The Nashville Predators announced today that they’re sending another of their young forwards down to the Milwaukee Admirals on a conditioning assignment. This time it’s Craig Smith, according to this tweet from Kevin Wilson just a few minutes ago:
— KWilsonPreds (@KWilsonPreds) March 22, 2013
From the press release:
Smith, 23 (9/5/89), has nine points (3g-9a) in 30 games this season for Nashville, with all but one of those points (an assist) coming in his last 15 games. The Madison, Wis., native has played in 102 career NHL contests, but has yet to appear in an American Hockey League game.
It’s always been said that “the road to Nashville runs through Milwaukee,” but Craig Smith was one of the few exceptions to that otherwise hard-and-fast rule. After two seasons with the University of Wisconsin Badgers, he made the Preds roster out of training camp last year and spent the entire season with the big club. He enjoyed a highly productive first half of the season and was considered among the favorites for the Calder Trophy before he trailed off, scoring just three points in 21 games at one point late in the season. This year has been very similar to the end of last season for Smith. He went pointless in his first 10 games this season and had just four points in his first 20. Since February 4th, 2012, he has just 14 points in 52 NHL games.
Craig Smith is the third Nashville Predators player to be sent down to Milwaukee on a conditioning assignment this season. Brian McGrattan was the first and was eventually traded to the Calgary Flames. Matt Halischuk was the other, and he had four points in his first three games back with Nashville before beind held pointless in his last three. Nashville can leave Smith in Milwaukee for two weeks before either placing him on waivers (unlikely) or recalling him to the big club.