After playing the last several years back home in Czechia, Ladislav Smid recently announced his retirement. He’s now coming back to North America, joining the Edmonton Oil Kings of the WHL as a development coach.
Smid, 36, is very familiar with the area, having played parts of eight seasons with the Edmonton Oilers, and three more a few hours south with the Calgary Flames. The big, defensive defenseman spent his entire career in Alberta, making his NHL debut with the Oilers after a trade from the Anaheim Ducks (one that saw Chris Pronger go the other way), and playing his last game with the Flames in 2016.
He had just 72 points during his 583-game career and had the misfortune of never playing in a single postseason game. He’ll now try to help the next generation of players reach their dream, and perhaps even get a taste of some elusive playoff hockey.
The Oil Kings are off to a brutal 1-7-1 start after losing basically all of the top players that made them so dangerous last year.