Brad Treliving made the announcement today that was seemingly a long time coming: veteran defenseman Ladislav Smid will not play this season. It’s little surprise that this was something expected to happen and at the heart of it are two stories.
One, that will give the Calgary Flames additional cap space, a commodity they’re desperate for; two, the story of a player whose playing days appear numbered, if not over.
#Flames GM Brad Treliving has announced Ladislav Smid will not play this season due to his neck injury.
— Calgary Flames (@NHLFlames) September 22, 2016
Cap relief: a true blessing
It’s no secret – in fact it’s the worst kept secret – that the Flames are in dire straits when it comes to their salary cap situation. With the recent news of cap overages from bonuses and the revelations about the Shane O’Brien buyout, this is a huge win for the organization from a strictly financial standpoint.
With Smid likely officially heading to the LTIR in the coming weeks, this will be an immediate $3.5M in cap relief after the season starts. With that, they’re given further cushion that gives them a bit more flexibility. It’s important to remember the emphasis on the team still carrying the contract. Smid’s final season with the Flames is still on the books until the end of the upcoming season.
Moreover, this cap relief – if they use it carefully and logically – can be used to augment the roster potentially. With UFA Jakub Nakladal still without a contract and his sights set on a one-way deal due to familial constraints, it would be a smart decision to see if they can get a deal in place there.
The Human Side: Smid’s Future
Ladislav Smid’s career is in jeopardy and the decision today is a smart one, not from a hockey standpoint alone but for his health. He’s got a family to worry about which should take a priority over his career. His neck injury history is long documented, including his first surgery for an injury back in 2010 as a member of the Oilers.
Smid’s inability to remain healthy has been a ghastly issue for him his entire career and since joining the Flames in 2013, the problems have only gotten worse. The Simon Despres hit in December 2014 cost him five weeks of the season due to a herniated disc.
And really, that was likely the straw that broke the camel’s back.
A brief conditioning stint in Stockton last season along with a sparse 22 games played scattered throughout the year didn’t yield anything significantly positive for Smid. All of which brings us to the realization of how unfortunate it is – regardless of his abilities on the ice – that someone’s career can have so many maladies transpire.
Hopefully the year off for Smid is a big win for him and his family and he can work on his recovery so that his quality of living is vastly superior to where it was and where it is now is with this neck injury.
Additional Injury News
- Sean Monahan is day-to-day with his back strain which took him out of the World Cup earlier this month.
- Mikael Backlund’s concussion, which he sustained from a Sami Lepisto hit in Sweden’s victory over Finland, has him offline for now. Treliving is optimistic that Backlund can start skating shortly.