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Playing on one of the worst teams in the CHL is never easy, but Givani Smith made the most of it this year on a rebuilding Guelph Storm squad, putting up 23 goals and 42 points. Both of those marks left Smith second in team scoring. He also led the entire Ontario Hockey League in penalty minutes with 146. Smith is part of the Storm’s rebuild plan, as the former 13th overall pick in the 2014 OHL Draft by the Barrie Colts was acquired by Guelph in a 2015 Trade Deadline move for defenceman Ben Harpur and others. Smith is the younger brother of Gemel Smith, who was drafted in the 2012 NHL Draft by the Dallas Stars, and remains a prospect in their system. Givani Smith also has international experience, playing for Team Canada Red at the 2015 Under 17 World Hockey Challenge.
Givani Smith Scouting Report: 2016 NHL Draft #61
Right Wing — shoots Left
Born Feb 27 1998 — Toronto, ONT
Height 6’01” — Weight 197 lbs [185 cm / 89 kg]
Givani Smith is developing into a very effective power forward. He just loves to hit, and does so in all three zones. Smith gets in quickly on the forecheck and absolutely punishes opposing defencemen. Smith finishes his checks and takes away time and space creating turnovers. He can also win battles on the boards, and establish position in front of the net. He loves to work the cycle game down low, using his size and strength to protect the puck. If Smith gets and opportunity, he loves to take the puck to the front of the net, whether he has to go around an opposing defender, or right through him to do so. He has the soft hands to finish in tight as well as a good wrist shot and quick release to score from further out. He is quick enough to pounce on rebounds or get tip ins. Smith isn’t the most creative player, but he does show good passing skills around the net.
Givani Smith has decent top end speed, but could use work on developping a less choppy stride. This would give him better acceleration. He also could stand to work on his agility and edgework, as Smith could work better at navigating through traffic, both with and without the puck. He does have excellent lower body strength, leading to a strong and powerful stride that can fight through checks. Smith also has excellent balance, leading to effective work along the boards and in establishing his position in front of the net.
Smith’s defensive game is a bit of a work in progress. He is tenacious and aggressive in all three zones, but can often be a bit over aggressive and get himself out of position. Having a bit more defensive hockey IQ and staying disciplined will go a long way for Smith before he moves to the next level. He also must work on not crossing the line and taking bad penalties. It is however appreciated when he is willing to drop the gloves and stand up for a teammate who has been on the receiving end of a questionable call.
There is a bit of a throwback aspect to Givani Smith’s game, as there are not a lot of forwards who combine his skill and true power forward tendencies left in the NHL today. The team drafting him will hope that he continues to develop the skill aspect of the game, as he has the potential to be a top six forward. If not he could be an effective grinder on the bottom lines, but will need to work on his defensive game to do so. Overall, Smith is a bit of a project, but one that could really pay off. Smith’s game is reminiscent of Pat Verbeek, but this is a stylistic comparison only and not one based on talent.
The following is a compilation of Givani Smith highlights, assembled from youtube.
Check back tomorrow for the #62 prospect on our NHL Draft Board.