The 10-11 season was a very good one for Ladislav Smid. Last August, I suggested it was time for him to prove himself capable in several areas: top 4 role, plenty of time on the penalty kill and staying healthy. He showed solid progress in all three areas, and this is the second season in a row where Smid has improved.
There are still some issues with Smid, but the patience shown by the organization is payoff off. Smid will never cover the trade bet made by Kevin Lowe, but that’s not his fault. Judged based only on his play on-ice, Ladislav Smid has arrived as an NHL player.
- Let’s get the complaints out of the way first. Well, I think he’s making a lot of money for a defensive defender (2.25M times 2).
- And? He needs to be more aware of the dangers before him. He ran into the glass and hurt himself and he also was very slow to react to Sean Avery and it cost him. I don’t think being a mean spirited dink is Smid’s natural outlook on life, but it would behoove him to know who is on the ice and conduct himself accordingly.
- And? That’s pretty much it. Smid is who he is, and can be an effective NHL player. He’s proving that with a very poor team, chances are we really appreciate him as the team around him improves.
- Okay, what’s good about him? Two seasons of improvement is quite a progression. Smid is in fact one of the top 4 options for the coaching staff at even strength (16:50, 4th behind Whitney, Gilbert and Petry) and on the penalty kill (2:40, 3rd behind Whitney and Gilbert). That role–top 4 minutes at even strength and on the PK–will be his role as an NHL player. That’s what he’s going to be playing for years, and the results were good. Very good considering the team he was playing on this year.
- Any questions there? I think we need to ask ourselves if a strong team can succeed with him in a top 4 role, because he doesn’t move the puck efficiently.
- Yes he does. He skates it out of harm’s way all the time. However, it never turns into anything. Remember Tom Poti? He’d skate it out too, but then there was a moment when he slowed things down and looked to make an offensive play. Smid’s offensive sorties never turn into anything–it’s almost incredible how little he gets done on them. I don’t think we can ever count on him to develop a real offensive portion of his game.
- So then he’s Peckham with a better DD resume? I actually think Peckham has some offensive tools Smid doesn’t possess, like a hard shot. Defensively I think Smid has improved markedly. The back door play is one he’s looking for most of the time (that play used to be a killer for him) and Smid’s wingspan is a real problem for opponents.
- Will he have a nice run as an effective shutdown defender? I don’t know that he’ll impact the game enough that we can ever call him a shutdown type, but he does do some nice things. The secondary numbers show impressive growth.
- Like what? Well, his zone start/end is a +2.5% and that’s impressive. He played top 4 minutes and against top 4 competition and came out with the 3rd best CorsiRel on the team. That’s impressive too.
- Who did he play with? Gilbert.
- Great. Everyone had their best season with Gilbert. Don’t worry, the Oilers will trade Gilbert soon. Too soft.
- Of course you’re joking. I hope so, but they traded Lubo because Quinn didn’t like his creativity. Bad teams make bad decisions, that’s why they’re bad teams.
- You think Smid and Peckham will be in the top 4D. Neither play right side. Well, maybe Whitney can play right side. In the beginning, I think the Oilers will try Barker with Whitney, so that means Smid gets Gilbert. If Whitney is healthy, that’s my guess for opening night.
- Have you decided against trading him? Smid has some good qualities and if the Oilers keep him you’ll get no argument from me. I do wish the team had chosen not to trade Lubo, though.
- So you’d trade him? Yes, I think so. If the Oilers could get a more complete defender–by that I mean someone who can move the puck up expertly and not have the play die with them–then yes I would be fine with dealing Smid. The Oilers have toughness in Peckham and Sutton with more crust on the way.
- Have you ever been fond of this player type? You mean the extreme stay-at-home D? Sure. Don Awrey was a favorite of mine, but most defensemen bring at least a little offense. Bob Baun did, Jason Smith too. Most of the guys on the ice when the other team has their best players out there can handle the puck well and have enough creativity to send the forwards away with frequency.
- Nice. Very positive review. Thanks.