2014-15 By The Numbers: #15 Ladislav Smid

When I played ice hockey, way back when, I began as a stay-at-home defenseman before graduating to playing the left wing beside the more talented players. It was the era that the left-wing lock was in vogue, and I developed an appreciation for the finer points of ice hockey.

It also helped that my shot wasn’t very good, but I could stick-check and pass fairly well for a youngster. (Sadly, my on-ice skills topped out when I was 12.)

But my background in the defensive end probably explains my appreciation for Ladislav Smid. You probably forgot that Smid was on this team, what with his injury troubles this season, but Smid ate up a bunch of minutes on the third pairing until he went down. His absence with a neck injury coincided with Bob Hartley having to play mix-and-match with his blueliners, and a whirlwind of new faces, new pairings, and general chaos.

Because he only played 387 minutes at even-strength – and he missed 51 games due to injury – he only played 100 even-strength minutes with a couple players. I’m relaxing that requirement just so we can get him compared with five teammates.

Player Together Apart Diff.
Engelland 39.8% 40.7% -0.9%
Gaudreau 39.8% 47.3% -7.5%
Byron 44.0% 47.1% -3.1%
Bouma 36.5% 42.2% -5.7%
Bollig 38.3% 42.1% -3.8%

Let’s be honest here: nobody expected Smid to have great possession numbers. He’s a stay-at-home defender. His usual zone exit is “glass and out.” He’s not terribly mobile, particularly when compared to Calgary’s second and first pairing defenders.

And when you’re known as a mean-and-potatoes defender, you get deployed like one.


Lots of defensive zone starts, albeit against the lesser lights from the opposition. When Smid went down, his replacements did end up (a) getting more offensive zone starts (as none were known as shut-down guys), and (b) performing better in terms of the possession game.

So I’m not saying that Smid going down was a good thing, but based on the possession stats and how Schlemko and Diaz were able to jump in and help offensively, it probably was for the best given Calgary’s playing style.

In short, I’m not sure where Ladislav Smid fits in on this hockey club going forward. He’s a useful player, particularly as a mentor for some of the organization’s young defenders. But man, outside of intangibles, you can easily argue that the team has better options at their disposal. I sincerely hope that Smid recovers 100% from his neck surgery, but I’m not sure what his future holds if (and hopefully when) that happens.


  • Greg

    You’d hate to see a guy’s career end due to injury, but the results are pretty clear… With only slightly easier assignments, Diaz and schlemko faired far better. He’s below replacement level now.

    I wish him a full recovery but I hope if there is a return to action, it’s elsewhere. Bad enough we still have engelland on the books. This team is clearly better off with out either of them. Addition by subtraction on one hand, freeing up $6M+ to add a legit #3 defender on the other.

  • Greg

    Smid and Engelland are two of a kind…. both are a liability on higher pairings and both are a drag on each other.

    That said, ::::Smid is a better defensive player than Engelland when healthy:::: and people seem to have forgotten that. When SMid/Wideman was our middle pairing, they weren’t great, but they were miles better than our Engelland/Brodie middle pairing because Smid could handle the quality of competition better and is generally better in his zone than Engelland. The pairing of the two was a disaster, and Engelland’s time with Diaz and Brodie boosts his WOWY. That’s all there is to it. It’s one of the reasons the Engelland signing was dumb.

    • beloch

      Coach Hartley said that Smid was just reaching his stride and playing well upon returning from an injury…then he went down, never to be seen on the ice again….I wish you well in your road to a full recovery1

  • beloch

    Neck injuries are bad news. I wouldn’t be surprised if Smid is out for most of next season too. I suspect the Oilers rushed his recovery when he first hurt his neck, and the Flames are paying for that now. The smart move is to plan on him remaining on LTIR and give him all the time he needs to recover as fully as is possible.

  • beloch

    Don’t know about you , but unless about 4 other D-men go down first, I do not, as the saying goes “Have the Need for Smid” but do wish him well in his future long-term injury reserve seasons that do not count against the cap.