Known for his grit and willingness to be a net front presence on the ice, Red Wings 2016 second-round (46th overall) pick Givani Smith has all the makings of being a one of those highly touted prospects that will produce solidly at the NHL level.
Smith is also not afraid to drop the gloves and get in the middle of things on the ice either resulting in considerable amount of time spent in the sin bin (led the OHL with 146 penalty minutes during the 2015-16 season). It shouldn’t take away from the other qualities he brings to the ice. The ability to score goals and do the small things that don’t necessarily show up in the box score each and every night are the things that Smith thrives on doing.
“For me, I like to hit and also like to score goals,” he said. “I like to do both, and that’s kind of how I see myself. I’m an aggressive guy on the ice, but at the same time, I’m going to be working hard to score goals.”
General manager Ken Holland sees plenty of upside when it comes to the young, power forward.
“I think he goes to the paint,” Holland said. “If you want to score goals in the world today, with the size of the goalies and with the way they play defense, you got to go to the paint. You got to go to the paint, and he goes to the paint. He’s not going to be deterred.”
Former Red Wing forward and current special assistant to the general manager Kris Draper chimed in with his view on Givani Smith as well.
“The way that he scored goals was something that every time I got into the car and drove home, I would say, ‘those are the kind of goals you score at the NHL level,’ ” Draper said during the team’s development camp Wednesday at Center Ice Arena.
“Givani is a player who likes to get on the inside. He scores goals off the power play by being a net-front presence, so he gets to the net. When he gets to the net, he has good hands.”
Some pretty encouraging words coming from two front office guys that watch the action on the ice extremely close and breakdown a prospect from head to toe. Smith is a very intriguing player in Wings’ organization, one that I believe we will be hearing more and more chatter surrounding his name in the near future. He’s a student of the game and wants to be the best possible hockey player he can be to help his team. You can’t ask for much more than that.
“That’s my office out there, so you’ll have to battle for that,” Smith said. “That’s where I mostly am, in front of the net and around the net. Now I just need to get a little bit better every single day.”