Flames Sign Derek Smith



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?

  • He is treating this like a draft. He is acquiring as many picks as he can with the hope that one graduates to a top 4 D. He is also getting depth for the AHL.

    Not a sure fire way of doing business. But given what Sutter left him its better then doing nothing I guess.

  • This gets notched up as a Feaster fetish signing. I guess he’s creating a competitive atmosphere and really make these virtually unkown defensemen raise their game to be noticed. Whatever, I guess we have to wait to and see what Feaster’s plan is as it unfolds.

  • Scott

    Point of order…

    Chris Butler & Brett Carson have 1-way deals (+Wilson on the backend of his two year deal no?) not two-way. Also I think it’s hardly fair to put Butler into a tweener catagory, he’s NHL talent (maybe not elite talent but I wouldn’t call him an AHL guy).

    I’m just wondering who the #7/ECHL guy is going to be in Abbotsford? Henry would be my guess.

  • Scott

    My guess this is Feaster’s way of making a point. Since they didn’t sign Richards or make any big (good) trades, Feaster can say to the fan base, ” look at how young we are now, I signed 20 players under the age of 30, and going into training camp they could all compete for a spot!” Either that or he mistakenly thought this guy was a forward.

  • I just sent The Feast a video of myself skating around on a frozen pond drunk off my ass. I think I have a shot at getting a two way or at least an invite to training camp. Dude has an eye for talent.

  • Vintage Flame

    I think this is that hugely successful strategy called:

    “Swing as hard as you can, every single pitch, and aim for the fences. You’re bound to get lucky with one.”

    Even IF Sarich were traded… are we going to play with a top pairing, incoming trade guy and 5 AHL defenders?

    Scary, Feaster. Scary

    All this posts about top defenses in the league is depressing me. We at least were involved in the conversation a couple years back.

    Today? Opposite end of the spectrum.

  • Michael


    Maybe the thought is, sign as many “mobile D men that can compete for a spot in our top-7” as possible… and throw the best performer from camp into the #4 slot. Let’s hope not, but that’s what it feels like.

    It makes sense that the team needs established AHL defenders to play in Abbotsford, but you’d think there would be more AHL-only contracts handed out to these players. Feaster’s quote on the Flames website makes it sound as though there were a number of teams calling for Smith on July 1, and the Flames “won” his services. They must be pretty high on his upside to play with the big club this year, because you don’t get into bidding wars to snag AHL depth defenders and sign them to one year deals.

    Good AHL offensive totals from Smith, but other than that: I don’t get it

  • Upkeeper

    Hey Kent couple of questions for you

    1. Is there a correlation between length of shift and scoring chance numbers? My thought is that maybe the Flames can win with all of these players if they keep shifts really quick and keep the game simple. I think last year the Flames got in big trouble when players were out for too long and too tired to make the correct plays. I think this is Jay Bow’s biggest detriment. This is most important with D men, but I would like to see this with the forwards

    2. I would also be interested in seeing the comparison between this year’s crop of D men vs. the 04 run when they didn’t have a flashy group of D men. Remember Regher was still pretty new then and not the shut down beast.

    Let me know what you think.

    • I don’t know if we have the data to correlate scoring chances with shift length yet. partially because shift length is tightly bounded between 35 seconds and 1-minute on average and partially because parsing all that info and relating to the chance data is a bit beyond us. FOR NOW.

    • SmellOfVictory

      Only issue with #1 is that you’re limited to a max of 8 defencemen, and you’d be splitting all of the soft icetime between most of these guys, given their level of ability. It doesn’t really benefit JBo or Gio.

  • Vintage Flame

    I find this confusing as well Kent.
    Not sure if they are going to try and package like 3 of these guys for 1 more suitable d-man or something, but this a strange signing??? o_0

    • Unfortunately you don’t package a bunch of guys the other team could have signed individually as well a few weeks ago. That’s wishful thinking. The Feast is just not qualified to do this job. It’s ok though…we’ll all suffer with him through all of this…

  • Michael

    Guess every GM has a weakness for a certain type of player. Sutter loved signing the big gritty bottom six forward, Feaster seems to like accumulating bottom pair d men.

    Guess we will have some competition for the bottom pair, but 10 bottom pair guys on two way deals seems excessive.. (2 -3 on the big club, 7 on the farm?). Maybe the guy works out, but it seems like a bit of a wasted contract….

  • Michael

    I think this is a GM that realizes he missed out and needs to improve his back end but nothing is out there so lets pick the scraps. Looking more and more like Feasters tenure as GM will be the shortest of all Flames GMs.