Young defensemen develop by sundial. God, it’s awful. I think you could make a strong argument that the Oilers would have won the Stanley if they’d had a veteran in the lineup instead of Matt Greene in spring 2006.
They’re always on the wrong side of the puck, they’re always getting insight from the coach after they come to the bench after a shift, they always have that “deer in the headlights” look after a goal that’s their fault.
Observing young defensemen develop is the hockey equivalent of watching Mitch Williams try to get a save.
Why do teams do it? Well, because veteran defensemen who know what they’re doing are extremely valuable and you can’t sign everyone to a 5M contract.
- Boxcars: 60gp, 0-11-11 57pims
- Shots: 33
- Plus Minus: -6 (worst among D)
- Corsi: -13.4 (worst among top 6D)
- 5×5/60: 0.80 (better than Staios/Strudwick)
- 5×4/60: 0.00
- GF/GA ON: 29-34 (better than Staios/Strudwick)
- Quality of competition: dregs
- Quality of pairing: dregs
- Cap hit (capgeek): 1.3M
- What do these numbers tell us? Many comments at this blog express frustration about my treatment of Smid. Last year at this time I posted a photo of a white horse being chased by other horses and suggested “when it comes to the Edmonton Oilers, Ladislav Smid is dead in the water. He’s gone. Book it.” This year I’m happy to say we have a pulse. Although Smid did play against the dregs it’s also true he had limp help and despite that his offense (0.80 5×5/60) was clear of Strudwick and Staios. It was also not terribly far from Lubo (0.93 5×5/60) and offers some idea about him as a player. Last season, his 5×5/60 number was 0.25 as an example.
- How can these numbers be better? My early hope for him was that Smid would develop into Tommy Albelin, and this will be the first season we can compare them at the same age. As a rookie, Albelin went 3-23-26 on a team that scored 271 goals. I’m not confident he can hit those numbers, but his 11 even-strength assists tied Lubo and shows promise.
- What about injury? He seems fairly durable, although suffering from the usual maladies (concussion, broken hand, knee) we see at this position. You know, reading about injuries to defensemen can be depressing. No wonder the Oilers don’t spend many 1st rounders on these guys.
- What about a trade? They tried and it didn’t take. One of the reasons I hated the deal was due to the Cogliano portion but the idea applies to Smid too. Don’t trade kids until you know what you have. Maybe he’s Mike Lalor, but then again maybe he is in fact Tommy Albelin.
- Will Quinn play him against tough competition? No.
- How important is Smid to this organization? The smart-ass answer is they traded him already, but the facts are that if Smid can continue to develop a little while not costing the world he’ll be a nice player for years to come.
Predictions Past 2008-09
- Predicted: 72gp, 0-5-5 (.069 per game)
- Actual: 60gp, 0-11-11 (.183 per game)
Prediction for 2009-10: 65gp, 2-14-16 (.246 per game)