The Bruins announced their second signing of the free agency period this afternoon, inking former Nashville Predator Craig Smith to a three-year contract.
The deal carries an AAV of $3.1 million.
While Smith’s production has decline over the last few years, he remains a reliable scorer in a depth role. Last season, he put up 18 goals and 13 assists in 69 games with the Predators.
Smith spent nearly a decade in Nashville, rapidly climbing up the franchise’s “all time” list in the process.
“I think five-on-five scoring,” said GM Don Sweeney when asked what Smith will bring to the Bruins. “Five of the last seven years, he’s topped 20 goals. Everybody advertised him as an absolute true professional. He’s a true right winger, volume shooter, probably plays best on the second- or third-line role.”
Per our friends at On The Forecheck, Smith leaves Nashville 4th in games played, 5th in goals, and 2nd in even strength goals (all in franchise history).
Those same friends at On The Forecheck provided us with this excellent season recap for Smith, giving us an idea of what to expect.
Here are the highlights:
- Smith spent much of last season playing on a line with Nick Bonino and Rocco Grimaldi, a line OTF considered the team’s best in terms of both possession and production.
- In OTF’s words, Smith “is a shooter - plain and simple.” OTF adds that Smith “generates goals and shot quality at an elite level.”
His impact, per Evolving Hockey:
One knock on Smith appears to be the fact that he has had trouble keeping up his production in the playoffs. He has just 16 points in 52 career playoff games.
“Obviously, [this] is a great team that is going to be in contention,” said Smith after the signing. “They were close two years ago...seems like a team that’s just chomping at the bit with the guys that they have on their team. It just seems like everybody is out there and has something to prove, which is attractive to me. I’d like to be a part of that and chip in any way I can.”
Smith also added that Patrice Bergeron reached out to him as part of the team’s recruitment effort.
“I have a lot of respect for him, especially his game,” he said. “This was the first time that we had talked, but the way he discussed his team and where they’re at, and the manner that he carried himself throughout the phone call was impressive to me. As a player, I’ve played a little while now and it’s definitely attractive to hear a guy talk about his team like that and how much passion he has for his city and the love he has for his teammates. That’s something I want to be a part of.”
For what it’s worth, plenty of Predators people on Twitter and the like seem pretty mad about his departure, so that’s a good sign!
Your thoughts? Clearly this isn’t the splash that many were hoping for, but this seems like a good signing for a steady, reliable addition to offensive depth and 5v5 scoring, all at a manageable cap hit.