Report: Brendan Smith Traded to New York Rangers

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DETROIT, MI - DECEMBER 27: Detroit Red Wings defenseman Brendan Smith (2) skates with the puck during a regular season NHL hockey game between the Buffalo Sabres and the Detroit Red Wings on December 27, 2016, at Joe Louis Arena in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Scott Grau/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

The Detroit Red Wings have begun the process of selling off assets with their chances of extending their 25-year playoff streak virtually shot. A casualty of this is former first round pick Brendan Smith‘s reported departure to the New York Rangers for two draft picks.

Report: Brendan Smith Traded to New York Rangers

Smith is set to become an unrestricted free agent at the end of the season coming to the end of his two-year, $5.5 million contract that he signed in 2015. In 291 career games, he has scored 15 goals, 67 points, and has posted a 54.96 Corsi-for percentage, all with the Red Wings. The Red Wings nearly parted ways with him two seasons ago at the 2015 deadline in a trade for then-Toronto Maple Leafs defenseman Dion Phaneuf, but the deal fell through. The Red Wings will be receiving the second round pick in 2018 since the Rangers do not have a second round pick this year.

The now 28-year-old Smith again has failed to take the next step this season with the Red Wings, despite being a strong possession defenseman. He had to deal with a nagging knee injury that kept him out for a month at the start of January. Still without a season of more than five goals and 20 points, Smith in 33 games this season sits at 2 goals and 5 points, struggling to find consistency on a team that has had the same problem.

Smith will look to find his niche with his new team as an offensive blueliner that will always look to join the rush but will make the occasional defensive zone turnover. Playing sheltered minutes will help in finding some confidence to use the bomb of a shot he has, something so underutilized in his stint with the Red Wings. He is on pace for a career low in shots, currently having 39. Some power play time on an actually decent man advantage unit would benefit him as well, as he’s been dealt a short card with the worst PP in the league.

Smith was drafted 27th overall in the 2007 NHL Entry Draft out of the University of Wisconsin program. In his final season with the Badgers, he showed why the Red Wings coveted him so much, scoring 15 goals and 52 points in 42 games. He has yet to tie or pass both marks in his professional career between the AHL and NHL.

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