40
Photo Credit: Larry Brunt/Spokane Chiefs

At 10: Ty Smith

If Ty Smith remains on the board when the Edmonton Oilers walk to the podium with the 10th selection at the 2018 NHL Entry Draft in Dallas and fellow blueliners Quinton Hughes, Noah Dobson and Evan Bouchard have been taken, is he their man? Does Keith Gretzky and the members of his amateur scouting staff think enough of the slick, little playmaker from Lloydminster to take Smith with the pick? It’s their list, not anybody else’s, after all, that matters. I don’t have that answer.

What I do know is Smith, a teammate of 2017 Oiler pick Kailer Yamamoto with the Spokane Chiefs, scored 14-59-73 in 69 games last season and he ticks a lot of boxes for the Oilers. He’s smart. He can run a power play. He skates well. If there’s a negative, given the Oilers’ wish-list, it’s that the undersized Smith is a left-hand shot, not a rightie, who plays the right side. I’m guessing the Oilers have Hughes, Dobson and Bouchard (and forward Oliver Wahlstrom) rated higher, but they’d have to drop to be available at 10.

Not Smith. Based on the majority of prospect rankings I put the most weight in, Smith should be available. Again, do they want him? Based on what Oilers Now host and team radio analyst Bob Stauffer said on Twitter the other day, they should. Stauffer: “He may be ranked 10th thru 20th by most scouting services but to me Ty Smith makes a lot of sense to EDM at #10. Mature, intelligent young man, very good skater with hockey sense. Strong leadership skills, respected by teammates. Had 14-59-73, +44 with Spokane this season.

Here’s how Smith stacks up in the rankings:

International Scouting Services (ISS): 19th
Bob McKenzie of TSN: 13th
Central Scouting: 14th among NA skaters
McKeen’s Hockey: 15th
Sam Cosentino of Sportsnet: 12th
Ryan Kennedy of The Hockey News: 10th

ABOUT SMITH

Rankings aside, over at MyNHL.com, the staff has Smith going 15th overall to the Florida Panthers. At NHL.com, Mike Morreale has Smith going 11th to the New York Islanders. Larry Fisher, who has done an exhaustive ranking and mock draft of every round at The Hockey Writers, has Smith going 10th to the Oilers. Then, the comment by Stauffer. I don’t think Stauffer offers up that remark unless he knows something. Am I reading too much into it? Maybe, but I don’t think so.

Here’s what people are saying about Smith:

  • “Another mobile defenseman, Smith doesn’t have a ton of size, but it rarely seems to matter. Plays against top lines and defends better than many of his peers in this draft class.” – Kennedy, THN
  • “Class and character best describe Canada’s U-18 captain. Smith performed well for Spokane in the playoffs before heading overseas. One of the best skaters in the draft he has a never ending thirst to improve.” – Cosentino
  • “A silky-smooth puck mover who is the cream of this year’s Western Canadian draft contingent, Smith is an outstanding power-play quarterback with excellent agility and a real nose for the net. There’s some Drew Doughty to his game, especially the way he handles an aggressive fore-check.” – Steve Kournianos, The Sporting News.

A FIT FOR THE OILERS?

Smith, the WHL scholastic player of the year, finished second in scoring among league D-men – New York Islanders’ pick David Quenneville led with 80 points. Scouts will tell you Smith can defend, and that he can also turn the puck up ice in a hurry when he gets the chance. “I have the green light for the most part, the coaches have been great with that,” Smith said this season. “From the defensive side of things, I’ve been working on that quite a bit. The better I defend, the more I can help the offense.”

The consensus among scouts seems to be that Smith is the best prospect coming out of the WHL this season. You’d also think the Oilers might have a little extra intel on Smith with the Yamamoto connection as well. Maybe a team or two picking higher goes off the board and Bouchard or Dobson are available when the Oilers pick. In that scenario, you’d think the Oilers would take either one of them ahead of Smith, no? If they’re gone, different story. Smith fits in a lot of ways.

ARTICLE BROUGHT TO YOU BY SPORTS EXCELLENCE

Founded in 1950, Sports Excellence Corporation represents over 150 family-owned independent hockey retailers across Canada and the United States. Our highly knowledgeable hockey specialists are available to assist all your equipment needs. Find your closest Sports Excellence retailer here!

RECENTLY BY ROBIN BROWNLEE  

  • outKast

    Robin, are you assuming Boqvist is off the board? Because otherwise, how does this keep on happening?The Oilers need to start pick players outside the WHL. Boqvist is miles better than Ty Smith.

    • Ryan Jones Is Still My Hero

      I agree with you that I would rather take Boqvist than Smith if the option is there, but I think saying Boqvist is “miles better” might be a stretch too. By all accounts, Boqvist’s stock has been dropping lately, and Smith’s has been rising. Smith is a lefty but plays the right side, which means he could potentially still fill that hole, so that works in his favour. I think you just have to trust the scouts and their judgment, if they truly feel that Smith is better than Boqvist, then take Smith, or vice versa. The Oilers have done a pretty good job drafting since Chiarelli took over so you have to give them the benefit of the doubt that their selection is truly the best player available at the time.

    • If the “this” you refer to is not writing about Boqvist, it’s because I think it’s highly unlikely he’ll slip beyond 6-7-8.
      As for picking players outside the WHL, all teams need to look beyond their own backyards. I’ve done five profiles:

      Evan Bouchard, OHL
      Noah Dobson, QMJHL
      Oliver Wahlstrom, US Under-18
      Barrett Hayton, OHL
      Ty Smith, WHL

    • crabman

      I think picking Smith over Boqvist would be equal to taking Hayton in the 10 spot. It would be a safer bet. Boqvist looks like he has a higher cieling than Smith but is maybe a bigger risk of busting. Smith seems to be as sure a thing as you are going to get from an udersized defenceman.

      • Leo Tard

        I think many people are underestimating handedness. Right handed, point producing dman are absolute gold in the NHL. Drafting another lefty would be a mistake in my opinion. Not that they will not develop, but rather, that they will not be worth as much once developed. I have the same opinion about taking wingers over centers. For this reason, I am not a fan of drafting Smith over whichever righty d that are still available.

        • Die Hard Oiler Fan

          I couldn’t agree more. Despite his talents, there are two things that Ty Smith will never bring….. 1) the ability to shoot right-handed; 2) size. The lack of an offensive dman with a big shot is a key reason our PP sucks so badly. The PP starts with either McDavid or Draisaitl on the side wall. Putting a left-handed shot at the RD position makes it easier for the opposition to cut off the pass to the point, unless the dman is over near the boards as well (i.e. we can’t get the one-timer from the blue-line from center of the ice). In trrms of size, I fully understand the move towards speed and greater acceptance of the smaller dmen. That said they won’t win puck battles in their own end, nor battles in front of their own net. Both of these become more important come playoff time, when the intensity goes up and the refs put their whistles away (or at least call less). If I had the final say on the Oilers behalf, and the “concensus” top RHD available (Dobson, Boqvist, Bouchard) have already been taken, I’d be drafting Bode Wilde. While perhaps a small “reach” (ranked in the 15-20 range on most lists), he is over 6′ 2″, approx 195 pounds; likes to hit; shoots right; has a big shot; and skates very well. Some great videos at eliteprospects.com if you are interested. He probably wouldn’t help the Oilers this year, but has al the tools to be a factor down the road.

    • Leo Tard

      Klefbom>Smith. Nurse>Smith. I don’t see where he fits. Maybe we could convert him to right D? Just what the team needs. Another lefty playing the right side. Worked for the last 12 years.

      • crabman

        @Leo Tard,

        I think tou missed the point. RexHolez is saying, correct me if I’m wrong, the team needs another Smith. as in Ryan Smith, Jason Smith, Steve Smith. It was a joke.

  • Rama Lama

    Please no, say no to small defenceman PC. It’s not that they are not good hockey players but in the NHL size matters, and in the playoffs it matters even more not less like we have been led to believe.

    I just cannot recall teams coveting a small defenceman. They mostly get exposed in the NHL, as everyone can skate in the NHL.

  • crabman

    Smith wouldn’t be my 1st choice but picking him at 10 would be in the range and I don’t think I would be disappointed.
    The same as all other prospect profiles and talk about should the Oilers pick this player, it all comes back to who is left at 10? did someone the team really likes fall?
    I don’t have issue with his size. He has room to add 10-15lbs to his frame over the next few years. He is an excellent skater and to be the 2nd highest scoring defenceman in the WHL in a season he spent as a 17 year old for the majority is impressive. He is another lefty but if he is 2 years away that would put Russell and Sekera in their last year of contract, if they are even still here, and if he is 3 years away there could be a hole on LD. Who’s to say both of Nurse and Klefbom will be here? It’s too hard to predict a roster 3 years down the road and for that reason they shouldn’t pick for positional need.
    I would still take a homerun swing for a player like Boqvist,with his higher risk higher return, if it was between the 2. That said I would be happy with Smith and I think he will be a very good top4 defenceman and PP QB for someone for a longtime.

  • OnDaWagon

    He may be a bit undersized, but so was/is Tory Krug, and he plays in very difficult situations for Boston. Ability and determination can raise a players stock immensely. I would have doubts about another leftie, but not if the leftie has his comfort zone on the right side.

  • RJ

    The athletic had an article about the top 10. Dahlin and Svechnikov are locks for one and two, but nearly all of the rest of the top 10 have articles about their willingness to trade down (but stay within the top-10).

    What I’d like to see is an article comparing all of the RHD (and/or the defence who play the RH side).

    It would be helpful to know which RHD are worth trading up for, and where in the top-10 they should pursue a trade.

    Ty Smith sounds like a solid piece, but the oil should be looking for a top-pairing RHD and trade up to find the second best defenceman in this draft.

    • Leo Tard

      I like your train of thought here. The question then becomes, is it worth the assests to trade up and grab this (unproven) dman now? Or, should the assets be used to grab yourself a (proven) right hand dman now? If you are willing to wait out the development process then I say take the first road. My bet would be that the Oil follow the second road, since Chia will be in a big hurry to improve his club due to his job being on the line. They tell us there is a plan. I don’t believe there is one….a team with a plan would draft and develop (properly). I guess we will know in a week or two.

    • crabman

      I’m not a fan of the idea to trade up. It is too hard to tell who will be the best defenceman out of the group and the opinions vary from scout to scout. It isn’t often the highest ranked or drafted defenceman ends up being the best defenceman out of the draft. In a draft like this one where there seems to be lots of quality defencemen, both at the top of the draft and through the 1st and start of the 2nd round, I wouldn’t spend assets to move up to get one of them.

  • cityofchampions

    I’d be talking to Buffalo about Rasmus Ristolainen, whose name has came up in trade talk for some reason. Seems idiotic for Buffalo to trade him, but Risto is exactly what we need on the ride side and is ready to roll. Trade the #10 and any one of our 3rd/4th line forwards that Buffalo wants (anyone but McD, Nuge, Drai, possibly Poolparty or Yamamoto). Risto is a RHD with great shot who runs the PP….and is still developing and in the McDavid age cluster. Then we’d have a fairly young and improving top 4 of Klefbom, Larsson, Nurse and Risto, with Sekera and Russell being an overpaid veteran 3rd pair and Bear there to push them for time. Russel would be an ideal 7th dman, except for the fact he is paid way too much.

    • RexHolez

      Not for me thanks. There’s a reason why Ristolainen is rumoured to be available. He’s extremely one dimensional. He’s good on the power play, but gets out scored 5v5 by guys like Kris Russel and Roman Polak. He’s also not a good defender and isn’t good at breaking the puck out.

      For what it would cost to get him i wouldn’t even consider Ristolainen

  • Freddie the fog

    Pronman has Bouchard at #17, Wilde at #18, Dobson at #20, and Ty Smith at 21. With this group its too close to call who ends up being the best Dman in the long run. You can’t worry about lefty / righty when nobody has any idea what the roster compisition will be a couple years or more down the road when these players should be knocking on the door for NHL playing time. Interestingly Pronman has Ryan Merkely ranked at #10. Do the Oilers swing for the fence if he’s there ? Personally if Boqvist, Bouchard, Dobson are off the board by 10 I think Ty Smith would be a fine selection.

    • Leo Tard

      A well managed team WILL know what the roster will look like a couple of years down the road. This is where, and how, a plan works. Plant the work, and then work the dam plan. All hope is lost for this team if there is not a plan. Drafting another lefty should not be a plan. The leftorium is full and has been for three full years. My statement here does not say that Smith is not a good prospect. But you are saying there is no way to know what the roster will be in a few years. Pure hooey.

      • ponokanocker

        Except this is life, not a video game. Prospects don’t turn out the way you want them to, players don’t progress the way you would have thought, players get hurt, players ask for trades and you never know who might become a UFA that you might really want. You need a plan, but each year it will alter to an extent. Does Ethan Bear become our 2nd pair RHD in 2019 and for the next 10 years? Who knows.

        • Leo Tard

          Plans may need to be adjusted from time to time, but to say that you don’t know what your roster will resemble two years from now is still pure hooey. Most of ones core, and their contracts are known. Know your core, and build around it. This is basic, basic stuff. The left side of the defence has a core, the right defence does not, so let’s add to the left? Rediculous.

          • RexHolez

            I think you have to take whoever your scouts think will be the best player no matter which hand they shoot. If you need to adjust your balance you can always make a trade.

          • crabman

            @Leo Tard

            Freddie said if the top RD are gone he would be fine with Smith. He acknowledges he would take the RD if the oppertunity was there. If they are off the board we still have a need for a puck moving defenceman and if the team feels Smith is BPA at 10 they should pick him. Teams that consistantly draft BPA will have a higher skill team and can always trade from a position of strength.
            For example Nashville drafted Jones even though they had Weber and Ellis on the right side and then flipped him for the 1C they needed.
            Also we don’t know what Chiarelli’s plan is. There have been rumors of him considering moving Klefbom for a top4 RD. If that happens the team will be in need of a top4 LD in a couple years. So needs can change quickly and we aren’t privy to the master plan.

    • Pronman is so far off (low) on Dobson, Bouchard and Smith it’s staggering, as the record will show when the names are called. Merkley at 10? Not a chance. Not close. He seems to be relatively in line with others I trust on Wilde.

  • ROILYDoGG$

    My list based on team needs RH wing or RH dman with high offence and higher up the list due to the possibility of being NHL ready except boqlvist as he is 17 and younger of the bunch but possibly had more offensive upside. I prefer the bigger more complete players but he could be a late steal.
    1.Dobson.
    2.Bouchard
    3.wahlstrom
    4.Boqvist
    5.Wilde
    The other option is if Wilde or a forward are both available we can trade down for 2 pics or 1 and a player to fill a hole in our roster.