Ty Smith Signs Entry-Level Contract

The Devils’ 2018 first round pick has signed his entry level deal with the team, General Manager Ray Shero announced today. Defenseman Ty Smith, selected 17th overall by New Jersey, has been inked for three years.

The 18-year-old (born March 24, 2000), lefty shot just completed his second season last year with the Spokane Chiefs of the Western Hockey League. According to the press release put out by the Devils, he had career highs in all statistical categories. He potted 14 goals and 59 assists for a total of 73 points in 69 games. He also had 30 penalty minutes and was a plus-44 plus/minus rating in those games. The press release also mentioned that “(h)is assist and point totals were the second highest in the WHL among rearguards.”

The press release says that in a February 23, 2018 game against the Prince George Cougars, Smith set a Spokane franchise record for points in a game with two goals and five assists. The Lloydminster, Alberta native also was named to the WHL’s Western Conference First All-Star Team and was the WHL Scholastic Player of the Year, winning the Daryl K. (Doc) Seaman Trophy, last season.

Smith represented Canada internationally at the 2017 Ivan Hlinka Memorial Tournament where Canada won gold. He was captain of Canada’s IIHF U18 World Championship team that won that championship.

He also won a silver medal with Canada at the 2017 U17 WHC according to the press release and was also named to that tournament’s All-Star Team. According to Robert Murray, writing for the WHL’s official website, Smith also played in the 2018 Sport Chek World Junior Showcase that took place this summer in Kamloops, British Columbia. Murray said that he registered four assists in five games.

The press release goes back further in Smith’s hockey development, as it mentions that he played 2015-16 with the Lloydminster Midget AAA Bobcats and was named to the AMHL First All-Star team that year as well as being the league’s top defenseman. The Bobcats won the AMHL championship that year to boot.

Smith is 5′ 10″ and 170-pounds and will look to make an impact at this year’s training camp, as he did when he attended Devils developmental camp back in July.

A Devils-Centric Recap of the World Junior Summer Showcase

The 2018 World Junior Summer Showcase ended this past Saturday with the USA being edged by Canada 6-5 and Sweden defeating Finland 5-3.

The games were played at the Sandman Centre in Kamloops, British Columbia and featured those four teams playing a series of games from July 30 to August 4.

The Devils had five players in the showcase, including Fabian Zetterlund of Sweden, newly-drafted Ty Smith of Canada, Reilly Walsh of the US, Aarne Talvitie of Finland and Eetu Pakkila of Finland. This showcase acts as a kind of warmup to the World Junior Championship, to be played this December and January in Victoria and Vancouver, BC, Canada.

Zetterlund of Sweden played in five games in the tournament, notching two goals and six penalty minutes. Those two goals placed him second on the team in goals, and tied with three other players for third in total scoring with two points.

Canada’s Smith played in all three of their games and notched two assists for two points. That tied him for second in team scoring with seven others. Note that the US and Canada had split squads with Canada having a “red” and “white” team and the US having a “white” and “blue” team in addition to their main teams. Some players got playing time on multiple teams.

Reilly Walsh of Team USA played in five games, netting an assist. The lone assist put him in second place in scoring tied with 11 other players in the short-format tournament.

As for the Finns, Talvitie was the player of the tournament for the Devils, potting four goals in five games to pace all Finnish skaters in scoring. He also had two penalty minutes. Pakkila played in four games but did not register on the scoresheet.

Overall Ty Smith was getting rave reviews from people who saw every game, as was Talvitie. We will find out more about these players as training camp gets underway next month.

The results of the tournament saw USA-Blue fall to Sweden 3-1 and USA-White defeat Finland 5-2 (Talvitie had a power play goal in this one) on July 30. July 31 had Finland get by Sweden 4-3 in a shootout (Talvitie had a goal and missed in his shootout attempt) while USA-Blue beat Canada-White 3-2 and USA-White beat Canada-Red 7-5.

The tournament proper got started on August 2 with USA defeating Sweden 5-4 (Zetterlund scored in the third period of this one for the Swedes) in overtime and Canada notching past FInland 4-3 also in OT. Talvitie scored a clutch shorthanded goal in the third period that tied things up at three, eventually forcing the overtime period.

On August 3, the US beat Finland 2-1. Here, Walsh had the primary assist on a power play goal by Grant Mismash in the second period. Also, Sweden fell to Canada 4-1. Smith had the primary assist on Alex Formenton’s goal with three seconds left in the second period.

On August 4, the final day of the tournament, Canada defeated Team USA 6-5 while Sweden took out Finland 5-3. In the Canada-USA game, Smith had the secondary assist on a first period power play goal by Nick Suzuki and Talvitie had a first period power play goal in the Finland-Sweden game.

As you can see, this is a very evenly matched series of games which bodes well for the competitive nature of the World Juniors this winter.

Smith Impresses in Red vs. White Scrimmage

I was able to attend the Saturday morning Red vs. White Scrimmage at Devils Development Camp, but was not able to post anything until now due to a busy weekend I had.

The event began at 11 AM in the RWJBarnabas Hockey House with all of the trimmings for the packed rink. Devils public address announcer Kevin Clark was there to announce goals and the Devils used a recording of the goal horn and song whenever one of the players scored.

The game was divided into two 25 minute “halves” with a 15 minute intermission between them and the clock only stopping in the final two minutes of the second period. A few players were not available to play: Mackenzie Blackwood and Bradon Gignac were injured and John Quenneville was excused due to a family commitment.

The Red team jumped out to an early lead, scoring four times in the first period with two from recent 2018 first rounder Ty Smith. Defenseman Smith would go on to complete the hat trick in the second period. Among some others that had good showings were forward Marian Studenic of the Red team, who scored a goal and forward Michael McLeod, the Devils’ first round pick a few years ago, also of the Red team, who registered a point. White team defenseman Colby Sissons and forward Yegor Sharangovich also impressed the fans in attendance. On the goaltending side, the Red team’s Akira Schmid looked pretty impressive in the period that he played.

The final score was 5-4 the Red team as the White team mounted a comeback in the final frame. Following the scrimmage, there was a shootout as the players each got to showcase their individual talents.

Overall, this event showed that the Devils’ future is bright and that they have the talent coming through the pipeline that a club needs to succeed. This year’s draft picks, in particular Smith, Sharangovich and Schmid showed that the Devils’ drafting and scouting has gotten so much better and that the franchise is in good hands.

Devils Take Ty Smith in First Round of NHL Draft

The 2018 NHL Entry Draft began tonight in Dallas at the American Airlines Center with the first round.

The Devils, who picked first overall in 2017, had a much lower pick this year by virtue of their better finish in 2017-18 and their status as a playoff team. This year they were picking 17th overall.

The 17th pick has famously yielded at least one good player for the Devils. Zach Parise was taken 17th overall back in 2003. But this year, the Devils were looking to fill a different need.

This year they took left-handed shooting defenseman Ty Smith of the Western Hockey League’s Spokane Chiefs. The 18-year-old, born on March 24, 2000, had 14 goals and 53 assists for 73 points in 69 games for Spokane last season. He is 5-feet, 10-inches tall (as the NBCSN announce crew pointed out, he was one of many under-six-foot d-men taken in this Draft so far) and 170-pounds.

Smith was ranked number 14 among North American skaters by the NHL’s Central Scouting Department. Gerard Lionetti over at All About the Jersey quoted Steve Kournianos of The Draft Analyst by saying that Smith has “exceptional hockey sense and a strong desire to join the attack and create chances.” Kournianos mentioned that Smith is very mobile and has good vision on the ice. He also said that he can “transition quickly from defense to offense” and that he is “an effortless skater with strong balance and agility, and he can pivot with the best of them.”

Kournianos also said that you will “rarely see Smith get caught chasing his man or losing positioning, as he makes timely reads and anticipates exactly where the puck will end up.” To me, that almost sounds like a poor man’s John Carlson in a way. Or maybe more akin to a little more mobile version of what the Devils want Damon Severson to develop into. Kournianos also said that he “is a hard, accurate shooter and a pure power play quarterback who works the point with confidence and poise.” He said that Smith will evade “pressing penalty killers with ease and will exploit gaps with crisp, tape-to-tape cross-ice passes.”

Smith is also referred to as a “clean, reliable three-zone defender with leadership qualities and a team-first attitude.” That attitude is something that was pointed out by Kathryn Tappen of NBCSN, as she interviewed him following his being selected by the Devils, she made mention that that came up multiple times by those interviewed at the NHL Scouting Combine. Multiple people, she said, when asked who had the best team-first attitude, said Ty Smith. That, of course, is a great attitude to have coming in and something that is great if the player is mature already.

Lionetti also quoted Ryan Pike of The Hockey Writers, who said that Smith learns from his mistakes and that last season he acquired two important traits: “experience and confidence.” Pike said that he is more confident “in terms of judging risk offensively and is much better at anitcipating trouble defensively. He still occasionally over-commits with the puck and has to scramble back to cover odd-man rushes, but those are fewer and much more far between than last season’s Smith saw.”

Now, learning to cover for your mistakes in juniors is a lot different than adapting to stuff at the NHL-level. Hopefully he has the tools to make it as an NHLer (and from the above analysis by Kournianos and Pike, it seems that he does). But it is good to see that he is able to work hard and recognize when he needs to fix things in his game.

With that, we wish Smith all of the best of luck as he begins his Devils career and hope to see him at rookie camp later this summer. We will have more coverage of the Devils’ later round picks tomorrow. Welcome to New Jersey, Ty Smith!