Chicago Blackhawks: Is It Time to Re-Consider a Trade for Ladislav Smid?
Trade talks quickly ground to a halt when the Oilers asked for Nick Leddy in return. At the time, this was a fair request, as Chicago would be receiving 2.5 years of Smid in exchange for a player who was then an unproven teenager.
Flash forward to the present. Chicago has still been searching for that second-pairing defenseman who can shut down opponents. Niklas Hjalmarsson didn't seem to mesh with Leddy very well, and while 2012 deadline pickup Johnny Oduya did, he's not going to strike fear into the hearts of the Western Conference's elite forwards.
Smid could still easily fill that role in Chicago, as the No. 3 defenseman, and likely the only true insurance policy in case of an injury to Brent Seabrook. With the roster as it stands, the top shut-down defenseman would be Hjalmarsson.
While Leddy still looks unable to truly assume a spot in the top four quite yet—not wholly unreasonable for someone who just turned 21 in March—Johnny Oduya can hold the puck-mover's spot there. While Hjammer and Oduya might work, if it doesn't, the Hawks are stuck with three top-four defensemen, and a bunch of third-pairing guys trying to be more than they are.
Edmonton's old negotiations could come into play, should Stan Bowman try to explore a trade for Smid. With the bar of Leddy back at the 2011 deadline, the price would be much lower now. For a team with a loaded farm system, it wouldn't seem to be too unreasonable to unload a few prospects to Edmonton for Smid.
Should Chicago pursue Smid?
Not to start any speculation (as I'll be the first to admit that I have nothing resembling insider information about the Hawks), but a package of Shawn Lalonde and Brandon Pirri might just be enough to cause the Oilers to bite. Lalonde seems to have been pushed down the depth chart by Adam Clending, and Pirri seems less and less likely to be a part of Chicago's future.
The wildcard in all this is the potentially looming lockout. If the season is lost as a whole then there's no point to a trade at all. If there's even a partial lockout, this presumably swings the balance of power into Chicago's hands. Why pay an 82 game rental price when there's only going to be 60 or so games?
Smid represents an all-around improvement to the Hawks defense. A large-bodied shut-down defenseman seems like an upgrade Stan Bowman can't afford not to look into.
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