Smid is a 27-year old pending UFA who is making 2.25M currently. A reliable, shot blocking defensive defenseman, he is a quite attractive commodity for a number of playoff-bound teams.
The issue is that while he may bring back some value in terms of trade, the Oilers will not be able to replace his defensive presence in the lineup and even with him, the team is still lacking responsible defensemen in their own zone on the current roster.
If the Oilers are serious about making a playoff push and being a team to contend for those spots year in and year out, they need to focus on re-signing him and not dealing him. He is the type of player that if they let him go now, they will just be trying to acquire again at future deadlines.
Smid was paired last season with Jeff Petry , and both had breakout years and emerged as the Oilers’ top shutdown pairing, and were very effective against the opponents’ top line. They have struggled to start this season and have been broken up a couple of times, but are starting to regain their 2012 form, and could be huge for the Oilers in trying to push for a playoff spot.
Smid is certainly due a raise following this season, and increased salaries are no doubt a concern to management, but Smid is not the type of player that will break the bank.
He is the Oilers’ best shutdown defender, shot blocker and penalty killer. However, has almost no offensive game and will not contribute on the score sheet. He will very likely be looking somewhere in the $3-4 million range on a new deal.
A few comparisons around the league would be Niklas Grossman ($3.5 million), Barrett Jackman ($3.17 million) or Brooks Orpik ($3.75 million). All are defensive defensemen who have similar numbers to Smid, and all play around 20 mins a night and against the other teams’ top players.
For a team like the Oilers, who already have all of the offensive pieces they need up front, have added a Justin Schultz already, and have prospects in Oscar Klefbom and Martin Marincin waiting in the wings, wouldn’t a solid, stay-at-home defender be an ideal veteran building block?
Smid is the kind of player they need to keep in the lineup with young players entering and learning the defensive side of the game. Players like Schultz and Klefbom, while supremely talented, are still defensively very raw.
Smid will no doubt have plenty of suitors before April 3, and it’s Steve Tambellini’s job to listen to all offers. However, unless one blows the doors off, it makes the most sense to sign Smid and keep him in the fold.