I slept on it last night and the more I think about it, the more I like this deal.
Schmidt is a really good player. He was a #2/#3 defensemen on a contender who instantly upgrades our defense and fills an organizational need at RD (even though he isn't a RHD). He fits well with either Hughes or Edler, but pairing him with Edler would give us a puck mover on each of the top two pairings. He's also reliable enough defensively that he could play with Hughes in offensive situations. For next year at least, who have 4 defensemen who could realistically hit 30+ points, which is pretty exciting.
This could be very similar to the Miller trade in terms of the impact it could have on our team. Schmidt will have the expectation of contending given his team's success over the last three years. That should be a positive influence on our young defensemen, especially if he gets to play with one of them like Juolevi. The contract is similar to Miller's in that there is some considerable term left on the deal, which means he'll be locked in with our group for the forseeable future.
The main concern I had with this deal initially was the contract. The term left on the deal was considerable and right now we don't have much flexibility to fill out our roster. However, Schmidt isn't a complimentary or depth piece that is being overpaid, he is a quality piece with cost certainty. To me, this means we will likely be shedding the bloated contracts over the next few years (Beagle, Roussel, Myers, etc.) and committing cap space to important players. Schmidt's skating ability mitigates some of the fears of a decline in the back half of the contract too. The only thing that is an unrefutably negative is his injury history.
The other thing that clicked for me was the situation that the trade was made under and our offseason as a whole. I realized that management had likely been planning for this or something like this since the beginning. They were always planning on acquiring a quality defensemen on the cheap from a team that gets squeezed out. The Pietrangelo/Vegas rumours have been going on for a while, so Schmidt was likely identified as a potential target before Free Agency opened. That helps to explain why they reportedly barely contacted Tanev and Stetcher; they already had their succession plan in place, it just didn't happen on the first day of Free Agency. And then as soon as Pietrangelo signed and Schmidt was made available, management offered a deal that was good enough for Vegas to close the deal fairly quickly after. This prevents negotiations with other teams and risking losing out on their targeted player. Even then, acquiring a top end defensemen for a 3rd is a gross underpayment. Schmidt would have been worth a 1st + A prospect in a normal trade. This is me filling in the blanks without all the information so I could be way off, but this is the way I interpret it at least.
I've grown to really like this deal for us.