Leafs Sign Jerred Smithson

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Photo: Marlies.ca

From a PTO with the Marlies to a one-year contract with the Maple Leafs, the Leafs have signed 34-year-old Jerred Smithson for the remainder of the season in hopes of wallpapering over the drywall hole at center ice with Bolland and Bozak out.

With only Jay McClement above 45% in the faceoff circle among available centers, the Leafs have seemingly opted for JvR, Kadri, McClement and Smithson down the middle (for the time being). Trevor Smith has been sent down to the Marlies. Smith played about 5 minutes a night for Carlyle, was below 43% in the circle, and the Marlies captain was one game away from becoming waiver eligible. If Smithson proves he can be a responsible defensive player with an ability to win faceoffs, he could earn more trust and ice time. He may also become a penalty killing option with Bolland out; Smithson averaged 1:57 per game on the PK for Florida last season.

Are the Leafs any better off? I don’t know, but Smithson is one more option for Carlyle as the Leafs try to survive the difficult situation at center ice.  It costs them no assets so it seems worth finding out if he can help.

Smithson is best known for his faceoff prowess, where he ranked 13th in the NHL (55.4%) last season. He has finished as high as sixth overall in the category (57.4% in 2010-11). The BC native was signed to a PTO by the Marlies on October 16,  posting one goal over seven games since.

Once a favourite of Barry Trotz’s, Smithson has apparently lost a step with age and isn’t the best of skaters, nor does he own anything in the way of offensive skills. Smithson went undrafted, was signed by LA in 2000, and made his career out of being a responsible defensive player in Nashville. He does have size at 6’3, finishes hits (86 hits in 35 games last season), and is capable of playing all three forward positions. Down the road, if he doesn’t look out of place, the Leafs would have the option of keeping him around on the wing and using him for faceoffs.

Leafs see Smithson as smart, physical player who can fit on 4th line, kill penalties. Earned a fan in Steve Spott with Marlies.

— Jonas Siegel (@jonasTSN1050) November 6, 2013

Said Trotz of Smithson:

“Jerred brought a lot to the locker room,” head coach Barry Trotz said. “If you look at stats, they are really for losers. He brings a lot of intangibles to a room – character guy, real pro, worked at his game. … He’s one of my favorites. He’s one of those guys that you love having around. Our team has evolved and therefore his role is being a little bit diminished, and more guys are taking on that role.

Smithson, 34, instantly becomes the oldest member on the Leafs, but based on appearances alone he is no greybeard (can he even grow a beard?):

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Alec Brownscombe is the founder of MapleLeafsHotStove.com, where he has written daily about the Leafs since September of 2008. He was also the editor of the 2009-12 Maple Leafs Annuals. You can contact him at [email protected]
  • wiski

    Baby face Smithson eh?

  • 4evrblue

    welcome to leafs nation jerred!!!

  • Dangle_My_Berries

    wiski young at heart? lol

  • Xxxxxnew

    Nice safe move.

  • Great Dane

    So basically a non-moved i.e. filling a cap and buy some time. Probably the best solution right now.

  • Burtonboy

    Really good penalty killer and with his faceoff skills he will really help JMC in that regard .He might be slow but I would say he’s have no problem keeping up with McLaren and Orr.

  • wiski

    Dangle_My_Berries wiski Looks like a Leaf.

  • rustynail

    Burtonboy Orr looks pretty damn fast this seasom

  • .JVR.

    Only in Toronto is such a big deal made about the signing of a 34 year old 4th liner, haha

  • Dangle_My_Berries

    rustynail Burtonboy ya hes most certainly gained a step or 2….looking effective

  • Alec Brownscombe

    .JVR. WHAT’S SO FUNNY 
    *Buys Smithson jersey*

  • Burtonboy

    rustynail Burtonboy Yes he does. Be interesting to see if he can keep up

  • wiski

    https://twitter.com/jonasTSN1050https://twitter.com/jonasTSN1050/status/398219297698246656
    Leafs see Smithson as smart, physical player who can fit on 4th line, kill penalties. Earned a fan in Steve Spott with Marlies.

  • Dangle_My_Berries

    wiski guys got 500+ games to his name, you don’t stick around that long if you don’t bring something of use to a team

  • Xxxxxnew

    I notice he gets his hits in right on time and doesn’t have to lung at the last split second like before. Manages to stay between the puck and the net a lot better on the back check as well.

  • Burtonboy

    http://blogs.edmontonjournal.com/2013/06/02/the-case-for-jerred-smithson/http://blogs.edmontonjournal.com/2013/06/02/the-case-for-jerred-smithson/

  • wiski

    So looks like the JVR experiment is a go

  • wiski

    Burtonboy Any details on cap hit?

  • Denied

    wiski How? Smith Sent down and replaced by Smithson

  • wiski

    Dangle_My_Berries wiski Cap probably kept him out this year, sounds like a solid guy

  • Burtonboy

    wiski Burtonboy No contract details that I’ve seen

  • wendelsway1

    Hi Ya Guys…..Smithson it is……very happy that Nonis seems to be taking the internal route and a wait and see kind of attitude.

  • wiski

    Denied wiski exactly 😉

  • Denied

    wiski Denied haha u bastard

  • JMAC17

    Burtonboy wiski Gotta be league minimum…you would think anyways

  • Burtonboy

    JMAC17 Burtonboy wiski Yeah one would think so

  • Dangle_My_Berries

    Still, Oilers probably could do worse for 4th/5th line forward depth; bear in mind that at season’s end Smithson was the biggest active forward on the team, while his seasonal totals in faceoff percentage, hits, and blocked shots were all #1 on the squad. Maybe it’s not a bad idea to have a Barry Trotz-trained veteran as a bottom-of-the-roster grinder on a young team that is still learning the ropes defensively. From this distance such a player might make an ideal 13th forward.

  • Denied

    wendelsway1 agreed, although eventually he is going to have to have the balls to take the bull by the horns and take a risk or two to help the team get to that next level, whether that’s this year or a couple years from now is his call.

  • JMAC17

    Dangle_My_Berries guess it all depends on if his hockey IQ can make up for the supposed lost step people keep referring to.
    Sounds like a decent stop gap for a few weeks, at least till be can assess the situation more fully.

  • .JVR.

    Alec Brownscombe
    What number 😉

  • Dangle_My_Berries

    JMAC17 Dangle_My_Berries I figured they would give they guy a shot, hes the most NHL ready of anyone in our system

  • Alec Brownscombe

    .JVR. Alec Brownscombe #13
    He’s the natural successor

  • Dangle_My_Berries

    wiski Dangle_My_Berries at least he looks young enough to be part of our core lol

  • Dangle_My_Berries

    JMAC17 Dangle_My_Berries give Barb a couple weeks with Smitty and he will be flying like Colton Orr out there

  • Wilbur

    So what’s the issue with TJ Brennan. He pretty much set some records for Rochester last year yet doesn’t get a shot in the big show. He’s on fire for the Marlies but no shot so far with TO or trade. Is he one of those career AHLers?

  • JWaterdrager

    So the Leafs signed Smithson… I might graduate from university afterall

  • JWaterdrager

    DeniedAnd who replaces Bolland? 😉

  • Cameron19

    Wilbur Too young to be a career AHL’er I would think.  Those records were set at what, 23 years old?

  • docyqx

    Wilbur 
    Isn’t Brennan a defenceman, last time I looked, the Leafs had more than enough D men on the roster already, and most likely a call up for Brennan would also mean exposing him to waivers, unless it’s of the emergency call up variety…….just my thinking………..as well as Brennan has been doing,

  • Cameron19

    docyqx Wilbur You don’t have to clear waivers to come up.

  • wiski

    Cameron19 docyqx Wilbur Teach the fucker how to take a face-off 😉

  • mike_84

    Cameron19 docyqx Wilbur he would to go back down

  • http://mapleleafshotstove.com/ Jimmy Keating

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=baJSrH3mNLw

  • http://mapleleafshotstove.com/ Jimmy Keating

    This guy should be a top 6 centre on the Leafs.

  • Pent_House

    Jimmy Keating He can’t even be a top6 in philly lol

  • Burtonboy

    Does this guy ever say anything constructive about the Leaf 
    http://theleafsnation.com/2013/11/6/counterpoint-smithson-signing-shows-lack-of-institutional-creativity

  • B_Leaf

    I guess the key with Smithson is just how much of a step he has lost. As long as it isn’t crazy slow, I can’t see the problem. I just love having a face off guy. The fact that he has size and physicality makes it seem like a terrific fit. All of a sudden with Smithson, Mcclement, and JVR we have decent size up the middle.

  • http://mapleleafshotstove.com/ Jimmy Keating

    Pent_House Jimmy KeatingBehind Giroux and Lecavalier? What a loser.

  • rustynail

    Burtonboy  he’s a Canucks fan isn’t he?

  • Pent_House

    Jimmy Keating Pent_House So he’s going to beat out Bozak and Kadri?