By John Vogl
Position: Right wing
Junior team: Oshawa (OHL)
Born: Windsor, Ont.
Measurables: 6-foot-7, 208 pounds
2013-14 stats: 64 games, 16 goals, 24 assists, 40 points
Central Scouting rank: No. 39 (North America)
Lowdown: Smith’s rise has been as remarkable as his height. The forward was draft eligible last year, but teams passed him over after he missed half of the season with sliced tendons in his hand. NHL Central Scouting had him just 140th in its midterm rankings, but he skyrocketed more than 100 spots in the final evaluations.
A sudden nose for the net, featuring the ability to get close to it, lifted Smith’s stock. Though he totaled just 16 goals this season – low for top prospects – he had only one in his first 45 games over two seasons. The winger had an excellent playoff showing, too, recording eight assists and 11 points in 12 games.
As his size would suggest, Smith is quick to stick up for teammates. Like many fast-growing kids, he lacks coordination. He’ll need to improve his speed and agility to make it to the NHL. He was a baseball prospect but gave up the sport to concentrate on hockey.
He said it: “I have more to give. The coordination started to come along. I started to become a man as I played with men. I think just getting my weight up and being able to skate and compete at the level that OHL guys compete at is what has helped me the most." – Smith, to Yahoo.ca.
The Buffalo News is profiling 30 prospects in 30 days leading up to the NHL draft, which begins June 27.
taggedNHL Entry Draft