RW/LW / Boston Bruins
Born: April 1, 1991
2012-2013 Numbers: Texas Stars 14-21-35, 45 GP; playoffs 0-4-4, 7GP; Dallas Stars 3-6-9, 37GP
Reilly Smith was acquired from Dallas last month as part of the Seguin/Eriksson trade. He played a good chunk of games for the NHL Stars last season, making his NHL debut in March 2012 against the Edmonton Oilers. Drafted 69th overall in 2009 by Dallas, Smith came to Boston with a connection in the Bruins' system - he and Carter Camper played two seasons together at Miami University in Ohio (although, he was fortunate enough to miss out on the epic BU comeback game. What a lucky guy.)
His NHL debut came days after leaving Miami, and he played three games for the NHL Stars before their season ended, never making it to the AHL until last season. It's not very common for an NCAA player to impress a team enough that they get to make the jump right to the NHL, so that already is an indicator of Smith's potential.
His first goal came soon after the start of the 2013 NHL season, against Cory Schneider and the Vancouver Canucks.
Look how happy he is.
Once again, we will defer to Defending Big D on analysis, as they've had the chance to watch him since he was drafted:
The first thing that I noticed, however, was that he was not afraid of playing physical or getting involved in play along the boards. All we had heard about was his size and skill and the last thing I expected was to see such an intense and physical player, and it's something that cannot go overlooked. Smith's strengths are certainly on offense but it's his ability to play defense and to be a legitimate two-way forward that will really help him make his mark at this level.
I expected to watch a player focus squarely on offense but instead I found a young forward willing to block shots (he average three blocked shots in the games I attended), who could play on the penalty kill and who wouldn't be caught "cherry picking" while his team was in their own end. His production tailed off a bit his junior season (48 points in 39 games) but his impact was apparent up and down the ice, not just offensively.
The rest of that article is worth a read, and includes interviews and more analysis on Smith's play; the bottom line is that Smith is touted as a prospect with great hockey sense who isn't an offensive liability, who can get into great scoring positions and play well in his own zone. The only drawback will be the fact that he's a left-hand shot; slotting him in at RW on that third line would mean that the Bruins have three left-handed forwards on the third line. It's possible that that won't matter, but as of now it seems like a drawback.
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It's hard to argue with DBD's writings and observations of Smith's skills; watching his goals and highlights on Youtube, it becomes obvious that if Smith comes into camp firing, Peter Chiarelli and Claude Julien are going to have some seriously tough decisions to make - and it looks like no matter who makes it in those coveted forward spots, the leftovers headed to Providence will make the AHL club a powerhouse this year. Smith is no exception to that rule.