It’s unique that we’re the only two players to move from the Oilers to the Flames. I felt like I should give him a phone call. Going through the trade myself, being the first ever to go through it, it was an experience I wanted to share with him. - Steve StaiosCALGARY, AB -- Ladislav Smid
might’ve had a tough time putting things into perspective after being traded from the Edmonton Oilers to the Calgary Flames last week.
After all, he’s just the second player in history to flip sides in the Battle of Alberta via trade.
So who better to guide Smid through the process than Steve Staios, the first and only other to swap the oil drop for the Flaming C.
“It’s unique that we’re the only two players to move from the Oilers to the Flames,” said Staios, now a player development advisor with the Toronto Maple Leafs. “I felt like I should give him a phone call. Going through the trade myself, being the first ever to go through it, it was an experience I wanted to share with him.
“I’d make that phone call to any friend or ex-teammate that moves but in his situation there were a lot of similarities where his career path has taken him so I lent him that.”
The two were paired together in 2010 before Staios was traded for Aaron Johnson and a third round pick on March 3rd, 2010. Their connection was re-ignited when Smid was sent, alongside Olivier Roy, to Calgary in exchange for prospects Roman Horak and Laurent Brossoit on November 8th.
When the trade went down, Staios came calling.
“Laddy came in as a young player and was my defence partner for a number of years. I just wanted to shed some light on the situation and talk to him and wish him well. We had a good conversation. He was feeling a lot of feelings I was feeling as well and we sort of went through it. It was a good conversation.”
Admittedly, Smid didn’t know what to make of the trade between the two rivals, hitting the highway and swapping allegiances in the Battle of Alberta, so Staios reached out to his former partner on how to handle the trade.
Smid’s noted his advice.
“He just said, ‘Don’t think about it too much, just embrace it’,” Smid admitted. “It’s good to be in a different city. It’s a fresh, new start. He also told me I’m going to really enjoy it here (in Calgary). It’s a great city and the fans are amazing here.”
But Staios’ advice didn’t end at ‘enjoy the ride’.
Having gone through the emotions before, the veteran of 1001 career National Hockey League games cautioned Smid not to try to prove the Oilers made a mistake in dealing him.
Instead, channel energy into what he can do for his new teammates.
“At no point did I want to prove that my trade worked out in one team’s favour,” Staios said. “I never had that in mind. That’s something I re-iterated to Laddy. Just go and be yourself and add what you can to the new team you’re on.”
That may be difficult when Smid faces his former teammates for the first time on Saturday. After playing 474 career games with the Oilers, keeping emotions in check might be difficult in just his third for the Flames.
If they do creep up, Smid will undoubtedly heed Staios’ words.