We’ve talked at length over the last several months about Ladislav Smid and his role on this team. Smid has all kinds of positives (played at a high level early, plus speed, can make people miss when carrying the puck) and some negatives (zero urgency in his game, suffers from frequent bouts of vapor lock, lacks creativity with the puck).
Smid’s progress from marginal defender to NHL regular who can take on more responsibility has been slow. Snail slow. We’re now at a point where the other kids who are bubbling under are nearing the point at which a team will bring them up for a look-see.
This usually means the bubble (7th) defender is in a little trouble.
The 7th defender? It’s Ladislav Smid.
I talked about Smid’s troubles earlier this summer and not much has changed since then. Having lost his starting job to Jason Strudwick, Smid is left to wait his turn and when it comes to show he can not only hold the 6D job but force the players above him on the depth chart to perform at a high level.
In today’s Sun Craig MacTavish laid it out there: “It hasn’t been a great camp for Laddie, he probably needed a better one. The bottom line for me this year is we have to play people right out of the gate who are going to help us win immediately. In years past there’s always been some latitude for young guys to play through some early-season mistakes while they gain the experience, but that’s not our mindset this year, we’ve got to win. We’re going to play the personnel who give us our best chance.”
With all due respect to Jason Strudwick, this is a kick in the pants. It’ll be interesting to see how Smid reacts.