Another draft profile, another defenseman. Ty Smith is the last of the major defensemen that could go in the top-ten without a team going off the board early. Smith is coming off a monster sophomore season with the Spokane Chiefs in the WHL, putting up a line of 14-59-73 in the notoriously high scoring league.
The 5’10”, 180 lb defenseman’s best asset is his skating. I know we say this a lot here, but nowadays teams need defensemen who can skate, and do so at an elite level. Smith is one of those elite skaters. His combination of acceleration, top speed, balance, pivoting, and agility is nearly unmatched in the draft.
As with most of the other defensemen in the top-ten, Smith’s skating ability is enhanced by his awareness and hockey IQ. His transition game throws off the opposition, allowing him time and space to make the appropriate reads on the rush. This vision makes him a dangerous option on the powerplay, as he can blow by penalty killers with relative ease.
Smith is a natural powerplay quarterback. His reads are at an elite level, which makes his distribution that much more accurate. He never panics with the puck, eluding pressing defenders with relative ease before making accurate passes. Penalty killers also need to respect his shot, which is both hard and accurate.
In the defensive zone, Smith’s IQ again plays a pivotal role. He is rarely caught out of position, and his reads are top-notch. Couple that with his skating –sensing a theme yet?– and you have a potentially elite defender who can anchor a penalty kill.
Smith’s potential is a #1 defenseman. He seems destined for a long career because his greatest assets –skating and IQ– are those that last the longest in a forever changing game. Smith is captain and franchise defenseman material."2018 NHL Draft Profile: Ty Smith",