above is a reasonable theory – and if you want to question the Oilers mgmt on their acumen with dmen – well I’ll trust them in this particular area thank you very much. They may be wrong about Smid and he’s not worth the investment – but our guys are right far more often than wrong in their assessment of dmen.

  16. Jonathan says:

    It really depends who you can package the guy for. Any player should be expendable if the proper return is availble. You can’t get too cozy with every player that comes inot the fold, even if they were trade for Chris fucking PRonger.

    PDO keeps tossing oput Bryan Allen’s name, and if that was the trade, I’d do it in a heartbeat. I like trading Smid if the guy coming back is an older, superior version of the same.

    You could just sign Marek Malik, and then send Smid to the PB or AHL,as the 6-7 D spot doesn’t even matter when a team has a really good 1-3.

    I don’t know what’s going on with Malik. Either all NHL managers are crazy, or there are some serious behind the scenes issues – this is a guy that’s slow but awfully effective. Given Renney’s treatment of him last year, it seems more and more like something fishy’s going on.

  17. Slipper says:

    Something must be up with Malik. Yet none of these guys in the fold from the media seem to report on it.

    Access for the sake of access

    I’m almost ready to call his agent myself. The dude is something like +120 over his past 5 NHL seasons. When before has a guy like this just disappeared off the radar?

  18. Asiaoil says:

    Allen is 27 – how good was he at 22 again? But I see what you are saying – he’s a nice player. Again if the problem is Staios and Souray – then one of those guys needs to be in the deal along with a quality prospect like Chorney. Doubt FLA is interested though.

  19. spOILer says:

    This is a very interesting discussion.

    Are the Oilers in go-now mode? With the Cole and Lubo moves they’re only a couple of players away from having a very good (pennant-chasing) team.

    The cap is part of the question.

    Say the Oil could trade Grebs and Smid for 2 cheap years of Volchenkov.

    Then yeah, we could run

    VOLC GILB
    SOUR VISN
    STRU STAI

    That would be just fine, but there’s no way teams give up guys that deliver tough minutes for cheap. No Komi. Allen has a loverly contract, I can’t see him being moved either.

    Unfortunately, this problem isn’t going away next year either… Unless Smid turns a corner or JBo decides he wants to return to the fish bowl that is Edmonton. Two pretty big ifs.

    Smid looks a couple of years away to me. He still rarely takes three steps with the puck. When he panics in his own end, instead of finding the safe play off the wall so our speedy forwards can chase the puck in open ice, he reverses to the other Dman. And he still has yet to find some meanness before the whistle.

    But he looks like he could be a doozy of a player. The first issue isn’t that big if he can resolve the latter two, like the Volchenkovs, Komisareks and Tyutins have.

    And according to BtN Ladi faced much tougher rowing than Grebs—who is closer to top 4?

    So…

    Give up on him now with all the prospect depth waiting in the wings so we can start being serious about the play-offs?

    Or be patient and keep this season at risk and blow the Cole trade and watch our highly paid one-dimesional Dmen age another year? But also have in Smid a guy who can play for cheap while they get the big bucks.

    I’m OK with pulling the trigger, but I doubt Ladi, or a combo of Smid and Grebs or a forward would bring what we want.

    Even if we could trade Souray, and take on some salary, could we get a guy we can use?

  20. HBomb says:

    And according to BtN Ladi faced much tougher rowing than Grebs—who is closer to top 4?

    This is a key statement right here. I’d like to throw something out, and that’s why is Smid getting taken to the woodshed, yet Grebeshkov is getting so much credit for finally pulling his head out of his ass for the last couple dozen games of the season?

    The Russian is ahead in the development curve, yes, but he’s also a couple years older. When you throw in the possible KHL flight risk, wouldn’t a pump/dump of Grebeshkov (plus say a guy like Schremp) for a young tough minutes defender in the age 25-28 range (i.e. the Volchenkov tree) be something worth considering? You do that, you can suddenly run this out if you’d like:

    Visnovsky Gilbert
    Staios “Volchenkov”
    Smid Souray

    Then, there’s the cadillac solution: Jay Boumeester decides he wants to come home and raise a family here (he’s marrying a local, IIRC), and you can do Souray++ for him (say Schremp and Chorney), then sign Boumeester long-term for around 7 million per (guess at what it will take – I think you can give the guy a 10 year deal and not lose out, but that’s just me).

    Boumeester Staios
    Visnovsky Gilbert
    Grebeshkov Smid

    (Strudwick the 7D in both scenarios).

    I think trading Smid is a perfectly plausible scenarios – but there’s other ones as well involving Grebeshkov and Souray. The organization has invested a ton in Smid – furthermore, the optics of dealing the last “direct” link to dealing Pronger (i.e. 99% of “Joe Fan” are going to know Smid was part of the return, while most would go “really?” five years from now when you tell them the 2nd line combo of Nash-Eberle both were indirect results of that deal), well, they’re terrible.

    I think Smid’s safer than Lowetide suggests. But he is by no means untouchable. That’s a short list in itself – Hemsky, Gagner, Horcoff and Gilbert. Maybe Garon joins that list this year if he plays well and they extend him for 3-4 seasons at around 3-4 per.

    Oh, as for Pitkanen for “one year of Cole” – the Oilers have wanted Cole for awhile and needed a player like him; my guess is he ends up getting extended and staying here for awhile.

  21. Lowetide says:

    slipper: That’s exactly the defender I’m talking about.

    Great discussion here. IF they could deal Souray then keeping Smid makes a ton of sense because the new guy (whoever he is) will be a better EVs defender and then the roster takes shape outside special teams.

    I just want to say one more time, the blame isn’t on Smid. It isn’t. But if you can’t trade Souray and there’s a better than 30% chance he’s going to be injured (therefore forcing all on the depth chart to take on more playing time) then who can they deal?

  22. HBomb says:

    I just want to say one more time, the blame isn’t on Smid. It isn’t. But if you can’t trade Souray and there’s a better than 30% chance he’s going to be injured (therefore forcing all on the depth chart to take on more playing time) then who can they deal?

    A package of Schremp and Chorney for a veteran D sometime after New Year’s might make sense if there’s a team out there looking to dump salary, AND Souray (or someone else) is on LTIR…..

    Schremp doesn’t have a spot here and there’s a logjam of defensemen in Springfield PLUS Jeff Petry coming along probably next fall.

  23. George B says:

    Interesting discussion, but I don’t see a lot of things that people are suggesting.

    1. Souray being traded. Why do the Oilers want to trade a guy that signed long term one year after getting him? He committed to the team for long term, so the Oilers repay him buy jettisoning him? Not likely.

    2. Trading for Volchenkov. I don’t see Ottawa, a team that has been closer to the prize than we have consistently for several years gives up a major piece of their contention. That would be nuts for them, and likely not happening.

    I am fine keeping or moving Smid. We now have Staios, Visnovsky and Souray as veteran blueliners, and if Tambo feels like one vet on the back end is needed for a playoff push, then sure.

    But some of these suggestions are highly unlikely.

  24. Scott says:

    LT:

    The closest we can get to having Lidstrom instead of Souray is having Bouwmeester instead of Souray. I’d be estatic and will secretly hold out some form of hope until he signs somewhere long term, but that ship might sail if Florida actually gets McCabe…

  25. Bruce says:

    Since you guys are busy hypothetically trading off NMCs, why not McCabe instead of Souray?

  26. Dennis says:

    I “like” how now all of a sudden that promising young puckmover and point-getter Smid is being molded into a Chris Phillips shutdown type;)

    That almost seems like Kevin Lowe put that out there to manage expectations.

    I don’t think young Smid’s a bad player but there is a question of whether you really want to Pay him — which you have to start thinking about after the ’09 season — and just what you could get for him in a deal.

    LT seems wrapped up in the fact they dealt off a couple of years of 25 for Cole but I think that had as much to do with them thinking they could never really get through to Joni as it did in thinking they’d go for it this year.

    Obviously, if they were hell bent for leather than they’d have overpaid Peca to take on the 2nd tough min role and they’d have shot for the moon for a tough min defender.

    I think this year is about one more year of development and a guy like Cole just means that it’s one more year of coddling either Nilsson or Penner when it comes to portside play.

  27. rickibear says:

    All I hear is how terrible Souray is at EV. ???????

    Souray:
    .76 Pts/60 Rank 72/229 Dmen which is fourth on our team behind Gilbert .98 (27th); Grebeshkov .84 (52nd); Vishnovsky .80 (64th).

    .05 Qual Comp Rank 49/229 Hardest on our team.

    2.42 GA/60 Rank 136/229 Best on our team.

    1.66 GF/60 Rank 209/229 ????? How can this be? A defenceman who generates points in the top 30% of the league with one of the worst goals for.

    The answer.
    -.15 Qual Team rank 209/229
    His forwards were utter shit!

    So what we see here is an excellent points generating Dman who faced our toughest Competition. He generated our best goals against with one of the worst sets of teamates in the league.

    I think we should pair him with Mr. Gilbert to be first pairing EV.

    Now if he was good at the special teams he would be a great defenceman!

    Pk:
    3.68 GA/60 Ranks 8/134 for Dmen With +2:00 TOI and 2/134 for Dmen with +2.91 TOI behnind MR. Zubov.

    PP:
    .57 G/60 which is a terrible 4 PP goals in a year. Why are we using him on the PP? He only averaged 9PPG over the last 4 years.

    So to sumerize:
    Souray is a top 30% Ev points generating Dman who takes on the teams toughest minutes and has the teams best GA. Is “the” Elite penalty killing Dman who is one of the Best PP goal producing Dmen in the league. He should get you 14G and 37P per season, which less than 10 Dmen do each year.

    Damn you Kevin Lowe for signing this type of Dman! UH! ER! Nevermind!

    Sometimes the truth is different than the percieved reality.

    As for Smid: Do we pair up the 17th worst GA Dman (Smid) with the 4th worst GA Dman Vishnovsky on our 3rd EV pairing. Or do we put the 14th best GA Dman (Strudwick) with Vishnovsky. RTSS may dictate.

    Smid
    .25pts/60
    1.96GF/60
    .01 Qual Comp
    -.12 Qual Team
    1.5Hits/GM 1.6Blks/GM

    Studwick
    .10pts/60
    1.47GF/60
    -.05 Qual Comp
    -.11 Qual Team
    1.25Hits/GM .8Blks/GM

    Camp will tell.

  28. Dennis says:

    RB: Well, that’s a pretty small sample when stacked up against his larger body of work plus factoring in how many guys his age with his wear-and-tear actually right the ship.

  29. Jonathan says:

    RB: Well, that’s a pretty small sample when stacked up against his larger body of work plus factoring in how many guys his age with his wear-and-tear actually right the ship.

    I’m going to second Dennis’ comment. Souray looked pretty good last season in 25-ish games, and was brutal in 2006-07 for Montreal 5-on-5.

    I’d say reality lies somewhere in the middle.

  30. Scott says:

    Managing Smid’s contract is easy if he starts and plays good portions of this year in Springfield. Smid makes a very good injury call-up that doesn’t need to clear waivers and is familiar with a good number of the defencemen on the team. Smid can play huge minutes for Springfield which may or may not help him to improve overall.

    The Oilers would then need to sign another defenceman, and as mentioned several times, Marek Malik seems like the way to go except for the fact that no one has signed him yet. Ominous.

  31. rickibear says:

    Yes dennis it is a small sample. My expectations were low for him at even. I was hoping Huddy could hide him. But I saw what I saw. He surprised me just like he suprised MacT. “Break the cycle” was the quote. He did alot of this with a pooched shoulder.

    Look at our GA/GM from Dec. 11 to Jan. 24 We had these Dmen plus Horcoff for this period of time.

    60GA in 22 Games. 2.73 GA/GM

    Souray -4
    Grebs -1
    Gilbert -4
    Staios -6
    Smid -7
    Pitkanen Even

    One thing I remember is, near this time looking on Behind the net and seeing Souray’s, Gilberts, and Gebeshkov’s GA around 2.45GA. I thought man what a start to a great D. Compared to them, Staios’ GA total started me on that we need to get rid of him. My attitude has since changed. It is also key to note that once Souray and Horcoff were out our GA balloned. Under the need to shift roles.

    Year end GA for our Dmen:

    Staios 3.20
    Vishnovsky 3.30
    Gilbert 2.98
    Smid 2.93
    Gebs 2.64
    Souray 2.42
    Strudwick 1.67

    Dennis I sure hope Souray stays healthy.

  32. rickibear says:

    One thing that did stand out was Smid going -3 over his last 34 Games.

    He went -1 in his last 21 Games.

  33. Ribs says:

    All I know is that I feel a hell of a lot more comfortable with Smid back there than I was with Greene.

    I’ve always been against developing the stay at home guys who never seem to develop (like Greene,Semenov,others) and I’m convinced that Smid is not one of those players. He just seems smarter than that. He doesn’t take a bunch of dumb penalties and he can skate and pass a puck and that’s pretty good for your 6th D-Man in the lineup.

    Deadline day would be about the only time this season I would consider moving him.

  34. Vic Ferrari says:

    Rickibear:

    The last 21 games Smid was on the ice for 16 more offensive zone draws than defensive zone ones, a stark departure from earlier in the year. And he was evens at +/- if you don’t count empty net situations. Good Corsi too, because that’s the way it works.

    And Souray had a save% of .937 behind him at evens last year, best on the team, edging out Robert Nilson, Raffi Torres and Zach Stortini. There just isn’t any repeat in that though.

    That’s why Jan Hejda will still be a very good defenceman next year, but the +/- numbers won’t flatter him, not unless he rolls sevens again.

    Then again Souray was nowhere near as bad as he seemed in MTL, where the save% behind him was a horror show in 06/07.

    It’s the clattering of dice, that’s all.

    IMO there isn’t much to choose between the Oilers 6 D at even strength. None are terrific, none are terrible, they have different strengths and weaknesses, but really it’s a half a dozen 2nd pairing defensemen out there, with a bit of a nod to Vis.

    Outside of Greene, who was poor, by eye and by the numbers. They made the right choice there IMO.

    If you’re looking for an enigma, look at Pouliot. There is no explaining that guy.

  35. rickibear says:

    Vic: That save % surprises me. Do you believe that to be luck or a reflection of shot quality based on defensive pair and goalie combination.

    It would sure be nice to have shots displayed like in basketball with the time of the shot to corelate the quality of shots yeilded versus corsi. You could also get a truer save % for the Goalies and trend there weaknesses.

    Damn NHL!

  36. Vic Ferrari says:

    Almost entirely luck. You’d be mad bet on that repeating.

  37. Dennis says:

    What did you mean about Pouliot, Vic?

  38. oilerdiehard says:

    I am just curious LT. If you could send Smid to the minors. Then turn around and trade something like Schremp and a pick for a solid vet defender. Would that be more preferable to you? Or do you think that just crowds the blue line too much going forward?

  39. Lowetide says:

    oilerdiehard: I’d say it isn’t clear to me that Smid is going to be miles better than some of the other kids in the system. If they could trade Smid for a guy who could play bigger minutes and was signed for three seasons I think the Oilers would be wise to do it.

    Sending him down seems like a waste at this point.

  40. speeds says:

    I’m not sure what the thinking may be LT.

    They may think the following:

    (1) Gilbert, Grebeshkov, and Smid are all a year more experienced, and could reasonably be expected to be somewhat better this upcoming season.

    (2) They will get more than 26 games out of Souray, which will reduce the pressure on Gilbert, Grebeshkov and Smid to play a harder role than they did last season.

    (3) They are upgrading from Greene to Visnovsky, which again should help out the D in general.

    (4) They probably expect more or less the same out of Staios as they received last year, with less games played

    If they do think all of the above, why is it such a stretch to think they aren’t perfectly content with where they are now?

  41. Lowetide says:

    speeds: It depends. Perhaps with a new GM the urgency to make the postseason isn’t there, but if they’re serious about it then a simple upgrade on D makes it far more likely this team can make the postseason.

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