Smid drops to seventh on chart

ROBERT TYCHKOWSKI, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 9:22 AM ET

JASPER -- Ladislav Smid, a traditionally slow starter in training camp, is a step behind again. He slid into the seventh spot, meaning he could be in the press box for the season opener.

Jason Strudwick, who's had a very good camp is taking the place of Smid, who hasn't, alongside Steve Staios.

"It hasn't been a great camp for Laddie, he probably needed a better one," said MacTavish, who'll have a much shorter leash on all his players, given the depth at his disposal. "The bottom line for me this year is we have to play people right out of the gate who are going to help us win immediately.

"In years past there's always been some latitude for young guys to play through some early-season mistakes while they gain the experience, but that's not our mindset this year, we've got to win. We're going to play the personnel who give us our best chance."

Lukewarm Septembers are nothing new for Smid, who began last season in Springfield. This is also a case of Strudwick turning in a solid, physical camp.

"He's surprised me, he's played a lot better than I thought he was going to play," said MacTavish. "He had a good game in Dallas to end the preseason. He played well defensively and that's the bottom line; you have to provide something.

"If you're not going to provide offence, at the end of the day you have to be pretty solid defensively. I think Strudwick's done a better job of that so far."

Late hits ...

Rob Schremp, in New York for his grandfather's funeral, is expected to return to Edmonton today, at which point he'll likely be assigned to Springfield, getting the Oilers down to the 23-man roster limit.

Steve MacIntyre is also taking some personal time after his father-in-law died.

"You have to be respectful of the family obligations," said MacTavish. "Family is important and we want to make sure we give them the time that they need."

Mathieu Roy is injured (wrist) and doesn't count against the roster, but a move will have to be made with him shortly.


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