In the weeks leading up to the new season, we'll preview the Nashville Predators on a player-by-player basis, examining their role on the squad and expectations relative to capabilities. So come along for the ride as we look ahead to 2010-11, from Andersson to Wilson. Next up: Jerred Smithson.
Today we consider a player who has typified Nashville Predators hockey over the past few years, and a guy who's done everything that Barry Trotz has asked of him. Jerred Smithson plays great defense, hustles, and never stops working. Thus far in his career its been enough to keep him a spot on a big league roster, but with the development of Blake Geoffrion, Nick Spaling, and Andreas Thuresson; along with the acquisitions of Jonas Andersson and Sergei Kostitsyn, Smithson may have to work even harder in order to merit a new contract.
After the jump, discussing what 2010-11 will have in store for Smitty.
Defensive grinder/penalty kill and face off specialist. I'm wary of designating lines by numbers, because Barry Trotz typically doles out ice time pretty evenly among his veteran forwards. Smithson (along with Joel Ward) will be called upon to take on opponents' top players and win important defensive zone draws. He was Nashville's best on the faceoff dot in 2009-10, which in itself might guarantee him a roster spot.
As the saying goes, you don't fix what isn't broken. This certainly applies to Smithson, who the Predators need to do exactly what he did last year (well, except all the penalty minutes). He possesses almost no offensive skill, but it doesn't particularly matter. Good penalty killing and over 50% in the circle will mean a successful season.
Smithson is in the second year of a two year, $1,525,000 deal that will see him paid $750,000 in 2010-11. All in all, a fair deal.
Smithson scored a surprising 9 goals in 69 games, but only came up with 4 assists. He led the team in penalty minutes with 54, and won 54.9% of his draws.
He also gave us the following highlight, which came completely out of the blue - I honestly had no idea he had offensive moves in him:
With Smithson, what you see is what you get. 9 goals was probably an aberration, and he won't hit that number again; especially in what will be a decreased role. Put him down for anchoring a penalty kill and chipping in ten points. He should lead the Predators in face off percentage again, too - unless Marcel Goc improves by 2 percentage points.
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