May
26

Can David Quinn Fix Brendan Smith?

May 26, 2018, by

Hey, remember Brendan Smith? All-around solid defenseman, slated to be on their second pair last year, a potentially perfect partner for Kevin Shattenkirk? Yeah, that guy.

The Rangers acquired Smith in a trade from Detroit at the deadline two seasons ago, and he helped them reach the second round of the playoffs. Despite a rough game six against Ottawa (perhaps a portent of things to come), Smith’s play down the stretch was a revelation. He was the embodiment of the modern “stay-at-home” defenseman; he played a reliable defensive game with an edge, but also moved the puck efficiently and chipped in on offense (seen here):

Smith’s performance during the spring of 2017 earned him a four-year, $17.4 million contract, which includes a modified no-trade clause. The Rangers invested in the defenseman (after parting with draft picks in the initial trade to get him), and after acquiring Kevin Shattenkirk on July 1, appeared to have solidified their blue line, with Ryan McDonagh and Brady Skjei already in tow. How does that old saying about best laid plans go?

The catastrophe that was Brendan Smith’s 2017-18 season has been well documented, and ended with him on injured reserve in the AHL after he fought Vinni Lettieri during practice and broke his hand. What’s left is a legitimate question about the viability of Brendan Smith’s NHL career moving forward, especially as the Rangers rebuild and turn their focus towards young players. Smith will turn 30 next season.

That’s where David Quinn comes in.

In an interview with Don Lagreca and Michael Kay on Thursday, Quinn matter-of-factly rattled off the names of current Rangers that he has an existing relationship with, and among those names was Brendan Smith’s.  How the two are connected is unclear, but Smith’s college days at Wisconsin from 2007-10 overlap with Quinn’s stint as Associate Head Coach at Boston University from 2004-2009. Perhaps Smith was on BU’s recruiting radar.

Much has been made of Quinn’s ability to communicate with and develop young players, but the coach himself was also quick to remind everyone during his press tour that he’s coached at all levels of the game. Regardless, this will be his first experience as a head coach at the professional level in dealing with what amounts to a reclamation project.

Smith’s playing style seems to be a natural fit for Quinn’s ethos. The new coach said on Thursday that the Rangers will focus on defense “all over the ice,” emphasize puck possession and be difficult to play against. Those are platitudes to be sure, and all easier said than done, but at his best Smith plays smart possession hockey with an edge. If the Rangers feel it’s worthwhile to give Smith a second chance, then it’s Quinn’s job to bring out the best in the player.

If you want my $0.02, here it is: I think Brendan Smith can still be a useful player for the Rangers. It’s tempting to look at the situation and write Smith off.  A cursory glance at Twitter earlier this week seemed to indicate that many people have.  After all, he’s approaching 30, and if you can bury an albatross contract in the minors at a reduced rate, you may as well do that and focus on the kids, right?

But even rebuilding teams need veteran players. Again, Smith is a solid defenseman who has proven capable of performing in big moments. That has tremendous value to a team with very little experience on its blue line.  The best-case scenario would be Smith making a comeback, rebuilding his value, and the Rangers trading him at the deadline next season to a contender.

However it shakes out, it will be interesting to see how David Quinn and the Rangers handle the Brendan Smith situation.

"Can David Quinn Fix Brendan Smith?", 4 out of 5 based on 18 ratings.

32 comments

  1. mike says:

    After last Season’s Debacle, The only person that can Fix Brendan Smith IS Brendan Smith.

    He took advantage of a $15M guaranteed contract given to him at the beginning of the summer, an partied like it was 1999. He showed no dedication to living up to this contract in Year 1, and when it was time to play regular season hockey he was a few steps behind.

    David Quinn’s system will allow Smith the opportunity to resurrect his career, but unless Smith, himself, accepts the fact that he did very little to prepare for the 2017-18 season like he should have trains like he never did before this offseason there is little that any system can do for him.

    • Richter1994 says:

      “After last Season’s Debacle, The only person that can Fix Brendan Smith IS Brendan Smith.”

      Beat me to it Mike. Exactly right.

      This was not a player that needed to be “tweaked” by the coach last year. This was a totally lost player that cheated his team and his teammates by being selfish by not putting in the proper work to honor his team and his newly signed contract.

      Smith has to be like Missouri, as in “show me.”

      • James1090 says:

        I agree and I think Smith can still be a useful player. From what I’ve read he is training at the Rangers facilities all the time. I think he realizes that he’s got a chance to redeem himself with a new coach.

        • Richter1994 says:

          He can definitely be part of the Rangers’ rotation or could be a part of the package that gets traded to Ottawa for Karlsson.

  2. Walt says:

    First of all let’s not forget the reason we have an extended week-end. In the history of this great nation, many great men, and women made the ultimate sacrifice, they gave their lives. Lets just take a few moments to reflect, and remember all these wonderful souls!!!!

    As for Smith, I believe he learned his lesson, and will work this entire off season to prove himself again. You have to believe that his ego was deflated big time, and now wants to show he still has it in him to be a very decent player. Under a new coach, and simpler system, one would suppose he can resurrect his career, and have three productive years in him. Let’s see what Quinn can do with the man!!!!!!!

    • King Sieveqvist ! King Sieveqvist ! says:

      Here here Walt … without these amazing people there is no fun and games!
      As for Smith he better be doing the Russian training regime as of a month ago and be prepared to earn his spot back and show he messed up.

    • Leatherneck says:

      Here here….Walt….This memorial day weekend I am remembering PFC Domingo Arroyo and LCPL Anthony Botello who gave all in Somalia. Rest in Peace Marines

      Smith is a very interesting subject, because if he rebounds he’ll be a great addition. Only he can fix his issues.
      Quinn should not become the team psychiatrist. Stick to the X’s and O’s and be in the room to select the character he wants. Attitude is harder to teach than skill.

      I am rooting for Smith to get his S–T together

    • Richter1994 says:

      Right Walt.

      With all the BS that goes on in our country, it is still the best in the world, and our veterans and military, past and present, are the #1 reason why.

      Thank you and God Bless them and their families for their service and their sacrifice.

      • genetics73 says:

        Out of curiosity, I wonder who are the people giving you thumbs down for your expression of appreciation for the country. Perhaps they are not Americans, for if they are they are nothing short of contemptible.

        • Walt says:

          It’s the usual dumb SOB’s who would prefer being communist bastards. Screw them all, and the horses they came in on!!!!!

          As to my brothers in arms, thank you all for what you’ve done for this great nation, and please don’t let the three stooges, with their brother Curly Joe bother you with their immature thumbs down bull crap!!!!!! God Bless this country!!!!!!!!!! Have a wonderful week-end……………

          • tanto says:

            No where I rather be, no where I rather live and yes, we should all be thankful for the men and women who have defended and are defending this country… that said, I consider this a low point in our history (we’ve had a few). America isn’t about crude vulgar lying ignorant hateful bullies behaving like totalitarian wannabes. Take a knee and voice your displeasure, America is all about the right to do so. Just saying. 😉

            • Walt says:

              That right was given by the fallen. Just saying!!!!!!!

              • tanto says:

                Well Walt, if the fallen weren’t defending the right to disagree and to protest, then they may have been defending the wrong rights. 😉 Just saying … I’m going to assume they were defending the rule of law and the right to protest. 🙂

              • Walt says:

                Tanto

                I have no problem with people disagreeing, but these clowns dissing the dead is as low as it gets……………These are the same people that demand rights, but aren’t willing to pay the price for it. If they have a problem with this country, and want to embrace socialism, hey Russia, China, North Korea, Cuba, Venezuela all are wonderful destinations for them to choose from!!!!!!!

              • tanto says:

                Yeah well I don’t hear a lot of people wanting to emulate the countries you listed — aside from perhaps certain fascists who would like to adopt their authoritarian political structure.

        • Richter1994 says:

          Good question my friend.

          Even if they were not Americans you would think that they would respect the salute to our brave men and women.

          Or, just don’t do anything.

  3. Arisrules says:

    It’s increasingly become clear that Smith really wasn’t htat solid of a d-man based on past performance, and his short period with us in the spring and playoffs was more of an outlier than his regular play. I thought he would be a second pairing guy, but he’s more of a third pairing guy. The question is more can Shattenkirk step up and is TonyDee for real? No idea. I’d feel better about this season if we were going into it with the trio of McD, Shatt, and Skjei.

  4. Stevem says:

    After last Season’s Debacle, The only person that can Fix Brendan Smith IS Brendan Smith…

    Couldn’t have said it better myself Mike

  5. Bobby B says:

    Gut check time for Smith, last year he he personified the phrase take the money and run. His career and reputation is hanging on a thread ( although the $$$$ he has already received eases the pain) .That being said , when he first acquired from the Red wings he fit in well, he brought an aggressive style that was sorely lacking on a very finesse orientated team. I thought he was one of our best players overall in the playoff series vs Ottawa, ( still can not believe we lost to them) he hit, played sound defense ,and drooped the gloves to protect his teammates. Lets see what type of physical condition he is in come training camp, maybe he can be Quinn’s first reclamation project??

  6. Richter1994 says:

    All of a sudden, all the thumbs down, including posts in support of the military. Nice.

    Brendan Smith and the North Korean “Rocket Man” must have logged on.

  7. Leatherneck says:

    As with anything in this world the thumbs up and down is now a joke Richter1994

    I laugh at the results.

    I have said Good morning and have a great day and got a slew of thumbs down… yeah very credible feature….NOT

    D’Artagnan and Portos at it as well as Moe and Curly…..lol

    • Spozo says:

      We have had plenty of disagreements and I have given you plenty of thumbs down but I always follow up and add to the discussion. This crap is just laughable!

      • Leatherneck says:

        I know Spozo…this is why I respect you, Reevunapi and Mancun…you guys debate…Semper Fi…enjoy a great Memorial day weekend

    • Richter1994 says:

      Hey bro, thank you for your service. I always think of brave people like you during these special days of honor and tribute.

  8. Emile the Cat says:

    I feel Brady Skjei could use some fixing too! Quinn’s hands are full, but I think he will be up to the task. I think Smith and Skjei bounce back big time under Quinn. Hopefully, Staal also benefits from what could be more judicious usage.

  9. agentsmith says:

    maybe Brendan smith was never that good… paid him 15m because of one fight vs Andrew shaw and that they gave yup two picks for him. he does nothing exceptionally well.

    • Richter1994 says:

      Brendan is capable. The contract was a slight overpay but not egregious.

      He partied his summer away and it cost him his and the team’s season.

      He now has to redeem himself, but he is capable and would bring the toughness the Rangers need on the back end.

      • James1090 says:

        I think Smith knows he has to prove himself and I think he will. I think he knows he has to. He finally got his pay day and he didn’t even finish the season in the NHL. That has to be a wake up call.

        • Richter1994 says:

          Smith messed up, he knows it, because (like you said) he’s been training constantly so far this offseason.

          He doesn’t want to be traveling on buses anymore, a big reality check for sure. He will probably be in the NHL this year, either here or elsewhere. I do not see both Staal and Smith on the Rangers this year.