With free agency now in full swing, the Bruins have been relatively quiet outside of their one big move. Many of you might be asking what big move? What player did we add that I missed? The answer is Craig Smith. Whether you've heard of him or not this is a great move for the Bruins. Signing Smith to a three-year deal paying 3.1 million dollars per year could be one of the best signings of the whole offseason. Coming off of a five year deal in Nashville that carried a cap hit of 4.25 million a season 3.1 million is an absolute steal. If you have never heard of Smith or have your doubts keep reading and maybe have your mind changed.
Craig Smith is a 6’1” 200 plus pound right-wing from Madison Wisconsin. The 31-year-old was drafted in the fourth round back in 2009 by the Predators. Smith spent two years at the University of Wisconsin playing in 82 games and scoring 76 points. He jumped right from the NCAA to the NHL for the 2011-12 season. In his rookie year, Smith played in 72 games and scored 36 points including 14 goals. Pretty impressive numbers for a rookie who was a fourth-round pick just two years prior. His second season was the lockout-shortened 2012-13 season which saw a drastic drop in his production. In 44 NHL games, Smith only scored 12 points with 4 goals. However, in 10 World Championship games for Team USA, he scored 14 points only one behind Stastny for the team lead.
Now entering his third season Craig Smith would see his role in Nashville increase. During the 2013-14 season, Smith would set his still current career-high in points with 52 and have his first 20 goal season finishing with 24. This has also been the only season Smith played over 16 minutes per game. In each of the next two seasons, Smith would continue to top 20 goals while his overall points would drop in both years. This downward trend would bottom out in the 2016-17 season where in 78 games he would only score 12 goals and 29 points. This season was also his second-lowest in terms of ice time with him playing just 13:49 per game.
The 2017-18 season would see a resurgence in Craig Smith’s game. In 79 games he would set his career-high in goals with 25 and top 50 points for the second time with 51. 2018-19 would see Smith's top 20 goals once again with 21 giving him his fifth 20 goal season. Now we are caught up to this past season 2019-20. In the shortened year playing 69 games, Smith was once again on pace to top 20 goals finishing with 18. While his assist numbers were down he still finished tied for second on Nashville in goals. Nashville as a whole struggled to score this year with only two players even hitting 30 assists.
What He Brings
Craig Smith has been a consistent scoring threat scoring above a 20 goal pace in six of the last seven seasons. Smith also brings a solid two-way game to the Bruins from his years in Nashville’s defensive system. At 6’1” he also brings some decent size to the forward group. While he might not be the most physical player he's not afraid to get to the dirty areas and win puck battles in the corners. Perhaps his biggest addition to the team is his shoot-first mentality. Smith had over 200 shots the last two full seasons and was on pace to have over 200 again this year. The Bruins only had two players take over 200 shots this year and only three players did it the year before. Here is a video showing all of his goals from the 2018-19 season. Also here is a video of his media session after he signed his deal. Feel free to comment on your thoughts on the signing and what else you want to see from Sweeney. Until next time stay safe out there and LET’S GO BRUINS!!
Featured image courtesy of NHL.com.