The Calgary Flames made a move to upgrade their defensive core by acquiring veteran blue-liner Ladislav Smid in a deal with the Edmonton Oilers. The Flames are currently dealing with the lengthy absence of no. 1 defenseman and captain Mark Giordano. He’s sidelined for up to two months with a broken ankle and it’s been a difficult void to fill. In Smid, the Flames get a gritty competitor with close to 500 NHL games played.
Calgary also gets goaltending prospect Olivier Roy in the transaction. They sent Roman Horak and goaltender Laurent Brossoit to the Oilers in return. Horak was in his third season with the organization and played in 82 games in Calgary. This year, he appeared in only one game with the Flames, spending the rest of his time with the AHL’s Abbotsford Heat.
Dennis Wideman, T.J. Brodie, Kris Russell and Chris Butler have all done their best in dealing with their increased workloads, but acquiring Smid should definitely help to ease the burden. He’ll never give them much offensively, but plays the game hard, sacrifices his body by blocking shots, will dole out hits and contributes on special teams.
He had a goal and a helper in 17 games with the Oilers this season. He comes at a steep price tag though with an average salary of $3.5 million per season.
The Flames are coming off a difficult road trip that began with promise but wrapped up in disappointing fashion. After shocking the defending Stanley Cup champion Chicago Blackhawks in goalie Reto Berra’s NHL debut, the Flames suffered setbacks against the Minnesota Wild, St. Louis Blues and Colorado Avalanche to slip to 6-9-2 on the season.
While the Flames are hoping Smid can help the back end, another area that needs to be drastically improved is their abysmal power play that is now 0 for its last 30. That power outage has been the difference in the number of tight contests the Flames have been involved in. They are about to begin a critical stretch that features six of their next seven games at home. .
Rick LaFitte is an NHL Writer for Rant Sports