Ladislav Smid may be heading out of town this summer. It’s been rumored for quite some time that he’s asked for a deal on more than one occasion and Smid was listed as one of three players heading to Ottawa in the Heatley non-trade.
Smid played the least difficult opposition among the Oilers big 6 last season and it’s also true he didn’t have the best helpers out there when he was on the ice. His Corsi number (-13.4) and GF/GA ON (29-34) at 5×5 tell us he was leaking against the muckers and grinders and so he’s unlikely to be a strong option to move up into the top 4D on the Oilers blue.
Why then would he have value to another team? Smid is not expensive ($952,000 last season and currently an rfa), he’s quite young (Smid turned 23 in February), has good size (6.03, 226) and he does have extensive NHL experience (202 games) for his age. He’s been healthy despite an alarming inability to defend himself against oncoming forwards.
Most defensemen who come into the National Hockey League without a lot of seasoning (or enough talent to overcome the speed of the league) develop by sundial. Smid has been no exception and in fact was the de facto 7D for this club at times last fall. He did improve as a player and it should be mentioned that his performance heavily depended on D partner this past season.
If the Oilers deal him, what can he bring? As a stand alone talent I don’t think Smid’s value is exceptional, but in a package with a talented young forward or as an inexpensive D option with substantial NHL experience he certainly has value.
A team like the Rangers might find him to be an attractive acquisition for their blueline. They might think Edmonton has suffered through the growing pains and Smid is ready to turn the corner.
And they may be right.