The Fan960 via twitter reported today that the Calgary Flames have inked 27-year old defender Derek Smith, formerly of the Ottawa Senators organization. Smith appeared in nine games for the Sens last year, garnering one assist. The deal is reportedly two-way, with an NHL salary of $700k.
I have to say I am somewhat confused by the addition. Smith joins a depth chart absolutely bursting with similar ‘tweener type players. After obvious NHLers like Giordano, Bouwmeester, Sarich and Babchuk, the Flames now boast Chris Butler, Brett Carson, Brendan Mikkelson (RFA), TJ Brodie, Clay Wilson, John Negrin, Chris Breen, Joe Piskula, Jordan Henry and now Smith. That is no less than 10 (!!) defenders signed to two-way deals who might be, at best, 5th-7th defenders in the NHL at this point in their careers (most at the 7th or below end of the scale). I understand the Abbotsford Heat could use some veteran depth, but I’m not sure why all of these guys warrant NHL contracts.
The signing is mostly an inconsequential one, of course, so my confusion isn’t anything beyond minor puzzlement. It’s just…where are they going to put all these defensemen?