After a down 2016-17, leading to him not being protected in the expansion draft, Craig Smith bounced back to his usual self this past season. He's a 20 goal scorer, Jared.
Craig Smith's season began on a line with Miikka Salomaki and Colton Sissons, ending the night with two shots on goal and no points in a game against Boston. The next night, he took the ice with Colton Sissons again, this time flanked by Nick Bonino, with a very similar stat line.
But then, just a few short weeks later:
Kyle Turris centering a line with Craig Smith and Kevin Fiala at #Preds practice today.— Brooks Bratten (@brooksbratten) November 9, 2017
Oh happy day!
...And then he took a penalty. Well, a honey badger can't change his stripes. Or whatever honey badgers have.
Craig Smith led all Nashville Predators with an even strength corsi-for percentage of 56.75%, and his line with Kyle Turris and Kevin Fiala managed 58.46%, although their usage was somewhat sheltered.
The SmUrF line went cold and kind of awful during the playoffs, but this hustle play by Smith to feed Fiala for the goal is probably the best moment of the entire playoffs, barring Filip Forsberg owning the city of the Denver.
Honorable mention goes to his difficulty lying to his fiance about his guitar-playing prowess.
Watching video of the goals against is still too painful, but Smitty's line was outscored two to one during the playoffs, a near mirror image of their sparkling regular season even strength goals for of nearly 63%.
Disregarding his line's defense, he only managed four points during the Preds’ thirteen playoff games, despite the often gaudy scoring totals from the Avalanche series. He ended the playoffs fifth on the team in shots, about half a shot per game slower than his regular season pace.
Final Grade: A-
Craig Smith had a spectacular season, rebounding to a career high in goals and despite the joke above, cut down on the penalties a little as well. Unfortunately, his final grade falls a bit due to a truly forgettable effort during the playoffs.
Stats courtesy of NaturalStatTrick, HockeyViz, and ShiftChart.