The Hockey Writers Nashville Predators staff writer Colin Fitts will evaluate the performance of each player on the 2014-15 Predators roster every weekday in alphabetical order. You can follow Colin on Twitter, @FittsTHW.
Position: Right wing
Height/Weight: 6-foot-1, 202 lbs
Stat Line: 82 GP, 23 G, 21 A, 44 PTS, +11 +/-, 44 PIM, 77 hits, 17 blocked shots, 15:44 AVG TOI
Playoffs Stat Line: 6 GP, 2 G, 3 A, 5 PTS, +2 +/-, 0 PIM, 18 hits, 2 blocked shots, 20:33 AVG TOI
*Points at Home vs Away: Home – 11 G, 14 A | Away – 12 G, 7 A
*Giveaway/Takeaway Correlation: 54 giveaways, 41 takeaways
Contract Status: Restricted free agent ($2 million cap hit in 2014-15)
Highlight of the Year: In a 4-3 overtime win against the Colorado Avalanche on Jan. 27, Smith sniped one past goaltender Semyon Varlamov on a breakaway for the overtime game-winner.
Strengths: Smith is a pure scorer. Last season, he was tied for second in goals (23), third in points (44) and led the team in shots on goal (252). Entering the year, there were question marks surrounding his consistency on offense. Smith answered those questions with his second consecutive 20-goal season. He also possesses quick hands and excellent skating abilities.
Weaknesses: There are not many weaknesses to Smith’s game. As I said earlier, he is a pure scorer. However, Nashville would surely like to get more production from Smith, especially if he gets a pay raise in his new contract.
What to Expect Next Season: Contract talks between the Predators and Smith have gone unreported, if they’ve begun. Nashville has until June 30 to tender a qualifying offer to the RFA before he becomes a UFA. Once Smith is qualified, expect the two sides to agree to a one-year, bridge contract of around $3 – $3.5 million for next season. On the ice, Smith is expected to replicate the numbers of 2013-14 in which he scored 52 points (24 goals, 28 assists) in 79 games.
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Colin Fitts is a Nashville Predators staff writer and is a credentialed media member of the Chicago Wolves. From Nashville, Tennessee, Colin majors in journalism and public relations at Columbia College Chicago. Follow him on Twitter, @FittsTHW. Email: 22fitts [at] gmail [dot] com.