CALGARY, AB -- When Ladislav Smid was dealt from the Edmonton Oilers to the Calgary Flames on Nov. 8, 2013, he wasn't sure what to expect.
The gritty defenceman had spent his entire NHL career with the Oilers and was firmly rooted in Edmonton. He knew the systems and was well-versed in what to expect during practices. His day-to-day routine was set.
As it turns out, the move to Calgary was a drastic departure from what he had experienced with his former club.
"When I came here from Edmonton, and nothing against Edmonton, but the practices here are just on a different level. It's like a game.
"I think it's getting you ready for the games and it's not as big of a transition from practice to game."
Going through Bob Hartley practices last year has Smid feeling prepared for the rigors of camp. The Flames bench boss is known for his intense, high-spirited training camp sessions and giving anything less than 100 per cent is considered unacceptable.
"What I heard was [that it is] an old school camp, really hard practices. Get ready for the season. I experienced a little bit last year during the season. The team has their own identity and that's hard work."
Heading into the 2014-15 campaign, Smid is feeling settled in Calgary and is aiming to help the team land a spot in the post-season.
He believes the team can build off the momentum they had in the second half of the year, pushing their way past the opposition with an unyielding work ethic and a never-quit attitude.
"I have high hopes. It was kind of strange for me last year, joining the team kind of in the middle of the season. It's nice to have that start right from the beginning. Experience the camp, experience the testing, join the group right off the bat."
"Our goal is simple. We are all shooting for the playoffs. But we all know we have to take it step by step."
The Flames have brought in the likes Sheldon Brookbank, Raphael Diaz, and Nolan Yonkman to camp on try-out agreements and signed Smid's former Edmonton teammate Corey Potter to a one-year, two way deal. Deryk Engelland, another veteran, was signed to a three-year deal.
These moves will force quite a bit of competition for roster spots in Calgary and may alter where players fall on the depth chart. According to Smid, that will be beneficial to the team as a whole.
"It's going to create good, healthy competition. We're going to push each other. And it's always great to have depth with quality players so I'm really excited about that."