The New York Rangers have signed Brendan Smith to a four-year, $17.4 million contract, for a cap hit of $4.35 million. The new contract is a step up from his previous deal that paid him $2.75 million over the last two seasons.
NYR and Brendan Smith are close to finalizing what is expected to be a four-year deal.
— Bob McKenzie (@TSNBobMcKenzie) June 28, 2017
New York Rangers Sign Brendan Smith
Smith has been a defenseman in the NHL for seven seasons now. Smith was drafted 27th overall by the Detroit Red Wings in the 2007 NHL Entry Draft. He was known for his offensive maneuverability and solid neutral zone play, all while being able to play shut-down defense. From 2007 until 2017, this past season, Smith was a member of the Red Wings. He played sparsely until the 2013-14 season when his career and play time really began to pick up. When the 2016-17 season came around, Smith found himself having a smaller role than what he was used to, he was not playing as often as he liked and was battling injuries. However, at the trade deadline, Smith was acquired in a trade by the New York Rangers, a team seeking to build their defensive corps and prepare for a playoff push.
Smith was welcomed in New York and immediately fit in. He had played college hockey with Rangers’ forward Derek Stepan and defenseman and captain Ryan McDonagh at the University of Wisconsin. The Rangers saw talent in him in the time which they had him, and the move is a smart one. The Rangers took Smith, who under-performed and struggled with the Red Wings this season, and turned him into a full-time player. He bounced around the second and third defensive pairing, playing mainly with Brady Skjei, the two of which have formed quite the duo. Smith was in the Blueshirts lineup throughout the rest of the regular season and was seen as a reliable and disciplined player. He, in fact, finished second to Skjei in Corsi-against per 60 minutes at 52.54 for the season including his time with Detroit. That placed third among all Rangers skaters who played at least 700 minutes.
Smith’s ability to move the puck up ice and make split-second offensive decisions really showed, and combined with the likewise abilities of Skjei, the two really gelled together. Smith took on a big role in the Rangers playoff run this season, averaging just over 20 minutes of ice time a game- the highest his career has seen yet. Another benefit of bringing Smith back to the Rangers is his overall grittiness; a quality the Rangers do not have much of/are struggling to find. Smith can play tough hockey, laying hits and battling in scrums, especially in front of the crease.
Now a member of the Rangers long term, Smith will once again be looking to solidify himself in the lineup as a top pair/top-four defenseman. His role of a veteran will be highly welcomed and his experience will back up his play. As for his career numbers, Smith has skated in a total of 309 games, scoring 16 times and adding 55 assists. In postseason play, Smith has played in 39 games, scoring twice as well as tallying eight helpers.