‘Too big of a risk’ — Smid to sit out season with neck issue

AP
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Ladislav Smid will not play this season for the Calgary Flames. The 30-year-old defenseman is still dealing with a neck issue, and he doesn’t want to jeopardize his life after hockey.

“At this point it would be too big of a risk, I feel like, to try to play through my neck issues,” Smid said, per NHL.com. “I think the year will help me. Hopefully my neck will settle down a little more. I’m only 30 years old, so I would like to be out there helping the team, but it is what it is. You have only one health. It’s not like I’m retiring. But for this year, I’m going to have to sit out.”

Smid is set to become an unrestricted free agent next summer. He only played 22 games for the Flames last season, and just 31 the season prior.

The Flames are reportedly bringing veteran defenseman Nicklas Grossman to camp on a tryout. If necessary, they could also consider bringing Kris Russell back, or explore signing another free agent like Dennis Seidenberg.