Nashville Predators President of Hockey Operations/General Manager David Poile announced today that the team has signed forward Cole Smith to a one-year, two-way contract. https://t.co/tg2K5y0WyN— Nashville Predators (@PredsNHL) July 15, 2021
Smith, who played four years at the University of North Dakota, signed as an undrafted free agent with Nashville last off-season and spent most of the season in Chicago (AHL) and Florida (ECHL). He made a surprise NHL debut in Nashville’s first game of the season, but skated just over five minutes in total ice time.
In 23 games with Chicago, Smith scored five goals and ten points; In five games with Florida, he scored one goal and three total points.
At 6’3”, Smith plays a typical power forward’s game, but lacks the accelerating gear to make a huge offensive impact at the pro level. Throughout the AHL season, he had some excellent nights, but also suffered from inconsistent performances which, were noted by Chicago Wolves Head Coach Ryan Warsofsky.
In the eight games of his I tracked, Smith maintained a positive possession rate—53.19% Corsi—for Chicago and took 10.42 shot attempts per 60 minutes of even strength. In transition, Smith struggled, leaving the defensive zone with possession just 48.15% of the time and entering the offensive zone with possession 55.00% of the time.
Smith will turn 26 around the start of the 2021-22 season and has little chance of a regular future in the NHL, but it’s good for Milwaukee to round out their roster with these types of role players.
Smith will be a restricted free agent next summer after his new deal expires.