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The first overall pick of the 2015 WHL Draft, Ty Smith represents the new breed of defensemen. Undersized, but highly skilled, Smith is the type of defender who is getting chances in the NHL, when in previous years he would have been overlooked.
Last season, Smith put up 32 points in 66 games. He also captained Team Canada Black to a silver medal at the Under 17s. This year, Smith really broke out. He put up 14 goals and 73 points in 69 games and added seven points in seven playoff games. Unfortunately, it was not quite enough as the Spokane Chiefs fell in the first round to the Portland Winterhawks. Expect to see Smith join Team Canada for the upcoming IIHF Under-18 World Championships. He put up three points in five games at this summer’s Hlinka tournament, winning gold.
Ty Smith Scouting Report
Defence — shoots Left
Born March 24th, 2000 — Lloydminster, Alberta
Height 5’10” — Weight 174 lbs [178 cm / 79 kg]
Smith is an excellent skater. He can rush the puck up the ice, or pinch in at the blue line and still cover up his spot defensively. He has excellent speed in both directions. His acceleration is elite, as he reaches top speed in just one or two strides. Smith also has the pivots, agility, and edgework to cover large areas of the ice. This helps him in the defensive game. It also allows him to walk the line, and to open up passing and shooting lanes. Smith has good balance and a low centre of gravity. He will need to keep improving his strength and power though.
Offensively, Smith is a very good stick handler. He can lead the rush, but also has the poise to control the puck at the blue line and quarterback the play. He has excellent vision and reads the play extremely well. Smith is patient and poised. He makes smart passes to teammates, giving them good scoring changes. He also works well as a trailer, reading the play and finding the open ice to create an offensive threat. Smith almost always seems to make the right play with the puck. Smith is a very good passer and can set things up on the rush or from the point on the power play.
He also has a good wrist shot with an outstanding release. He has improved his slap shot this season and gets good power on his one-timer. Smith is also good at getting his shot on net, despite the traffic, finding shooting lanes. He keeps his shot low and allows his teammates to get screens, tip-ins, and rebounds.
His defensive game is based on smart positioning and a quick stick, but he is undersized. Smith must continue to get stronger, to be better in front of the net and in the corners. He is willing to battle forwards, but could use more muscle. Smith is good at getting the puck out of his own end quickly. Once there is a loose puck, he can get to it quickly and either skate it out of danger or make a good first pass to start the transition game. Smith’s best defensive attribute is his skating. It helps him to maintain good gap control, and he is tough to beat off the rush. Overall, his defensive game is strong, with the main concern being size and strength.
Projection and Comparison
Smith can be an excellent offensive contributor at the next level. He has all the skills to transform a team’s transition game and to run the power play. It is not clear if his defensive game will be good enough to take on top pairing minutes at the next level. Continued work on getting stronger will be key. He likely needs another year of junior, possibly two. Stylistically Smith’s game is similar to Shayne Gostisbehere of the Philadelphia Flyers, but this is a style comparison only and not one based on talent or ability.
The following is a compilation of some of the many highlight packages of Smith that are available on youtube.
Check back tomorrow for the next prospect on our draft board.
Embed from Getty Images
KELOWNA, BC – MARCH 03: Ty Smith #24 of the Spokane Chiefs passes the puck against the Kelowna Rockets at Prospera Place on March 3, 2018, in Kelowna, Canada. (Photo by Marissa Baecker/Getty Images)