The weekend festivities get off to a rousing start, as the Edmonton Oilers are reportedly making room to make a splash of a free agent signing this weekend. The Oilers have sent defenseman Ladislav Smid and prospect goaltender Olivier Roy to their provincial rivals, the Calgary Flames, and in return, the Oilers will receive forward Roman Horak and prospect goaltender Laurent Brossoit.
The biggest part of this deal will be Smid and his $3.5 million cap hit leaving Edmonton for Horak, possibly making the Oilers roster with his $610,000 cap hit. The Oilers were snuggling up nicely to the cap ceiling going into the 2014 season and with players up and down, they remained quite tight. Since this appears to be a salary dump deal, Smid takes a good chunk of salary with him down the road to Calgary, to a team that has plenty of room.
Smid, a steady, stay-at-home kind of defenseman, has not shown much offensive flair this season in Edmonton, only picking up 1 goal and 1 assist in 17 games for the Northern Alberta team. He went into Friday night's action ranked 490th in pool scoring, 138th among defensemen.
Going the other way, Horak has only played in one game for the Flames, held pointless, and has spent the rest of the season in Abbotsford in the AHL. With how deep the Oilers are up front, it doesn't seem quite as likely that he will be an immediate fit, but might be a guy to look at down the road.
As for the goalies... both Roy and Brossoit were a little ways down the depth chart for their respective teams, Roy seeing minimal time in the AHL, while Brossoit splitting time between the AHL and ECHL. Both are still young, 22 and 20, respectively, so they are still in their development stage.
Yes, this deal does affect someone in the pool... Smid belongs to Brenda F. in the pool this year, having taken him in the 13th round, 291st overall. Brenda hasn't seen much from Smid, obviously, but that hasn't stopped her team from being in the mix for the prize positions early on this season and maybe a little bit of a care-free game in Calgary may spark some offense from the Czech defender, it's hard to say.
The real implications to the pool may be felt when the free agent signing occurs, with some time to spare before the Waiver Draft.
Long gone are the days of the Oilers and Flames refusing to trade with each other, as we've seen a couple of deals happen over the last few years. The Oilers dealing away a defenseman with a cap hit is a curious move, since their goaltenders are getting hung out to dry, more than anything. So making room for another goaltender does seem to be somewhat strange, although no one really has any faith in Devan Dubnyk going forward.
The Flames, on the other hand, appear to be making a hasty decision to not only absorb a fair-sized deal, Smid still has three year left after this season, but the rebuilding process may have hit a speed bump, when it appeared that the Flames could compete in the early part of the season, while other teams were still trying to find their chemistry. Smid should be able to provide ample value as a replacement for Marc Giordano, who is injured right now, but if the Flames are making deals to win right now, they could be doing their rebuild a serious disservice.