There must be some real problems in Alberta when you see a trade between the Calgary Flames and Edmonton Oilers.
This afternoon’s swap of defenseman Ladislav Smid and prospect goalie Olivier Roy from Edmonton for Calgary prospect goalie Laurent Brossoit and center Roman Horak is only the second time the provincial rivals have worked out a deal. The Oilers sent Steve Staois to the Flames for a second round pick a few years back.
The trade fills some needs for a pair of teams with plenty of holes. For Edmonton, the swap, combined with the signing of free agent Ilya Bryzgalov, is an injection of present and future between the pipes. Brossoit is a recent graduate of the WHL’s Edmonton Oil Kings. He has split his rookie pro season between Abbotsford and Alaska, struggling in the AHL and very solid in the ECHL.
The Flames are also unproven in goal, but are teeming with prospects. Karri Ramo and Reto Berra are in Calgary now, but the big hopes are with Finn Joni Ortio in Abbotsford and collegian Jon Gillies with Providence. Gillies will be the starter for the U.S. team at the world juniors. Roy will serve as backup to Ortio and Joey MacDonald in the AHL.
Brossoit is sure to see a lot more playing time with Oklahoma City in the AHL. The Oilers are very familiar with him having watched him star with the Oil Kings.
Calgary was in dire need of a top four defenseman since Mark Giordano broke his ankle three weeks ago. Smid will help fill that hole as Kris Russell and Chris Butler have logged in the neighborhood of 25 minutes a night. At 27, Smid is young enough to fit into Calgary’s rebuild mode. GM Jay Feaster has said he has no interest in players who are post-apex.
Going to Edmonton is Horak, who the Flames acquired from the New York Rangers two years ago for disgruntled first-rounder Tim Erixon. Horak played reasonably well with Calgary in various recalls, but the Flames clearly determined he doesn’t have the skill to play a top-six role and isn’t strong or feisty enough to fill a spot on the energy lines. Horak was beat out of an NHL job this fall by Sean Monahan and Joe Colborne and has been with the Heat in the AHL.
Losing Smid doesn’t help the spotty Edmonton defense, but the two moves show the Oilers believe the biggest problem so far this season has been with goaltending.