Cole Smith Proves it to Barry Trotz and Nashville Predators, Gets 2-Year Deal

The Predators and Cole Smith agreed on a two-year contract extension on Wednesday, as he has been an extremely consistent role player and is continuing to get better.
Nashville Predators v Los Angeles Kings
Nashville Predators v Los Angeles Kings / Ronald Martinez/GettyImages

The Nashville Predators had nine players on the active roster set to be unrestricted free agents at this season's end, but one of them is now off the market. Earlier this Wednesday, they agreed on an extension with forward Cole Smith, keeping him from becoming an unrestricted free agents this offseason.

In only his second full year on the Predators and originally an undrafted prospect, Smith has been an oddly polarizing figure, mostly among the fanbase. His presence was much maligned by the Smashville faithful last year, as he was seen as someone who added nothing but physicality and was robbing some exciting young players of playing time.

But now that we have gotten another half-plus of a season to watch Smith play, we have seen why his contributions are important to the Predators. It is safe to say that him playing night in and night out is not a fluke, and he deserves the new deal he was given.

Cole Smith's new deal is great value for the Nashville Predators

Cole Smith, Nashville Predators
Dec 29, 2023; Detroit, Michigan, USA; Nashville Predators left wing Cole Smith (36) handles the puck / Brian Bradshaw Sevald-USA TODAY Sports

Two more years at $1 million each is a great contract for everything Smith brings to the table. He is obviously known most for his hits, and he has been racking those up with 118 in 46 games. That is good for 12th among forwards.

One area of the game that I have been harping at and can say that Smith has really earned this deal is the work he does on the penalty kill. He remains one of the team's top short-handed producers, recording two assists and one goal in such situations.

Even just by the eye test, you can tell that the work Smith is doing on the penalty kill is invaluable. He is defending well and oftentimes springing transition with the plays he is making, so that alone is a good reason to bring him back for a few more seasons.

Smith has gotten better as a player, and his base stats show that. He is no offensive juggernaut, but he already has five goals which is one more than last year, and his 16 points in 46 games are a definite improvement over his 17 in 69 games last year.


Additionally, Smith already has more shots on goal than he did last year, is on pace to block more shots than last year, and is averaging more ice time than last year. He absolutely has earned what is the biggest contract of his career, and you could even argue that he could have gotten a little more.

I am not going to sit here and say that the Predators should have made a long-term committment to Smith, but it is not so uncommon anymore for role players of his status to get contracts of four or more years. With how Smith has progressed since the beginning of last season, there is no doubt that he can play his game effectively for two more years, and $1M each year is totally worth it for the work he does.

The Predators are of course not going to be able to re-sign all of their free agents, but Smith was one they were going to be wise to keep, especially due to his penalty killing. It is a good thing that Barry Trotz and Andrew Brunette felt the same way and rewarded Smith for his hard work.

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