How He Became A Penguin?
On July 16, the Metropolitan Division rivals New Jersey Devils and Pittsburgh Penguins made a trade swapping defenseman. The Penguins sent John Marino to the Devils for Ty Smith and a 2023 third-round pick.
Smith only played nine games this past season as a Penguin logging one goal and three assists for a total of four points. Also, he had a +/- of 3 and all of his assists came on the powerplay. He only played nine games due to the Penguins being in such a difficult and poor salary cap situation, he was stuck in the minors.
However, the Penguins were confident in him enough to re-sign him to a one-year deal worth $775,000 dollars.
Smith Earning A Role?
The Penguins spent the off-season retooling their roster bringing in a lot of new players. On the defensive end in particular, they brought in Erik Karlsson, Ryan Graves, and Ryan Shea. Smith has been competing for a NHL roster spot in what is now a new and loaded defensive core.
He needs to prove himself in front of a new general manager now that Kyle Dubas is runnning the show. Former general manager Ron Hextall was the one who traded for Smith so now he needs to prove himself again, in front of new management.
He Loves Me, He Loves Me Not
On September 28, the Penguins placed five players on waivers but shockingly Smith was one of the five. There was a possibility he would be sent down or even put on waivers but to do it just one week into training camp was shocking and interesting to say the least.
Somehow, someway Smith cleared waivers and was sent down to Wilkes-Barre Scranton home of the Penguins AHL team. On October 3, Smith was recalled along with forwards Rem Pitlick and Avery Hayes.
Many people were wondering why and how Smith was not claimed and NHL Insider Eliotte Friedman asked around. Friedman was able to find out multiple people do not believe Smith is competitive enough to be an NHL defenseman. He has the skills but he just does not have that competitive fire to be a successful NHL defenseman. A major reason he may not have that competitive fire is due to his size at just 5’11 and 180 lbs.
What Will Smith’s Role Be?
Most likely Smith will begin the season in Wilkes-Barre Scranton. However, barring injuries or solid play from Smith we may see him back in Pittsburgh this upcoming season.
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