NHL Draft Prospect Profile #60: Gemel Smith
Selected 104th Overall by the Dallas Stars.
Score another victory for Canada’s Program of Excellence. Gemel Smith was a surprise addition to Team Canada for the 2011 Ivan Hlinka tournament. Smith coming off an 8 goal 16 point season, certainly didn’t have big numbers other 17 year old CHLers did. However the brass at Hockey Canada saw something they liked, and Smith’s performance as an energy line forward helped Canada win the Gold Medal. Returning to Owen Sound full of confidence, Smith was ready for a more offensive role and became nearly a Point Per Game player for the Attack. Smith played in this year’s CHL Top Prospects game and showed off in the Skills Competition taking home the fastest skater competition. His teammate with the OHL’s Attack, Jarrod Maidens was also ranked in the second round, and joined Smith on Team Canada at the Hlinka.
Born Apr 16 1994 — Toronto, ONT
Height 5.09 — Weight 150 — Shoots Right
|2010-11||Owen Sound Attack||OHL||66||8||8||16||14||8||21||1||2||3||2|
|2011-12||Owen Sound Attack||OHL||68||21||39||60||51||9||5||1||2||3||10|
Smith is an outstanding skater. His top end speed is excellent, as seen by the results at the top prospects game. He possesses good acceleration, getting to top speed quickly and efficiently. Smith displays very good agility and great edgework leading to quick tight turns and changes of direction. He uses his superior skating to beat defenders wide on the rush, and create scoring chances. He also has very good balance and is strong on his skates given his size, something that is extremely important for a player as undersized as Smith is.
Offensively Smith’s speed is his biggest weapon, but certainly not his only one. He has a high hockey IQ and an ability to find open spaces in the offensive zone. A good playmaker, Smith has high level vision, and an ability to thread passes through tight spots and onto the tape of his teammates. Smith also has an accurate shot, with a good release, however Smith could stand to add more strength, and increase the velocity of said shot. Smith is a tireless worker in the offensive zone. Despite his lack of size, he is always in the middle of the action, be it along the boards or in front of the net. Smith is an agitating player despite his size and is able to get under the skin of his opponents. Smith can be overpowered at times, but the kid has no quit as you’ll see him right back in the middle of the action on his very next shift.
Smith works hard in the defensive zone, but this is where his lack of size is a real disadvantage. He does have good positioning skills and is a relentless backchecker. He pressures the puck well and can cause turnovers which he can quickly transition into offense. He engages opponents physically and is willing to battle along the boards, but he can be overmatched and overpowered by bigger, stronger opponents. This is particularly true when playing down low in his own end of the rink. Smith certainly could stand to add some muscle and bulk up before reaching the next level, as much as he can on his small frame. Smith might also be helped by a transition from centre to wing going forward.
Smith will need to continue to work hard to overcome the disadvantage of his limited size, however that is something he’s been doing his whole life. We would compare Smith’s potential to be a player who could be a cross between Nathan Gerbe of the Buffalo Sabres, and Brian Gionta of the Montreal Canadiens.
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