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Smid Leaving Bears Den

by Marcel Cormier | October 27, 2011, 11:57 PM ET

For the second consecutive year the Acadia Golden Bears are losing a player to a offer sheet from another SICHL team. Last season the Amsterdam Admirals backed up the truck for unproven netminder Jimmy Howard but this time around, it's a player the Bears have gotten to know well. 

Ladislav Smid has reportedly signed a new $1.8 million dollar deal with the Stockholm Cougars and Acadia has chosen not to match the offer.

"It wasn't an easy decision, that's for sure, but after weighing a number of factors we decided that it was better for the franchise in the long run," GM Guy Flaming said. "We certainly wish Laddy all the best in Sweden and really have no hard feelings in this case - he's been a member of our organization for the past three or four years, paid his dues in minors and finally broke through last year."

"Until last week I very much pictured him being a part of our organization for a long time but that just goes to show you how quickly things can change in this league."

Smid was originally drafted 8th overall by the Philadelphia Fire Ants in 2004 but was acquired by the Bears in a 4-player trade. Acadia dealt Patrick O'Sullivan and Matt Lashoff to the Ants in exchange for Smid and Robert Nilsson. Lashoff is now the only player in the deal to still be with the same organization but he has yet to appear in a SICHL game.

The loss of Jimmy Howard was tempered by the compensation of Amsterdam's 1st round pick in 2011 (Joe Morrow), 2012 and 2013. But that return was based on the ridiculous $6.5M contract the Dutch team threw at the inexperienced goaltender. In Smid's case, Acadia will also receive compensation but it is in the form of a single round pick, Stockholm's 1st selection in 2012.

Other Acadia RFA's received offers as well but in the case of defenceman Theo Peckham and Kris Russell, the team opted to match and resigned both player to new 1-year deals. Forwards Jared Boll and David Desharnais accepted their qualifying offers.

One reason Flaming felt the team could survive without Smid is what he calls "organizational depth".

"Laddy is a solid player, I've already said that," Flaming began, "But the truth is he was destined to play on our third pairing this year. His leaving will mean that 'Pecks' will slot in for full-time duty and that 'Rusty' probably starts the year in the SICHL as opposed to the farm."

The Bears also feel that recent drafting will produce a player or two that can contribute to the big club in 2012-13 as well.

"My scouts tell me that Jake Gardiner, who we drafted out of high school back in 2008, he has developed extremely well and could play for us next year," smiled Flaming, "Brayden McNabb and Brandon Burlon may also work themselves into the picture depending on how they play this season, you just don't ever really know.'

As for new signings, Acadia inked one player who fans should expect to see a lot this year. Prospect netminder Martin Jones, formerly of the Calgary Hitmen, signed a surprising $1.5 million deal which guarantees his place on the Bears roster this season. Asked why the team opted to fill a roster spot with a player who most feel is no where near ready for the SICHL, Flaming was less chatty.

"We like Martin a lot and think he has a shot at being a quality SICHL netminder... that's all I'm going to say about that."

There are still two more rounds to the SICHL free agency period, it will be interesting to see what transpires in round 3 where Acadia has three more RFA's who will consider offer sheets.

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