Smid happy to re-sign with Oil

ROBERT TYCHKOWSKI, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 10:37 PM ET

He's already been traded once, in a swap that Dany Heatley struck down, and he's been rumoured to be on his way out of Edmonton in a few deals since.

So it's no surprise that Ladislav Smid has been sleeping with one eye open.

He can finally relax a little now that the Oilers have committed to a new two-year contract worth $2.25 million a season.

It represents a decent raise on the $1.3 million he earned last year and indicates that the team views him as more than just trade fodder.

"I'm really happy. The negotiations went pretty smooth, only took a couple of days," said the 25-year-old defenceman. "I'm really glad to be part of the team's future. I'm really happy to still be part of the Oilers. It was a big relief.

"We talked after the season and they told me they wanted to keep me but you never know what's going to happen. A deal can come up, you never know. I can relax a little more and prepare for the season."

Smid isn't coming off his best season by any stretch, which only added fuel to the trade rumours, as he recovered physically and psychologically from some of the most invasive surgery imaginable.

In order to fuse two vertebra in his neck doctors had to go in through the FRONT.

"They had to open up the front of my throat, move the voice box and the muscles to one side and replace a piece of bone with another bone from a dead body," said Smid. "Then they put in a plate and a few screws and fused my C6 and C7.

"It doesn't sound good, and it was really uncomfortable at first. For the first two or three weeks you couldn't move your neck at all."

By the time last season rolled around he was way behind in his training and unsure what the fused vertebra could withstand.

"I kind of doubted myself as a player," he said. "It wasn't easy after missing three months of the season and the whole summer. I was thinking too much. Now I'm 100% and I'm ready to get back to where I need to be as a player."


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