Craig Smith (Dallas Stars)
There’s probably not a former Nashville Predators player that I’m more bitter about losing, when they could’ve been easily retained, than Craig Smith. An underrated bad move, among many, by former General Manager David Poile.
Smith played his last season with the Predators in 2019-20, the prematurely ended pandemic year, and tallied 18 goals which was tied for 2nd on the team. He then became an unrestricted free agents, and while a pay decrease was to be expected, the Predators could’ve found a way to keep him.
And don’t we all miss this energy after a Craig Smith goal?
Instead, Smith joined the Boston Bruins on a $3.1M AAV deal and proceeded to rack up 84 points and 23 goals. Not bad production for a depth player, and you can’t even measure the intangibles that Smith brings to any locker room.
Now Smith heads to division rival Dallas, and has a very strong chance at winning his first Stanley Cup. He’s the one that got away, but good for him on landing on a Stanley Cup caliber team at age 34.
Smith is fifth all-time in Nashville Predators history with 162 goals, with only Roman Josi being the next active player close to passing him. He’ll remain in the top-10 on the franchise list for years to come.