Over the next month, SenShot will be doing off-season report cards for all your Ottawa Senators. Let’s see each player’s grade for the 2010-2011 season.
The 2010-2011 season was supposed to be Zack Smith‘s coming out party. He was supposed to make the team out of training camp and be a force on the third or fourth line. However, Smith had a less then stellar training camp and barely made the final cut as he started the season as the 13th forward.
Just as the team started off horribly, Smith had a rough start to the year too. Only suiting up for ten games in the first 37 games of the season, Smith was sent down for a 22 game stint in the AHL as he tried to find his game. With the team still struggling after the Christmas break, Smith was called up and finished the season with Ottawa and played the last 45 games of the season. Smith ended the season with 55 games played, four goals and five assists for nine points.
On the last year of his entry level contract, Smith was hoping to use this year to cash in on a new one-way deal. In his last 45 games of the season, Smith played decently, but was not overly impressive. Expected to bring a little more offense than nine points, Smith made up for his lack of offensive production with grit. In 55 games, Smith had 129 hits and six fighting majors. Check this ‘fight of the year’ candidate as Smith battles the Bruins Nathan Horton. Video courtesy of HockeyFights.com.
At the end of the season, with Ottawa’s year over, the organization asked if Smith would go down to Binghamton to help the team in its first playoff performance since the lockout. A reluctant Smith went down and had a breakout playoff run. In 23 games, Smith had eight goals and 12 assists for 20 points as he helped lead the B-Sens to their first AHL Calder Cup.
Smith’s loyalty was rewarded as the Sens re-signed him to a two-year, one-way $1.4 million dollar contract this past May. Going into this year’s training camp, Smith is still not guaranteed a full-time spot on the roster. With six other forwards in the mix for the bottom two forward lines, Smith will need a strong training camp to impress new head coach Paul MacLean.
Smith did not have a good training camp and it showed in the ice time he was given. But he never complained and was a good solider for the organization as he did what was asked of him. Even though his point total were low, Smith was drafted more for his grit then his scoring ability. With his physical play and defensive ability, Smith played better then most forwards on the Sens last season. Smith’s grade for the season is a “B -“. For his grade to be higher, Smith will need to up his point production and increase his physical presence on the ice.
Contract Status: new signed to a two-year, one-way deal worth $700,000 per season. Then becomes a RFA in the 2013-2014 season.
Trade Status: Smith’s trade status is relatively good as he is a useful bottom six forward who can chip in a goal occassionlly and keep opponents honest. On a great contract, Smith will be around for at least the next two years where he will be then expected to take on a bigger role physically as Chris Neil and Matt Carkner may not be in the nations capital at that time.
Check out the SenShot Report Cards handed out so far:
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