The Toronto Marlies have made their second addition of the summer with the re-signing of forward Colin Smith to a one-year American Hockey League contract.
The centreman was originally acquired by the Toronto Maple Leafs from Colorado back in February of this year in the trade that sent Shawn Matthias the other way.
At the time of the trade, Smith’s season with San Antonio Rampage had hit the skids, having gone pointless in eight straight games before the transaction. The Edmonton native found his feet three games into his Toronto career with a pair of goals and assists against Rochester, and never looked back from that moment on.
Smith finished the regular season with 22 points from 23 games, fifteen of which were primary points, including an overtime winner against Lehigh. In hindsight, he was overlooked way too many times during the playoff campaign, as his performances were far more consistent than others selected ahead of him on the Marlies‘ stacked post-season roster.
With the Leafs not qualifying Smith as an RFA, there was talk of the 23-year-old free agent heading to the KHL to join CSKA Moscow, whom recently acquired his rights.
The Leafs were not prepared to commit one of 50 NHL Standard Player Contract slots to Smith, so the fact that he opted to stay in Toronto on an AHL contract is excellent news for an organization that recently lost centermen Mark Arcobello and Sam Carrick. Smith will no doubt be asked to play top six minutes and provides vital depth at a position the Marlies lack cover in. The playmaker will also bring nearly 200 games of AHL experience to what’s likely to be another young AHL roster in Toronto next season.
The Leafs could still sign him to an NHL deal at anytime from this point on should they so desire, as they did previously with Byron Froese.