Treliving: Ladislav Smid will not play this season

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.

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.
  • MontanaMan

    For all of those panicking on FN over the cap, please take this as a lesson learned to trust Tre when it comes to finances. Now, quickly sign JG and Nak and all is well.

  • McRib

    I’m not freaking out about the cap situation, but do think it’s kind of funny that this team is right up against the cap. I mean we just finished fifth last in the league (would have finished third last if not for two last minute wins, yeah yeah bad goaltending). Obviously someone as capable as Treliving is aware that we have some bad contracts and as I have said before I think some of those 2014 contracts are more to blame on Burke before Tre gained full control.

    However now if Nakladal isn’t signed immediately the Flames should just go ahead and immediately fire their advanced stat person on payroll, because that would indicate that he clearly has no say in contract signings (see Jooris already). If Nakladal does resign with Calgary he deserves to become an immediate fan favourite because he would have kept his word on a handshake deal months ago instead of signing somewhere else, loyalty is hard to find these days. Not to mention Nakladal is the missing fourth defender we have been looking for Hamilton, get it done Tre!

    • Baalzamon

      Can’t sign Nakladal immediately. Have to wait for Gaudreau, then for Smid to actually hit LTIR (unless Gaudreau’s number comes in way lower than expected).

    • slapshot444

      “However now if Nakladal isn’t signed immediately the Flames should just go ahead and immediately fire their advanced stat person on payroll,”

      Advance stats are only one of the many criteria used when evaluating a player for contract. There is a list of criteria that Tre and his staff use.

      Putting all your eggs in one basket of information would never be advisable.

      • McRib

        Even from a traditionalist approach Josh Jooris was greatly under utilized last season and had further value, advanced stats aside. I understand that it is important to weigh all factors, but recently advanced stats doesn’t even seem to be in the conversation when it comes to our signings and that’s what I was speaking on (at least since Frolik, Elliot signings, although both those players were appealing aside from advanced stats when you looked at traditional counting stats like points, save percentage). Any good advanced stat person would have also communicated to Hartley last year that Dougie Hamilton was one of the best PP defenders in the league and he should have been on PP1 before the last ten games of the year when the season was over. Our underutilization last year of Frolik (no power play time) would actually justify the fact that we also didn’t know how good he was from a possession standpoint when we made that signing as well.

        To be honest at this point it seems like our advanced stat person is just a figured head, even Edmonton let Tyler Dellow make the odd signing or trade decision (Purcell, Pouliot, etc) before they let him go this season. Hahah. I can’t tell you one decision that our advanced stat person has significantly helped make or even the name of our advanced stat person. Lol. I used to be staunchly on the traditionalist side of things, but I would be hard pressed to argue much now with the advanced stat community as they have proven to me time and time again to have quantifiable data (remember when they predicted the Flames PDO would fall back down to earth last season and we wouldn’t make the playoffs?).

        On a related note remember when Bob Hartley put Smid and Engelland on the same pairing for 5+ games in a row? Corsi relative prior to that occasion would have told you exactly what was about to happen and it was gloriously even worse than expected… That’s also probably when I stopped questioning advanced stats.

        • Greatsave

          Any good advanced stat hockey person would have also communicated to Hartley last year that Dougie Hamilton was one of the best PP defenders in the league and he should have been on PP1 before the last ten games of the year when the season was over.

          That’s why I say “pish-tosh!” to anyone who says “Hamilton was trash early on and didn’t deserve to play PP1 time”. Guy’s body of work with Boston should have warranted that spot. The coach shouldn’t *only* consider what a player has shown/achieved under his watch. Especially when said player was acquired for a first-rounder and signed to a $5.75m AAV contract. You don’t ask him to prove himself from scratch.

        • Stan

          So let me get this straight:

          Any poor decisions made by coaching/management (eg. poor player utilization, not resigning Jooris, etc…) are because they don’t have an “advanced stats guy”.

          Any good decisions made by coaching/management (eg. Frolik signing, Elliott signing, etc…) are because of counting stats and it’s a pure coincidence that they also have good advanced stats?

          You can’t have it both ways bud! Btw, the flames employ a guy by the name of Chris Snow as their director of video and statistical analysis.

  • ronipedia

    “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.”

    That’s not quite how it works. They would only get the full $3.5m if they are right at the cap. Otherwise, they only get cap relief in the amount over the cap they need to fit the $3.5m in. ie if they are at $72m, and the cap is $73m, they get $2.5m in space.

    However! It looks to me like the Flames can be over the cap on opening day, if they immediately put Ladi on LTIR, as long as they’re over by less than his $3.5m. They can sign Nak before opening day, and when it arrives, they will be deemed to have already replaced him as an unfit-to-play player.

    In that case I don’t believe they get the full potential use of his cap space though. ie. if they are at $74m on opening day, that $1m is their extra cap space period. They don’t get any further space to “replace” him, cause they have supposedly already done that.

    • Just a Fan

      So the goal is to be over the cap by exactly 3.5 M on opening day?

      Does this mean that regardless of what happens they will be up against the cap this season (no wiggle room )

      • piscera.infada

        No. It would be as close as possible to the cap.

        As he said, the “cap savings” of LTIR equal: the amount of the cap hit, less the amount under the cap at the time of the move.

        In other words, “cap savings” from LTIR are designed as relief from cap-constraints on players whom are unable to play due to long-term injury, not to arbitrarily give the aforementioned team more cap-space per se.

      • ronipedia

        As p.i said, better to be close to the cap as possible. Then you get the cap space, and if you sign Nak, whatever is left in that space over his contract value is your wiggle room.

  • Just.Visiting

    Whether stated or not, the first hope of fans is that the injury does not impact in any material way his off ice activities.

    Turning to the particular situation, it seems really odd that there is a form over substance handling of the mechanics of how an LTIR is processed when it’s apparent that the player will be unable to play for the entire season.

    If that information is clear in mid-August, for example, why shouldn’t the team have the ability to make alternative plans then, versus having to wait until mid to late September to make the appropriate adjustments?

    • Saw Laddy in flames central last week, he is mint spirits and was skating with the lads in camp. Hanging with Stajan that night, not shocked by the decision but perhaps surprised that he would be in camp unless this is a recent diagnosis.

  • beloch

    Flames fans never really got to see the Smid that won over so many fans in Edmonton. Before these injuries he was actually a quality defender. There were times when it seemed like he was on the mend, but those times were always cut short by yet another bad hit.

    I don’t know if Smid can get completely healthy with a full season off or if he’s always going to be vulnerable to reinjury. All that is certain is that it would have been a very bad idea for him to let the pattern of the last couple seasons repeat itself yet again.

    We may have seen the last of Ladislav Smid as a Flame, but I do wish him a complete recovery and, if it’s safe for him to do so, a return to professional hockey in the fall of 2017.

  • Graham

    I wasn’t overly fond of picking him up in the first place, but this isn’t a reflection on the man, just the trade. Its hard to see him coming back from this one, so I wish Smid and his family all of the best for their post hockey future.
    GM’s must spend most of the day chuckling at the media and the comment boards. Several days ago they had the Flames with largely insurmountable cap issues, but puff, the bigger picture emerges and the problem is largely solved. Got to say that BT has proven to be an astute hire.

  • Tomas Oppolzer

    Calgary could:

    1. Sign Johnny to the just under 8 million they have in cap space.

    2. Sign Nakladal to ~1.4 million.

    3. Send Shinkaruk and Bennett down as a paper transaction right before the season starts (about 1.75 million combined) to make sure they’re salary cap compliant.

    4. Call those 2 up right before game 1, leaving just under 2 million in LTIR relief.

  • freethe flames

    With NA eliminated today and the Czech’s playing their final game tonight the Flames could have their entire team together for much of training camp with the return of JJ and Frolik; now get Johnny signed as well as Nakdladal. That would leave Monny injured with his back, Backs with his concussion and Pribyl still rehabbing his knee..

  • OKG

    McRib wrote:

    (remember when they predicted the Flames PDO would fall back down to earth last season and we wouldn’t make the playoffs?).

    Technically, no. I remember when they predicted the “shooting percentage” half of PDO would fall back down to Earth last season. Well we were fourth in 5-on-5 SH% this season after being second the season prior. So it didn’t actually work out like “they” predicted. They had no ability to predict last year’s goaltending. Our Adj.FSV% dropped from -0.04 (below league average) to -0.95 (league worst) and it would have taken a clairvoyant to predict that.

    Don’t get me wrong. Shot-attempt based proxy possession stats are very, very important. But it a pet peeve of mine to hear how “advanced stats predicted the Flames’ PDO would drop like a rock”