by Eldon MacDonald (edited by @ChrisRalphTHW)
THW’s NHL Draft War Room Rankings – Jun-14: #60
- Hashtag: #MrBigRigSmith
- Team: 34, Oshawa, OHL
- Position: Right Wing
- Shoots: Right
- Height: 6’6
- Weight: 210 lb.
- Born: Windsor, ON, 11-Sep-95
- Twitter A/C: @BigRigSmith
[Your quintessential free draft resource:
- 49 – NHL Combined – Final, Apr-14
- 88 – Craig Button, TSN – Jun-14
— ISS Hockey (@ISShockey) May 14, 2014
— Craig Button (@CraigJButton) March 22, 2014
— Oshawa Generals (@Oshawa_Generals) March 28, 2014
— Goodall Media (@GoodallMedia) April 5, 2014
Congratulations to Hunter Smith (@BigRigSmith) on receiving the Heart of a General Award!
— Oshawa Generals (@Oshawa_Generals) May 30, 2014
Generals’ Hunter Smith Named OHL Player of the Week
— HockeyProspect.com (@ScoutingService) March 24, 2014
First skate of the off season. Just gave me a quick reminder of why people tell me I need to work on my skating… #workinprogress
— Hunter Smith (@BigRigSmith) June 11, 2014
- Interview: Yahoo! Sports Canada– Neate Sager
- Profile 1: OurWindsor.ca– Brad Kelly
- Profile 2: InLouWeTrust.com– John Fischer
- Profile 3: BuffaloNews.com– John Vogl
- Quote 1: NHL.com – Chris Edwards of NHL Central Scouting, “He’s made himself into a player. He came into the league as a role-type of player and worked hard to develop his skill set. He’s one of the toughest guys in the league, but complements that with good puck-handling and passing ability. Big guys who are tough and skilled are very valuable in the NHL.”
- Quote 2: NHL.com – D.J. Smith, Coach of the Oshawa Generals, “He’s a team-first guy that works on his game every day. I think personally he might be the most improved player in our league. Coming from last year where he didn’t play to being a major part of one of our top lines, [playing on the] power play. He’s probably one of the toughest guys in the league. He’s a guy I’m sure NHL teams are looking at.”
- Quote 3: USAToday.com – Kyle Woodlief, “The total power forward’s package is just too much to ignore. Smith made a big surge in our rankings this month, and we’ve marked him as one of Red Line’s sleepers to watch down the stretch, particularly in the playoffs when we expect the Gens to make a deep push.”
- Quote 4: OHLProspects.Blogspot.ca – Brock Otten, “His ability to disrupt goaltenders on the powerplay can be likened to the way the Bruins use Zdeno Chara with the man advantage in the NHL. He’s so big and strong that OHL defenseman had a really tough time tying him up. And his hands are actually quite good, at least good enough to allow him to finish off plays in close or redirect shots.”
From the War Room
Eldon MacDonald, THW: A few words on Hunter Smith:
- Mr. Big Rig Smith – Hunter Smith is just one big rig type of a guy. He has four NHL attributes already; he is gigantic in stature, 6’6, 210, and can still stand to add at least 10-15 pounds or more. He has NHL mitts as he is good at redirecting the puck and can make a decent pass. He also provides that Zdeno Chara-like disruptive, big body net presence that can change the face of a game. Finally, he is willing to drop the gloves to defend his teammates as well as deliver some monster bone-crunching type hits.
- The Rise of Hunter Smith – Last year, Hunter Smith was nowheresville with the Oshawa Generals and before that, the Windsor Spitfires, just a big, lanky guy that couldn’t keep up, 45 games with just two points. However a summer of big, big work seemed to pay off. As Hunter, himself, told Neate Sager of Yahoo! Sports Canada back in the fall, “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.” By the end of the season Hunter was on the power play and a top six player (ending the season with 40 points in 64 games). His post season was even better, 11 points in 12 games.
- Skating, still room for improvement – Like most members of the gigantic club, Hunter Smith is growing accustomed to his enormous size. This can make an athlete in this stage of development look uncoordinated and not as agile as his peers. However, Hunter has taken enormous (I like gigantic better) strides in improving his skating and coordination this year. Many will say he is not there yet and they are probably right. While NHL teams may agree with that assessment, they are also likely to say, “Look what this guy has done already. I think he will get there. In fact, I will bet on it with a high draft selection.”
- Draft placement – Simply put, I think NHL teams will give Mr. Big Rig Smith a gigantic Big, Big Love later this month in Philadelphia – the second round is a real possibility – no later than the third for sure. Hunter is an overager (but just four days an overager, so c’mon); yes, but he bears no resemblance to the player he was in his initial draft year; he is a man now. Afterall, Hunter is the real full-meal deal “Big Rig Smith”.
- Video 1: WindsorSpitfires.com– Video profile
- Video 2: Hockey Prospect Videos– Fight with Nick Ritchie of the Peterborough Petes
- Video 3: Hockey Prospect Videos – Monster bone-crunching type hit on Nikita Yazkov of the Windsor Spitfires
How high will #MrBigRigSmith go in the 2014 Draft in Philly?
Chris is THW’s senior draft/prospect analyst and a Managing Editor. Watch for “The Next Ones” Prospect Profile series, exclusive rankings, mock drafts, as well as the annual THW NHL Entry Draft Guide. Follow @ChrisRalphYQ on Twitter as he infiltrates, dissects and analyzes all happenings of hockey prospects and the NHL entry draft. Email: cralph[at]thehockeywriters[dot]com