One of the few bright spots this season for Oilers fans has been the apparent progression of Ladislav Smid. The young defenceman is the only piece of the Pronger trade currently playing a regular shift for the Oilers, and in his fourth season with the team looks to have made significant strides.
At least, Smid looks to have made significant strides when paired with veteran defenceman Lubomir Visnovsky. Away from Visnovsky, the picture gets a little murkier. From Vic Ferrari’s excellent site timeonice.com, here are Smid’s on-ice totals in goals, shots and Corsi with and without Visnovsky:
|With Visnovsky||+26/-18 = +8||+269/-246 = +23||+484/-488 = -4|
|Without Visnovsy||+9/-12 = -3||+102/-166 = -64||+186/-308 = -122|
Smid’s numbers with Visnovsky are exceptional, especially for the train wreck that is the 2009-10 Edmonton Oilers. Away from Visnovsky, however, Smid becomes part of the problem.
None of this means that the Oilers should part with Smid; young defensive defenceman take a long time to develop, and Smid’s talents are in short supply on the Oilers blue-line. However, they probably should be careful not to overvalue Smid based on his success with the team’s best defenceman; he’s probably not ready to be paired with a developing defenceman or to carry the load on his own at this point in time.