November 5, 2011

Craig Smith - A Star is Born in Nashville

Every year when the Nashville Predators have been eliminated from the playoffs the general consensus is that the Predators need to pick up more scoring.  Defensively the Predators have been a solid team over the past years but have lacked in the scoring department.  Last year they added Kostitsyn and Fisher with the intention to add more scoring, which happened, however it wasn’t enough.  With one key line looked too to score the majority of the Nashville points, the Canucks were able to focus on that line and limit the chances. 

This offseason Predators fans seemed dismayed at the team’s lack of enthusiasm in attracting that last missing goal scorer.  Little did they know that Nashville had what they needed waiting in the wings at the University of Wisconsin.  Craig Smith was what the team was waiting for to be exact.  Smith celebrated his coming out party during the World Championships last summer, but this performance was pushed off as kind of flukey due to the lack of big names in the tournament.  Then when Smith lit up goaltenders during training camp, preseason and rookie games people played it off because he wasn’t playing with established NHL players.  Well now that the regular season is 12 games in, Smith has shown that neither of those showings was a fluke, and he’s ready to help the team make a push, and make his own push for the Calder Trophy.  Smith so far is not only getting time in all situations for the Predators, but he is ranked 2nd in points among all rookies with 10, only one point behind Nugent-Hopkins of Edmonton, and Buffalo’s Luke Adam. 

Smith’s consistent performance so far this season has given Predators fans something to look forward to for the rest of this season and for years to come.  The maturity and on-ice presence he has shown playing with players like SK74, Hornqvist and even Mike Fisher.  Predators fans and NHL fans alike have an interesting Calder trophy battle to look forward to this season as Smith will continue to produce and eventually start to be mentioned in the same sentence as Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Gabriel Landeskog when it comes to top rookies. 

- Isaac Berky

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