The Toronto Maple Leafs have agreed a one year deal with forward Trevor Smith. He’s no stranger to the team, spending a chunk of his season in the NHL while also captaining the Marlies. Terms have not been disclosed at this time.
The (probably less than a) million dollar question that many probably have is simple – where exactly does he play this year? He had a near 50/50 split in regular season games played last year, playing 28 on the Leafs and 24 on the Marlies. Which side does he tip over to?
As of right now, I’d have to argue that he has a very solid shot of playing with the Maple Leafs full time next year. His production rates were surprisingly good (1.59 points per 60, slightly higher than Joffrey Lupul), and his possession rates were just slightly before average, despite equally iffy zone starts. His playstyle aligns with management’s feelings as to how hockey players should play, and the Leafs have that whole “lack of a forth line centre” thing currently going for them.
Smith knows he has work to do if he wants this to be his reality. “There’s always stuff that you need to work in in the offseason to improve your game, to get faster and stronger. I need to get back to the drawing board and work on my skating, and making sure my hands are ready to go for next season.”
The other option, of course, is that he goes back to being the head honcho down with the Marlies. It’s weird to have a captain that only plays a third of your season, but this team definitely made it work in their run to Game 7 of the Western Conference Finals. Smith was an integral factor in this, scoring a point in almost every game he played with the team, and tallying 13 goals to go with 24 assists in 38 regular season and playoff games.
If he goes down, Smith will be an impact player on the roster, likely slotting in as the first or second line centre. The only things that may effect this are how Greg McKegg performs in camp, and what exactly William Nylander is up to in a few months. Regardless of where he is in the lineup, he will most definitely be the leader in the room, something he enjoys. “It was challenging at times, and rewarding at times. It’s a great honor to wear the C for such a great organization.”
Either way, expect Smith to be helping out the team moving forward in some capacity, whether it’s by rounding out the bottom six, or helping the younger players progress in their development.