The New York Rangers are going to give defenseman Brendan Smith a chance to make the squad when training camp opens in September.
Rangers will give Brendan Smith an opportunity to make the team https://t.co/HKoCf3awSc
— SNYRangers (@SNYRangers) July 5, 2018
Brendan Smith was acquired by the Rangers at the trade deadline in 2017 from Detroit for the Rangers third-round pick in 2017 NHL Draft and a second-round pick (previously acquired from Ottawa) in 2018 NHL Draft. He was paired up with Brady Skjei and the two had a pretty good playoff run until the team was eliminated in the second-round by the Ottawa Senators.
Smith signed a new four year, $17.4 million in June 2017 prior to becoming an unrestricted free agent. All seemed great in Rangerstown for Smith as he and the team headed into training camp that following September.
The 2017-18 season began and things looked unusually strange for the defenseman. Giveaways, poor decisions and out-of-position-play haunted Smith through the first half of the season. With that came long stretches of sitting in the press box watching games and getting on the wrong side of then-coach Alain Vigneault.
The inevitable occurred on Feb. 8 when Smith was placed on waivers and once he cleared was sent to the AHL Hartford Wolf Pack after appearing on only 44 games for New York.
To end the season of hell for Smith, he broke his hand during a fight with teammate Vinni Lettieri in practice. Smith appeared in 11 games for the Hartford Wolf Pack registering two assists.
The 2017-18 season is a time for Smith to learn from the past and take advantage of what could lie ahead of him in the future.
General manager Jeff Gorton spoke about Smith’s situation on Monday night during an MSG special, which was reported by SNY.com.
“We will give Brendan another opportunity to get back on our team and help us. One of the things we liked about him was his physicality, how he played in front of the net, his skating, how he played in that run we had two-years ago was why we signed him. We think that Brendan is doing all the right things in the summer to give himself a chance to get back into the top-six and contribute and be the player we know he can be.”
Second chances do not happen often in the NHL. The Rangers need defensive help on their blue line and Smith can be the guy the team needs to guide the team come October.
Hopefully, Smith has had all the bad luck done with and the player the team traded for in 2017 can emerge and take his spot back in the top six.