26-Year-Old Right Wing – Nashville Predators
Craig Smith Contract Information:
Signed a five-year, $21.25 million contract extension with the Predators in July 2015.
Smith snapped a 10-game pointless drought with a goal and two assists during Saturday's 7-0 rout of the Jets.
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Age is determined on October 1st of each season.No Yes
Craig Smith: Past News Updates ( ▲ View most recent update )
RotoWire's Preseason Outlooks
Smith finished the 2013-14 season on a relative tear, notching 11 points in his last 10 games, allowing him to finish third on the team in scoring with a career-high 52 points (24 goals, 28 assists). The impressive finish also allowed him to set career-bests across just about every other offensive category, including shots on goal (215), shooting percentage (11.2%) and plus-minus (plus-16). He’s positioned to fill a feature role with the Predators in 2014-15, perhaps even as a member of the top line. Furthermore, given that the Preds are now deeper up front, Smith will also enjoy a significantly-improved supporting cast, which should also enhance his continued development as a bona fide top-six NHL forward. Don’t be afraid to take a chance on Smith in the middle rounds of your draft -- the upside is there to make him a possible breakout player this season.
Smith fell into the dreaded sophomore slump last year after registering 36 points in 72 games during as a rookie in 2011-12. Last year, he tallied just 12 points in 44 games and even spent some time at AHL Milwaukee to get his game together following a lengthy slump. At 23 years of age, Smith still has a distance to go before he enters his peak scoring years, so the Preds are understandably being patient with him. Looking ahead, he should open this season as the team's second-line right winger. But on an offensively-challenged squad, Smith's totals will likely be low.
Smith started his rookie season with a bang back in October, scoring 14 points in his first 15 games. However, it took him another 32 games to score his next 14 points, and he finished the season with just 36 in 72 games, seeing the majority of his ice time in a checking-line role. It was very likely a case of rookie fatigue setting in for the highly-skilled youngster last season, a situation he should be able to avoid this year. He continues to have tremendous upside – draft accordingly.