The New Jersey Devils selected defenseman Ty Smith of the Spokane Chiefs of the WHL with the first-round selection (17thoverall) in the 2018 NHL Draft on Friday night. From various mock drafts and simply looking at the team’s needs, it was fairly evident that the Devils would go after a defenseman with their first pick. Many mock drafts had them selecting Bode Wilde, but Smith was the highest-ranked player of any position by most lists when it came time for the Devils to be on the clock.
So what is there to know about the newest member of Jersey’s team? Here is the analysis from NHL.com:
Smith (5-11, 176), a left-hand shot capable of working well in traffic to maneuver his team out of danger, has 107 points (19 goals, 88 assists) in 137 Western Hockey League games over three seasons. Good at dissecting a forecheck, he set career highs in goals (14), assists (59), points (73), plus/minus (plus-44) and power-play points (27) in 2017-18.
So Smith has clearly shown some offensive potential, but many scouts don’t believe he’ll blossom into a big offensive-defenseman. However, they still view him as one who will become a solid top-four defenseman, which is something the Devils desperately need, especially one who is consistent. Young pieces such as Steven Santini, Damon Severson, and others have shown flashes of being top-four material, but none have consistently been solid on both ends of the ice for the team to be comfortable throughout a whole season, especially for a team now with playoff aspirations.
Two of the best aspects of Smith’s game are his passing ability and vision. Additionally, he has received high praise from his peers for being a good teammate. Those are ingredients that are welcome in Jersey, and that feature was certainly a factor that general manager Ray Shero internally acknowledged when making the pick.
Ty Smith likely won’t break camp with the big team this fall, but in a couple of years, he could be slotted into the Devils’ defense core. The five foot eleven inch Canadian should get Devils’ fans excited as a solid pick at 17thoverall.