It’s been a tough first full season in San Jose for forward Ben Smith between limited playing time, healthy scratches and injuries. Add getting waived to the list, because the San Jose Sharks placed Smith on waivers Wednesday, according to multiple sources.
Smith never appeared to find a way into new coach Peter DeBoer’s embrace since the new coach arrived. Smith has played just six games this season and is averaging 5:59 of ice time per game. By contrast, pugilist Mike Brown is averaging 7:19 per game.
He has yet to record a point.
A big part of his limited number of games was missing 25 games with a concussion after taking a Marc-Edouard Vlasic shot to the head against the Islanders. Though, he’s only worked his way into two games since getting healthy and has been scratched in 10 straight games.
Smith hasn’t performed great over the last two seasons. The Blackhawks moved him to San Jose via trade last year to clear some cap space from their forward depth and he hasn’t managed to drive play in any significant way. In his six games this season he has a -11% CF%Rel (the team has a better shot attempt differential without him on the ice) and it wasn’t much better throughout his 80 games between Chicago and San Jose last year when he posted a -5% mark.
If reassigned to the AHL, Smith would count for $550,000 against the cap, giving the Sharks a cap savings of $950,000 on his contract. He’s on a one-way deal so they would still be paying him his full actual salary.
If he’s heading to the AHL, it may be because they feel Raffi Torres is ready to make his season debut with the team after finishing his 41-game suspension and then being sent to the AHL for conditioning.
All advanced stats via War on Ice. All Corsi figures are score-adjusted.
Dustin Nelson is the News Editor for The Hockey Writers. He’s a contributor to Hockey Prospectus, Hockey Wilderness, and writes a column for Rotowire. He’s also written for Gone Puck Wild, Wild Xtra, InDigest, Electric Literature, The Rumpus, Tiny Mix Tapes, Prefix Magazine & other publications. Have a tip? Email him at dlukenelson[at]gmail[dot]com.