This move was the right one for the Maple Leafs. Rather than making a trade and giving up assets for a temporary solution, they decided to sign a player that had playing with the Marlies on a pro tryout contract. This allows them to bring more experience to the center position with Tyler Bozak and Dave Bolland out with injuries.
While some might say that Smith was doing an admirable job as the fourth line center, Smithson gives the Leafs a few intangibles. First, the experience. Smith only has 33 games of NHL experience while Smithson has been playing for 10 years.
The biggest reason the Leafs signed and brought up Smithson rather than keeping Smith is in the faceoff circle. Smithson was thirteenth in faceoff percentage last season and has finished as high as sixth in that category. With the Leafs struggling in the faceoff circle, Smithson will give the Leafs some stability. When the Leafs need a faceoff won, Smithson gives the Leafs another option other than Jay McClement.
Being placed on the fourth line, he won’t be expected to play an offensive game, which is good because his offensive game is nearly non-existent. He is however a dependable defensive player that could vastly help the Leafs in Bozak and Bolland’s absence.
This looks like a very good signing by the Leafs. Let’s see if it pays off.