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?):
new thread been up a while http://mapleleafshotstove.com/2013/11/07/randy-carlyle-thursday-practice/
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.
What do you guys think of this D lineup for Friday night:
Does Rielly feel like he's going thru some growing pains?: “Yeah, I think so, but I’m not really too concerned about it ..." (1of2)Mark Masters @markhmasters1m
Rielly: "... I’m not sure if there’s one area of my game that’s really been bad or anything like that." (2of2)
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.
@MaxwellHowe He is cheap and they can.
@MaxwellHowe well Lowe is still there and he does love lotteries
@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.
@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
@B_Leaf Your 2nd pair should be 3rd pair. Fraser is not suited to play big minutes against top players
@Burtonboy Stupid question - what is the difference between a 2 and 1 way deal?
@Burtonboy So the Leafs can actually have a 23 man roster now, should they choose
@Pent_House Mirror image of the Pacific division.
@twitting_sg I've been on relaxers ever since..can't blame poor ol' Ford
@twitting_sg He just got added to my list of enemies.
@TML__fan can't be any slower than Steckel
@TML__fan My understanding is he's a better skater then Steckel
There's Poulin talking yesterday and during that he talks about their thoughts on Paul Ranger.
@CanuckUKinToronto words of a moron.
@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.
@Burtonboy All the evidence I need that Gardiner will never be elite. He is now tradeable.
Hopefully Fraser feels more comfortable playing the right side.
@Murph2417 There were an irresponsible number of IRR words in that post, One-L-Wil. We get it, you're educated.
@Burtonboy Well although that's not hard to do, its encouraging. Hopefully he can keep up with Orr and MacLaren. ;-)
@-Keon- Keep it that way. He's been great all year.
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.
@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.
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.
If Gardiner was uncomfortable on the right side, why didn't they move Ranger over there long ago?