Leafs Sign Jerred Smithson

Leafs Sign Jerred Smithson

769

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?):

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]
629 comments
Jordan29
Jordan29

Anything interesting today?

MaxwellHowe
MaxwellHowe

Why are the Oilers insisting on keeping Yakupov? They must be trying to wring more out of potential trading partners.  MacT talked about aggressively making changes and he has accomplished exactly nothing.

B_Leaf
B_Leaf

What do you guys think of this D lineup for Friday night:

Rielly Phaneuf

Fraser Franson

Gardiner Ranger

twitting_sg
twitting_sg

This guy played Wes Crusher in Star Tek:TNG and is a huge Kings fan..


Wil Wheaton ‏@wilw

2m

Rob Ford is irrefutable evidence that some Torontonians were irreparably broken by the Kings eliminating the Leafs in the 1993 playoffs.

TML__fan
TML__fan

Is Smithson just a smaller version of what the Leafs had with Steckel?  Someone good on faceoffs, who can play some PK and some 4th line minutes.  Not liking that he is a slow skater though.

Burtonboy
Burtonboy

Franson has good things to say about Smithson

TroyTech
TroyTech

Also, lose Ranger, not Gunner.

TroyTech
TroyTech

@B_Leaf I'd like to see Fraser paired with Phaneuf on the PK. And Gardiner-Rielly together on the PP. Have Franzon take second shift on both.

MaxwellHowe
MaxwellHowe

@B_Leaf Well you got rid of the right guy. But why not dress 7 dmen in case someone is having a shitty night?   Double shift the best forward

Burtonboy
Burtonboy

@B_Leaf  Your 2nd pair should be 3rd pair. Fraser is not suited to play big minutes against top players 

peterbleafs
peterbleafs

@CanuckUKinToronto I hate when coaches are hypocritical, but then he is attempting to build Rielly into an elite defender, so the ultimate standard is much higher for Rielly.

peterbleafs
peterbleafs

@Burtonboy All the evidence I need that Gardiner will never be elite.  He is now tradeable.

.JVR.
.JVR.

@Burtonboy 

Hopefully Fraser feels more comfortable playing the right side.

B_Leaf
B_Leaf

@Burtonboy @B_Leaf 

I just find when Franson and Fraser play together the sum total is greater than the individual parts.

We need to get some nasty back into our D.

Burtonboy
Burtonboy

@The Toronto Maple Leaf @Burtonboy Just how the salary is paid out . 1 way means he get paid his NHL salary even if he plays in the AHL. 2 way means there are 2 different pay rates depending on which league you play in . Paid much less in the AHL.

djamon
djamon

@Murph2417 There were an irresponsible number of IRR words in that post, One-L-Wil. We get it, you're educated.

theacs1966
theacs1966

@Burtonboy @TML__fan Steckel didn't play up to his size, except when he hit Crosby.  A slightly better version than Steckel, not by much but a little.

TML__fan
TML__fan

@Burtonboy Well although that's not hard to do, its encouraging.  Hopefully he can keep up with Orr and MacLaren. ;-)

mcloki
mcloki

@-Keon- Keep it that way. He's been great all year.

Burtonboy
Burtonboy

@B_Leaf @Burtonboy I would argue he didn't play nearly as well when he faced better players and that was in the second half of the year 

B_Leaf
B_Leaf

@Burtonboy @B_Leaf

Well down the stretch when the Leafs were playing arguably their best hockey he was playing 20 minutes a night. The playoffs were a bump for almost everyone at the start...perhaps more for Fraser, but it was a very small sample. In game seven his absence was a killer.

But sure bottom pair or middle pair 16-20 minutes.

Burtonboy
Burtonboy

@B_Leaf @Burtonboy On the bottom pair yes . We all saw what happened last yr when Fraser moved up the depth chart 

Burtonboy
Burtonboy

@TML__fan @Burtonboy We are about to find out . People who have seen him play say he's not as slow as some are making him out to be 

theacs1966
theacs1966

@CanuckUKinToronto @-Keon- It looks like Jake is being broken down and rebuilt.  Master the D first and O will follow.  Doesn't help that he's been playing on the wrong point.  That is supposed to have changed now, look for Gardiner to slowly pick up his offense.  He's getting lots of minutes, if he can be a guy who works well on the D side, I'll let our skilled forwards scored the goals.

Burtonboy
Burtonboy

@Alec Brownscombe @peterbleafs @Burtonboy If Jake and Franny can find the same chemistry they had in the playoffs then that's a good thing. Its going to be really interesting to see how the Ranger / Fraser pairing works with Ranger switching to the right side 

.JVR.
.JVR.

@Pent_House

His overall game has improved quite a bit since the start of the season, so I don't think it'll be nearly as disastrous.

Burtonboy
Burtonboy

@.JVR. @Burtonboy I have no clue . I figured Ranger was having more trouble playing the right side then Gards and thats why he paired them that way . I have no idea how this is gonna play out with Ranger switching to the right with Fraser 

.JVR.
.JVR.

@Burtonboy

If Gardiner was uncomfortable on the right side, why didn't they move Ranger over there long ago?