Smid highly rated

ROBERT TYCHKOWSKI -- Edmonton Sun

, Last Updated: 9:26 AM ET

The last time the Oilers received a highly-touted player in the AHL as a supposed throw in in a trade for a veteran defenceman, Janne Niinimaa, it turned out to be Raffi Torres.

In the end, Torres turned out better than Brad Isbister, who was supposed to be the key ingredient in the New York Islanders' package, and is still paying big dividends.

The Oilers are confident Ladislav Smid, the lesser-known Duck to come to Edmonton in the Chris Pronger-Joffrey Lupul deal, can be the same kind of success story.

"You're not going to get a Chris Pronger back when you trade him," said vice-president of hockey operations Kevin Prendergast. "He's one of the top three defencemen in the world. But this is a trade that we feel is going to help this hockey club."

Smid is a lanky defenceman (6-3, 204) with a lot of skill and by most accounts has a tremendous upside. The product of Frydlant in the Czech Republic went ninth overall in the 2004 entry draft and played in the American Hockey League last season, at 19. He was rated one of the top 10 prospects in the game in The Hockey News Future Watch, notching 28 points and was a plus-14 rating in 71 games with Portland.

"Smid is a kid who played the full year in Portland, he's only 20 years old, all our scouts are very, very high on him," said Prendergast. "We think both are going to come in and contribute right away."

Prendergast said the Lupul-Smid deal was on the table from the start of the Pronger sweepstakes.

"We felt it was a good deal at the time, but we wanted to look around and see if there was something else we could do with other teams. When the draft picks came into it we felt it was good for us."

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LADISLAV SMID

Age: 20

Born: Frydlant, Czech Republic

Drafted: By the Ducks in the first round (9th overall) of the 2004 NHL Entry Draft.

Recent history: Played his first season in North America with the AHL's Portland Pirates after playing three seasons with HC Liberec in the Czech Elite League.

Career highlights: Notched career-highs in points (28), goals (3) and assists (25) in 71 games with the Pirates in 2005-06.


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