By: Jeff Playdon | Follow me @PlaydonJeff
This past offseason, the Boston Bruins signed 6’ 1” right-winger Craig Smith to a three-year deal worth $9.3 million (in my opinion, a steal). A move that looked pleasing to Bruins fans as Smith can provide goal scoring to the third line.
Smith in Nashville
Before Craig Smith came to Boston he was a part of the Nashville Predators for nine seasons. With his time at Nashville he totaled 165 goals, 170 assists, and 335 total points. Arguably his best season with Nashville was the 2017-2018 season where he totaled 25 goals along with 26 assists for the season. That Predators team would make the playoffs but lose to the Winnipeg Jets in the second round of the playoffs.
What does Smith bring to Boston
The Bruins wanted to sign a shooter this offseason, and trust me; this guy IS a shooter.
“You can’t score if you don’t shoot; I try to pick my spots. If I get time and space, I’m going to rip it,” said Craig Smith in an interview this year just after signing with Boston.
Coming into this season, Boston was looking for much-needed depth and scoring as they were eliminated in the second round by the Lightning four games to one.
So far, Craig Smith has been lined up on the third line alongside left-winger Trent Frederic and centermen Charlie Coyle. This season Craig Smith has tallied three goals, two assists, and a plus-minus of +3. Craig Smith brings a shoot-first approach to Boston, who already has 26 shots on the season, and hopes to give them a much-needed boost in scoring that doesn’t just come from the Bruins star-studded first line (Brad Marchand, Patrice Bergeron, David Pastrnak).
Moving up to the First Line
Coach Bruce Cassidy decided to promote Smith to the first line against the Penguins on January 28th since David Pastrnak was still injured and Jake Debrusk was recently injured. Before the game, Smith was asked about stepping up and joining the first line.
“It’s going to be fun; they’re great players; I’ve been taking it all in at practice and stuff…they play with a lot of tempo. I’m going to try to get in there, do my best, and have some fun, use my legs and try to create that way.”
The Bruins would end up winning that game by a score of 4-1. Even though Smith would end up with a -1 line on the game, he led the Bruins with shots on net with four. Craig Smith and Boston so far are 6-1-2 on the season and look to stay hot as they visit the Philadelphia Flyers for two games February 3rd and 5th.