RE 09-10: Ladislav Smid

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
  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. Will Quinn play him against tough competition? No.
  6. 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)

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18 Responses to "RE 09-10: Ladislav Smid"

  1. oil dude says:

    Prediction for 2009-10: 65gp, 2-14-16 (.246 per game)

    Those numbers would be very good for Smid, especially if does it while on the bottom pairing. I also suspect that some of his stats (ie. Corsi, GA/60) took a hit after the Vis injury when Staios went to the top 4 and Strudwick became Smids partner.

  2. Paper Designer says:

    I think he can be a twenty to thirty point player if he's in your top four, while playing a mostly shut-down role. How many years away from being that player is Smid? Two, minimum, I'd say. He'll be a useful fifth or sixth guy until then, providing some toughness to offset the skill-centric top four until he's ready for more.

    Of course, if this team is going for the crash course for its young players, it can trade one of Visnovsky or Souray along with a forward for help up front, and try to get Smid ready ahead of schedule. That's more of a "let's score a top ten draft pick to go with our Eberle/Paajarvi-Svensson group" tactic than anything, though.

  3. hunter1909 says:

    Crucify me if y'all must, but I can think of nothing better than seeing Smid and Peckham out there together, learning how to destroy the opposition. Sure they'll bleed a few goals for awhile, but aren't young players supposed to make mistakes, so long as they show the signs of becoming great players?

    Once those two worked out where each other was, fuck me could they ever make a scary pair of defenceman for 99% of the forwards in the NHL today.

    Of course they should have been together in Springfield, but since the Oilers haven't got anyone who knows what they're actually doing in their front office, we have to bypass that route. I can even see Lowe dissing the AHL, saying something just like that.

    You know, like when him and MacT were describing how the team didn't need any protection with Laraque type players, since all NHL players were supposed to already be tough. Anyone else remember that season? You know, the one when the team ended up taking about 1000 concussions.

  4. Bar Qu says:

    I am a Smid fan.

    Always will be.

    He has not had the greatest success so far, but he has shown a willingness to do what he is told (ie play forward) and has stood up for his team when precious few others did.

    If he develops more of an offensive upside and a defensive reliability, bonus.

  5. Bar Qu says:

    hunter

    You just said something I strongly agreed with.

    I am now going out to buy a lottery ticket – this is a special day.

  6. Bendelson says:

    Thanks for the clarification LT.

    Nice to see Ladi's per game numbers are predicted to rise.

    Without being to argumentative, I would again, suggest its a little strange to have the top 4 all dropping in points per game, without the change in coaching staff playing a role. I don't see how possible injuries is a large concern when it comes to offensive numbers from the current backend.

    Have the stats not shown in the past two years that when one of our top 4 go down, the 3 that remain have the capability to make up the points? Or said another way, when one of the oldtimers gets hurt, Gibby and Grebs have a track record of stepping up in a big way.

    Note: I'm talking about offense from the D and not considering what happened in their own zone in the recent past. That's just nasty.

    Just a thought.

  7. Lowetide says:

    Bendelson: I can't really comment on your point, except to say that the expectations that have been posted reflect a combination of factors and are an attempt to give reasonable lines in the sand.

    Put another way, what if I did as Gord suggested and posted a Grebeshkov season that included 15 goals?

    Would that be reasonable? Based on his previous NHL seasons, would it be reasonable?

    I would suggest the answer would be no, and if Grebeshkov scores 15 it would be something beyond reasonable.

    Credit to the player if he manages it, but the idea here isn't to pick a favorite or be able to pat myself on the back next summer.

    It's an attempt at reasonable. No more, no less.

  8. Dallas says:

    I believe the oilers should hang onto all our young D. I think we have a great core that many teams in the league are very enviable of save maybe the preds and a few other teams. The only player I would like to see moved for a top line LW would be Lubo, I love him but I feel he is the best for good return. I have heard ppl say that the young D will bring the best returns due to age contract and upside,but those are the guys you do not part with it's time the oil started hanging on to the players they spent so much time developing instead of trading them off for other teams to benefit from.

  9. jdrevenge says:

    I think after last season, being reasonable is pretty reasonable. I've been turned into super skeptic as have we all. I'm really hoping that this year with my expectations so low there might be room for a little surprise… in a good way.

  10. Promethian says:

    "Crucify me if y'all must, but I can think of nothing better than seeing Smid and Peckham out there together, learning how to destroy the opposition. Sure they'll bleed a few goals for awhile, but aren't young players supposed to make mistakes, so long as they show the signs of becoming great players?"

    Totally agree.

    Smid is what this team needs on the back end – large and rough. He can also skate the puck out and make a darned good breakout pass to boot. My concern with him is that he makes himself so vulnerable and seems to get creamed at a startling rate.

    I've always comp'ed him to Volchenkov in Ottawa, but I think Smid might have a higher offensive upside than Volchenkov, who has never cracked 20-points. I wonder if later on in his career he could be a set-up point man on the PP? He can pass, but he can't really shoot so as he becomes a top 4 d-man he could be used in that role to get more minutes.

    But back to Smid and Peckham. That duo would be crowd favourites in no time after years of passive defending. They would rack up the PIMs, but man it would be entertaining. That pair would also make about $800K less than Staios does, TOTAL.

    For the record, I was concerned you'd do the Staios RE as the #5 D. Well done on making it Laddy.

  11. Lowetide says:

    If we're puttingSmid and Peckham together, why bother signing veterans? Seriously. Might as well wait for the draft.

    Rookie defensemen are death. Rookie defensemen who are long days from ready are death squared. I like Theo Peckham plenty, but when he arrives in the NHL it would be best to pair him with a veteran.

    And Smid too for another couple of seasons.

  12. oilerdago says:

    What many don't recognize is much of Smid's growth has come from his being mentored on ice by Staios (and off ice of course by Charlie Huddy).

    The kid has been given a lot of at bats at a young age and should be ready to come into his own. Don't set that curve back now by pairing him w/Peckham.

    I would also point out that Smid is probably going to be one of the most important d-men on the PK this year and how he performs will be critical to its improvement as well.

  13. Coach pb9617 says:

    What many don't recognize is much of Smid's growth has come from his being mentored on ice by Staios

    See how Iginla is mashing Smid into the glass? That was right after Staios threw the old "hard-around" towards Smid.

    This and the 137 other instances last season accounts for 98% of Smid's injuries.

  14. oilerdago says:

    //See how Iginla is mashing Smid into the glass? That was right after Staios threw the old "hard-around" towards Smid.//

    That may very well be, but Staios has done this org a lot more good than harm through the years. That he's being overpaid at this point is not his fault, but Lowe's.

    Smid is a value contract on a team that does not have enough of them.

  15. raventalon40 says:

    Call him a victim of circumstance but in a salary cap world the best bang for buck usually rounds out your bottom pairing, not the worst bang for buck.

    Staios is not the worst bang for buck, but his price tag is that of a second pairing defenseman.

  16. Coach pb9617 says:

    That may very well be, but Staios has done this org a lot more good than harm through the years.

    What does that have to do with him having only one method of moving the puck from the zone?

  17. raventalon40 says:

    A lot is said about Staios' inability to move the puck but he's certainly more effective than Strudwick or others that have donned the copper and blue, such as Cross, Ferguson, and Rourke.

    Staios is a good D-man.

    Staios just isn't 2.7 million good.

  18. raventalon40 says:

    I think Smid will start to show signs of being more than what the Oilers have allowed him to be, and very soon. He's a physical D-man with very decent passing skills and who knows whether or not he can shoot the puck at all, considering the Oilers are always in their own zone anyway. I'd love to see what Smid could do given more responsibility.

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