After spending the 2015-16 campaign in the AHL with the Springfield Falcons, defenseman Derek Smith has signed with Medvescak Zagreb of the KHL, the team’s official site reports.
It will be the second stint for the defenseman in Europe, as he spent the 2014-15 season with ZSC Lions of the NLA in Switzerland.
After a successful career in the NCAA, Smith was signed to an NHL contract by the Ottawa Senators in 2007. In 2010-11 he won the Calder Cup as AHL Champion being an alternate captain for the Binghamton Senators, where he posted at least 50 points in two consecutive seasons. After the Senators he signed with the Flames, but he failed in translating his AHL success into an NHL one. In his NHL career, he played only 94 games.
“Derek is a very skilled two-way defenseman. He brings NHL games and some leadership to our D corps and also the ability to be a key PP guy for us. He will come in and be able to play a big role and minutes for the club,” Medvescak Zagreb GM Aaron Fox told Medvescak official site.
Medvescak Zagreb, the only KHL franchise in Croatia, has missed the playoffs for two consecutive seasons, after making the postseason in their first year, when they lost 4-0 to the then-finalist (and then-folded) HC Lev Prague. Other than Smith, today Medvescak announced also the signing of forward Alexandre Giroux from Swiss side HC Ambrì-Piotta, another AHL champion. As usual, Medvescak will have a very North American-oriented roster, with 13 players so far coming from the United States and Canada. Recently, the Zagreb-based team lost Patrick Bjorkstrand to the Los Angeles Kings.