Smid Done For Season (And Other Notes)

It’s been a news-filled day down at the Scotiabank Saddledome. The Toronto Maple Leafs are in town, and Flames general manager Brad Treliving held a short availability to chat about Douglas Murray and other things.

What were the take-aways?

-The biggest news was that defender Ladislav Smid is out for the remainder of the season with a neck injury. Treliving related that the injury is connected to a previous neck injury (and surgery) that Smid had a few years back that appears to have been re-aggravated. Smid left Calgary’s December 12 game against Pittsburgh after a check to the upper body by Simon Despres, returned for three games in mid-January and hasn’t played since. Treliving indicated that the hope is he’ll be ready for next season.

-In other injury news: Paul Byron is progressing and should be rejoining the main club for practice imminently (Treliving estimated “in about a week,” but also cautioned against timelines). He’ll be a big addition to the club’s depth. Joni Ortio is in a walking boot and should be coming to town to work on his rehab with the Flames medical team.

-Treliving emphasized that Douglas Murray is here on a try-out and actually mentioned several things the team’s looking for – is his foot-speed up to snuff? – that most observers seem to have. He’ll travel with the team and skate with them over the next few days and they’ll make a decision.

Notable: with Ladislav Smid done, Calgary’s NHL blueline shakes out like this:

  • Lefties: T.J. Brodie, Kris Russell, David Schlemko
  • Righties: Dennis Wideman, Deryk Engelland, Raphael Diaz, Corey Potter

At the very least, Murray provides some balance for practice drills.

Murray is not eligible to play in the NHL’s playoffs, as he’d hypothetically be joining the Flames after the trade deadline. However, he’d also not be eligible to sign an AHL contract because, as explained to me via e-mail by a league representative, AHL by-laws don’t allow players who played pro hockey in Europe to sign with AHL clubs after February 1.

  • beloch

    I’m not surprised. Smid looked like he was playing with continual pain last season, and he was even worse this season. It’s a real possibility that he’s simply done with hockey.

  • piscera.infada

    Hafta feel for Smid. This injury could be career ending. Although he’s not my favourite defender, it’s always tough to see that kind of an injury. Godspeed and good luck with your recovery Ladi!

    • Yeah, I feel bad for the guy. I have never been the biggest supporter of his play (understatement) but that injury sounds nasty.

      At least he will have some time with his new kids now which I am sure is an added bonus.

  • Colin.S

    I know it’s been said that Smid should be ready for next year, but with neck injuries you never know. Feel bad for the guy if that’s how his career ends, never want a guy to end his career because of an injury.

    Also, your point regarding the AHL for Murray, just reminded me of a tweet from this morning: Just because it wasn’t a universally loved move doesn’t mean have to do whatever to justify it. Those who aren’t gonna like it won’t like it regardless.

    Good to hear about Byron. Though he’s gonna get into a few more games before he’s gone in the summer.

  • cgyokgn

    I know our defensive core is rather thin but Douglas Murray? I don’t think he was very fast even when he was playing with the Sharks. His last year in the NHL was with the Habs and he was a -12 in 53 games with 2 points; he wasn’t a good fit with a small, fast team. Very dubious it will work with the Flames but as Treliving said, no harm, no foul if it doesn’t work out.

    • Colin.S

      If he’s not actually given a SPC and just hangs around the team and doesn’t get into a game then yes, no harm no foul. But at this point in the season, having a guy who was bad (very bad depending on your metric preference)last year could really hurt the Flames. He’s old, slow and lets other teams take a ton of shots while he’s on the ice. Plus who knows if he can keep up with the North American game, just because he might look even ok in practice means nothing compared to a game.

      Even if there are injuries why wouldn’t you just play Potter, or call up Wotherspoon or Cundari, unless they are that bad.

      • xploD

        Yeah I’ve never understood that this season, wotherspoon has looked good most of the time he’s played in the NHL and is doing great in the AHL, they call him up and don’t play him so its clearly not about helping the baby flames out. I would of liked to see him at any point so far.

  • xploD

    With Smid’s injury and his declining play he should retire. Walk away from the game and get healthy to spend time with his family. To often guys hang on and get the next injury and their lives outside of hockey are messed up. I wish him well and a speedy recovery so he can have a good life.

    I was looking at Hockey’s Future and their list of the top 10 NCAA free agents, 2 are natural right wingers both with size. There are 3 D that seem like good prospects and I would rather they use their contacts there tahn on murray.