After spending the last nine seasons with the Nashville Predators, Craig Smith is moving on to the Boston Bruins. Smith, an unrestricted free agent, and the Bruins agreed to a three -year contract worth $9.3 million on Saturday October 10, which has an annual cap hit of $3.1 million.
Welcome to Boston, Mr. Smith!
We have signed winger Craig Smith to a three-year contract worth an NHL cap hit of $3.1 million.
— Boston Bruins (@NHLBruins) October 10, 2020
Craig Smith Signs With Boston
In Smith, the Bruins are getting a middle-six forward who provides terrific secondary scoring. Smith’s hit 20 goals in five of his last seven seasons, coming two short of that mark in the abbreviated 2019–20 year. He scored a career-high 25 goals in 2017–18, the year after going to the Stanley Cup Final with Nashville. Smith is a shoot-first player too, recorded over 20 assists fewer times (four) than the number of times he’s recorded 20 goals (five). It’s why Smith’s career-high in points is just 52, but 330 points in 661 career games is solid when you’re playing on a team’s second or third line.
As a fourth-round pick in 2009, Smith has put forth a solid NHL career. Smith has a career Corsi for of 53.5 and has been over 50 in all of his last seven seasons. He’s a deceivingly speedy winger who has excelled by picking up garbage goals while developing a strong net presence over the years. If there’s any knock on Smith, 31, it’s his playoff production. Smith has just seven goals and 16 points in 52 career playoff games, which is well below his regular-season averages.
What this Means for the Future
The good thing about Craig Smith is you know exactly what you’re getting in the Madison, Wisconsin native. He can play on any team’s middle-six, has the ability to play centre if necessary, and will probably net you 20 goals and an equal amount of assists. Smith posted his lowest average time on ice in his career during 2019–20 but still managed to pot 18 goals in 69 games. For a reasonable price, Smith adds a veteran presence and that extra punch of scoring for teams who may be too top-heavy.
At 31 years old, there’s still plenty left in Smith’s tank and he can play a pivotal depth role, possibly even getting time on the Bruins second power-play unit. It’s hard not to give Smith at least a chance, given his scoring ability with both his shot and in tight by the net. Smith is your typical low-risk, high-reward free agent.