By signing senior right-winger Craig Smith, the Boston Bruins have addressed one of their biggest demands for entry into the NHL free company. Three-year contract worth 1 3.1 million per season.
Last season, especially in the 2020 Stanley Cup playoffs, a secondary score was a major issue.
Now, to be clear, Smith alone will not fix this weakness. Should the Bruins add another quality forward – a free agent like Taylor Hall, Mike Hoffman or Tyler Tofoli? – Go with a strong forward team next season, but throwing Smith in the mix is a huge start.
Let’s start with Smith’s 5-on-5 product.
During the playoffs the Bruins ran 5-for-5 with a minus-12 goal difference (17 goals scored, 29 allowed). Smith has to be more productive in Boston in that regard – who has averaged 205 shots on the net in the last seven years – and wins buck battles across the ice with his physical sport.
Smith helped the Predators drive buck possessions at a very high rate last season. They scored a plus-159 on shot attempts, a plus-112 on net shots, a plus-59 on goal chances and a plus-24 on a 5-for-5 score when Smith was on the ice.
With the exception of David Bastronock and Brad Merchant in the top row, Boston had no credible scores a season ago. Jake Debrusk is adept at delivering Boston’s offensive production quickly, but he is very irrelevant. Ontrage Case may have been more productive with B in its first full season, but it has yet to be seen. Jack Statnica could provide an attacking spark, but he will be a player in 2020-21.
Smith has scored more than 20 goals in five of the last seven seasons, and he would have reached that goal in 2019-20 if the regular season had not been reduced by the Govt-19 epidemic. He finished with 69 points (18 goals, 13 assists) in 69 games.
His hat-trick against the New York Islands in February is a sure example of his two-way skill set. The first goal was very interesting – he stole the buck from Islanders defenseman Nick Lady and scored from a ridiculous angle.
The senior winger could play in the second row with center David Crazy, but the best fit would be in the third row next to center Charlie Goyal. Goel took the 2020 playoff run, but did not have enough talent in his lineup. Smith is more advanced than other third-line options such as Anders Beijork, Carson Kuhlman, Nick Richie or Chris Wagner.
Another advantage to this Smith signature is the contract value. The Bruins did not have to spend a lot of time (just three years) or salary (1 3.1 million cap win) to get him.
Durable (not missing more than six games in a season since 2012), plays in a physical style, 52 games playoff experience and the highest rates in many advanced figures The $ 3.1 million season is not a brainwashing.
There is a lot of work to be done with about $ 11 million in hat space at the Free Agency for Bruins. They still need to figure out what to do with some of the free agents, including defenders Zdeno Sarah and Matt Grechelsik and forward Jake Debruzk.
But it was hard to be encouraged by Boston’s start after Smith signed.