Getting To Know New Bruins Forward Gemel Smith

( Photo Credit: Fox34 News )

By: Mark Allred  |  Follow Me On Twitter @BlackAndGold277

On December 6th, 2018, the Boston Bruins claimed forward Gemel Smith off the National Hockey Leagues waiver wire from the Dallas Stars who put him through the process in an attempt to move him to their American Hockey League top minor-pro affiliate. Obviously, he didn’t clear as the B’s came calling for his services and were willing to take the risk for something this Boston team might need. It seems many in Bruins Nation believe this club is “soft,” and nobody is there when opposing players seemingly take liberty’s on Boston’s better players in recent years and especially in the postseasons.

With veteran forward Martin Hanzal coming off the injured list and in need of a roster spot to accompany his return, the 5′-11″-195-pound Smith was expendable and worth the risk of placing the waiver eligible player in the water for the sharks to feed. His addition to the Bruins organization addresses a particular need many Bruins fans want to see implicated, and that’s toughness. Although Smith is not labeled as an enforcer, he does add speed and grit when needed and not shy if the gloves come off even though he doesn’t have many fighting majors in his NHL career. The Mississauga, Ontario native was drafted by Dallas in the fourth round in 2012 and spent the first three seasons with the Stars top minor-pro affiliate the Texas Stars. In 186 career AHL games, the rugged forward has 35-51-86 numbers.

His time in the NHL with Dallas has been his most recent home before the above-mentioned waiver claim appearing in 77 games while posting 11-9-20 career totals. In an interview this morning at practice at Warrior Ice Arena, he mentioned he can play up and down the lineup at all three positions and spent a majority of last season playing his off wing. For the “we need an enforcer” folks out there if his penalty minutes are indicative of his potential on this Bruins club when it comes to throwing the fists, his career penalty minutes through 77 games is only 38 with a high of 21 in 2016-17 and zero minors in 14 games this season before coming to Boston.

By reading everything this morning in regards to practice and lines that were assembled at the Brighton, Massachusetts training facility, it remains to be seen where he could be placed and how effective he can be if needed. Bruins Head Coach Bruce Cassidy mentioned he’ll play on a line with Sean Kuraly and Chris Wagner but if the Bruins get desperate and Cassidy saying Smith is a fast player with good forechecking skills, mismatching lines during play tonight and moving him around is not out of the question.  A free waiver claim like this might settle the thirst of old-school fans that thrill themselves on the thought of Old Time Hockey but this might be a counter move from the Bruins organization and of course, address certain needs whether fan sparked or just plain fact.

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