In what amounts to a very odd deal in my eyes, the Flames have acquired defenceman Ladislav Smid and goaltender Olivier Roy from the Edmonton Oilers, of all clubs, for forward Roman Horak and goaltender Laurent Broissoit, who played out his WHL career in Edmonton with the Oil Kings.
Both Horak and Broissoit were promising prospects, as far as I could see. The Flames signed Brossoit to an entry-level contract in April of this year and always seemed pretty high on the kid, despite the fact that he has played the majority of this season in the ECHL with the Alaska Aces (three games), where he has yet to allow a goal. Brossoit took the Oil Kings to the Eastern Conference final last season, and to the WHL Championship the year before that, where they were victorious. He was drafted by the Flames in the sixth round in 2011.
The Flames are dealing from a position of strength, however, in dealing Brossoit. They also have goalies Jon Gillies, Joni Ortio (sort of), Reto Berra and now Olivier Roy waiting in the wings. Roy is something of a mystery to me aside from the disastrous tandem of himself and Mark Visentin in net for Canada at the 2011 World Juniors. Jonathan Willis had him penciled in a backup or potentially a third-stringer in Oklahoma to start the season. His head coach in the AHL, Todd Nelson, said last season that Roy had to improve upon his rebound control and puck handling in order to move up in the goalie rotation. This is the final year of Roy's entry-level deal.
Ladislav Smid is the most interesting part of this deal. With Mark Giordano out for possibly another month with a broken ankle, there's no question the Flames have been struggling on defence, and while he is certainly an effective defenceman and will provide a boost, the 27-year-old Czech rearguard's ability to stay healthy is something of a contentious issue as well. Not counting time spent in the AHL, he hadn't played a full NHL season up until last year's lockout shortened campaign in his eight-year career.
Anyone who follows me here or on Twitter knows that I am a big fan of Roman Horak, and thus this is a very sad day for me. The kid could play when given the chance, and showed all signs of developing into a very effective two-way forward who was sound defensively. Alas, he never really was given a fair shake by Flames management, who choose instead to continue to employ Brian McGrattan and to a lesser degree, Tim Jackman. The Flames also have a fair number of centre prospects on their hands at the moment, which is why I suppose they saw Horak as being expendable.
Twenty-two-year-old centre Horak was aquired along with two second-round picks in the deal that sent defenceman Tim Erixon to the New York Rangers in 2011. He played a total of 82 games for the Flames spread out over three seasons, accumulating five goals and 18 points. He will be missed by me and undoubtably a few others. Fare thee well, Roman.