I always thought it daft of Saints to let Smith go as he is the kind of half back every team needs, not flash but someone who can work a team around a football field. I know Long really wanted to keep him at Salford, and whilst you might question Long's judgment on many things in life, I would back him to know a good half back when he sees one.
I'd rather Saints had Gaskell than Smith. He has more pace, and a better passing & kicking game. Gaskells real weakness currently is his lack of physicality. He can't yet ride the tackles and dominate the centre ground and it also leads to a few missed 1 on 1 tackles, but this is something that can be worked on over the next few years.
Both Symmons & Rush showed poor judgement and a lack of balls to play Gaskell over an underperforming and incapable Hohia last year. I just hope Brown can see the long term future lies in having a half back like Gaskell that compliments Lomax and lets him concentrate on playing his natural running game.