Just a young and inexperienced 22-year-old hockey player, you say?
I beg to differ that Ontario native Reilly Smith’s age reflects or correlates the style or ability of play he displays, nor his knowledge of the game.
In 2009, the 6-foot and 185-pound forward was drafted to the Dallas Stars at the age of 17. Yes, he had not graduated high school, yet was one of the top (third overall) NHL draftees.
To say athletic ability and talent runs in the Smith family is an understatement. Following in both of his brothers’ foot steps, Smith made it to the big leagues in his respective sport. His older brother Brendan, only two years older than him, currently plays defense for the Atlantic Division foe Detroit Red Wings. Rory, also older, currently plays for the Buffalo Bandits of the National Lacrosse League.
Before hitting the ice for the first time as an NHL player, Smith joined the Miami University RedHawks men’s hockey team located in Ohio. Coincidentally, while competing for Miami, Smith played against future-Bruin teammate Torey Krug, who played defense at Michigan State University – a fellow member of the Central Collegiate Hockey Association. A funny note: Smith is only a mere 11 days older than Krug.
As a RedHawk, Smith appeared in 121 games. He averaged over a point a game, tallying 66 goals and 56 assists for 122 points. “His stick is crazy,” said Miami of Ohio head coach Enrico Blasi. “It’s so good. The more he plays the better he gets.” His outstanding play in the CCHA earned him two All-CCHA First Team awards for the 2010-11 and 2011-12 seasons.
A youthful, yet hockey-mature Smith stepped on the ice at Rexall Place in Edmonton, Alberta on Mar. 28, 2012 for his National Hockey League debut with the Dallas Stars. Although he debuted in 2012, his first NHL goal came almost a full year later in Vancouver, BC.
No doubt was the selection of Smith, in the Boston-Dallas megadeal of July, a great decision for the Bruins. “Oh, no. Absolutely not,” said General Manager Peter Chiarelli when he was asked if Smith was merely tossed into the Fourth of July deal. The night sky – blanketed with fireworks sizzling and sparkling throughout – was not the only place experiencing explosions of amazement. Smith, alongside two NHL prospects in Matt Fraser and Joe Morrow and underrated forward Loui Eriksson were traded to the Boston Bruins from the Dallas Stars for Tyler Seguin, Rich Peverley and Ryan Button.
Smith made no hesitation when the season started to seize his opportunity of earning a spot on the roster, all while proving many sport analysts and NHL fans wrong – in a good way.
Playing in every single game so far this season has definitely helped the Bruins and Smith’s statistics. He has scored the most goals (15) for the Bruins. Truly an unselfish player because he has a total of 32 points so far this season, the second highest number of points on the team, behind David Krejci. He has the third highest number of assists (17), as well.
Reilly Smith has been a key player for the Boston Bruins lately, and hopefully will continue his finesse, tough, and smart style of play. For those who own NESN, click over on Tuesday, Jan. 7, at 10 p.m. to watch Smith and the Bruins rematch against the Anaheim Ducks in Anaheim, Calif.