Although there was a huge drop off in the assists category, this season was still a very solid season for Nashville Predators winger Craig Smith.
Craig Smith has been a very reliable top six winger for the Nashville Predators since his arrival in 2012-13, and this year was no different, as he hit 20 goals for the fifth time in his career.
He is a high energy player and is very heavy on the forecheck, and this year was no different as he racked up 21 goals for a Predators team that was very low on goals compared to previous years, as their power play was also uncharacteristically bad.
His assist numbers definitely showcased the team’s drop off in goals, as he only had 17 assists vs his 26 from the previous season, meaning he only had 38 points in 76 games.
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But, when you look at his importance to the team outside of the numbers, you will quickly realize how important Smith really is to the team.
He is one of the most energetic players on the team who isn’t afraid to lay the body or get hit in order to score a goal, he is a glue guy in the locker room, and P.K. Subban even said that he was the “identity” of the Nashville Predators.
He works hard on both sides of the ice and shows up in all of the biggest moments, just like in overtime of game two of the Preds first round series of the first round against the Dallas Stars, where he tied the series at one game a piece with an OT winner.
He was able to get in front of the net and tuck the puck home with a man in front of him, a very Craig Smith like goal in a time where the Nashville Predators desperately needed him.
This perfectly embodies who Craig Smith is, and although he wasn’t there all the time throughout the regular season, he still came out whenever the Predators needed him most and was one of the most productive players on the team.
This earns Craig Smith a B for this season.
Smith earns his B through being one of the most effective goal scorers on the team, while also being a glue guy in the locker room who was able to guide his team through this difficult season.
He was arguably the Predators most effective player while Arvidsson was injured, being there whenever they needed him the most.
Although there is much to be improved on, this season was an embodiment as to who Craig Smith is, someone who is always there when he is needed and always comes to play in the game’s biggest moments.