The former Oiler and first-round pick in 2004 (yes, he was) didn't have an impressive year to say the least. After coming over last season with Olivier Roy from Edmonton for Roman Horak and Laurent Brossoit, he made little to no impact. This season, there was some optimism that maybe Ladislav Smid could piece it together and be a somewhat capable bottom pairing guy. That really didn't happen, either.
Playing in a bottom pairing role with new Flame Deryk Engelland, the pairing found themselves overwhelmed at times and completely outplayed all together - though the inevitable usage with Engelland does seem to be somewhat of a curse. Despite the surging play of the team at times, Smid struggled to keep up.
Then this happened:
This hit by Simon Despres, which didn't result in a suspension, sidelined Smid for 10 games between December 13th and January 9th. He would return in the new year, though noticeably affected, still only playing three more games before being placed on the injured reserve for the remaining 36 games of the season.
The neck injury sustained was painful to watch live, it's painful to watch again as this was written, and overall it's just gross negligence by Despres on the play. No player, regardless of their reputation, deserves this to happen. And now, there is probable and realistic concern that Smid's career could be tragically extinguished.
Though it should be noted that his play prior to the injury wasn't anything to write home about. The team didn't miss him as Raphael Diaz and David Schlemko eventually saw the ice which improved the team up until Giordano's injury.
Ladislav Smid’s time with the Flames is probably over. It’s unfair, but he effectively lost his job to injury (and what with it being a neck vertebrae issue, a very, very scary one). That said, even before he got hurt, he wasn’t playing well. He probably should have remained in the lineup over Deryk Engelland - and indeed, when Bob Hartley decided he wanted Raphael Diaz in, it was Engelland who was scratched, not Smid - but neither are great in the slightest, so the difference was ultimately probably negligible.
The Flames didn’t miss Smid when he went down. Smid-Engelland should never have been a pairing to begin with, and Smid’s injury was a blessing in disguise in that it finally forced Hartley’s hand in eliminating it. But it sucks this is the way he probably goes out in Calgary, although he never really should have been brought in to begin with.
Mike FAIL (F):
Prior to the injury, his play wasn't anything significant to write home about. At times, he was the better of the Engelland-Smid pairing, which is a confusing thought to accept. The deal that brought him to the organization to create depth on the blueline should have probably never happened but that's in the past. The Despres hit, for what it's worth, still should have warranted some discussion by the league.
Alas here we have a guy, recently married and with kids with his career in significant jeopardy. No one should go out like this (if this is it).
Smid got a massive contract for what his performance was. He came in this season and performed extremely poorly alongside Engelland, who also performed extremely poorly. He isn’t likely to play for the Flames again and his career might be over. At the very least he could wind up on the L.T.I.R. next season even though the Flames don’t exactly need the cap space. If he does in fact call it a career it would be a sad (and dirty) end to a career.
I honestly can’t remember much about his play this season, with him playing in 31 games - only three since the new year. It’s unfortunate that such a major injury ended his season, and that it could be the end to his playing career, but the truth is, he’s been passed on the depth chart. Poor Smid.
It’s a bad sign for a player when his departure goes completely unnoticed. I don’t remember the last game he played (vs. Detroit in February I believe?) [ed. January 19th against the Kings, actually. He played 10:20], and to be quite honest, I didn’t miss him. Many other players stepped up in his spot and outperformed him without doing anything exceptional. He’s pretty much expendable now.
Poor Smid. Having to play for the Oilers for so long, and then finally breaking free, and picking up a long term injury. We haven’t seen the best of him, and I believe there’s more in there.
This was a tough season for Ladislav Smid. For the short time that he played, he was stuck on a pairing with Deryk Engelland. They were disastrous together, getting outscored against weaker competition by a factor of six. The Flames will have trouble getting rid of his contract (3.5 million for two more years) so let’s hope Smid recovers and performs as a solid bottom pairing defenseman.
Overall we came to a consensus of a D- for Smid. Injury excused, his play was among the worst of the Flames defense. The team was noticeably more capable without him, and spent significantly more time in the defensive zone with him playing.
With the emphasis in the offseason to improve the blueline and spend more time in the offensive zone, it's a somewhat clear message of his future. The LTIR solution would work wonders for both parties as the team creates additional cap space to make a push for upgrades and he gets paid to recover. If he does make it back, is there really a place for him though? With his recent injury, it makes his value (which seems incredibly dirty to say) even lower than before.