Smith Looks to Keep 4th Line Role
Ah yes, Cole Smith. Probably one of the most hard-working players on the Predators, and yet also one of the most scrutinized by the fanbase. Mainly because the sentiment was he’s taking up a roster spot for a younger, more offensively talent player.
As valid as those criticisms are, Smith has value as a fourth line tone-setter. He works relentlessly on the penalty kill and does a lot of dirty work. Problem is, I’m not sure how that’s going to translate into Brunette’s new system that is going to preach more aggressiveness on offense.
If Hynes is coming back as head coach, then 100 percent Smith is probably an opening night starter. With Brunette, Smith is going to be battling not only for a starting role, but even as an rotational player.
Smith is going to have to show in training camp that he can occasionally bring some type of offensive value to go along with his hard-hitting, rugged style of play. If he can show he’s more of a two-way player, then maybe you can argue he gets the occasional start every week.
To the dismay of plenty of fans, Smith signed a one-year deal back in February that will keep him in the mix unless he’s part of a trade package. Whether that’s getting starts for the Predators or sent to waivers, we’ll have to see.
Smith was third on the team in hits with198 but also struggled to avoid the costly penalties at times, coming in third on the team with 60 PIM.