It took 17 games, but on Tuesday night against Detroit, Nashville’s Craig Smith finally scored his first goal of the season.
On a night when the Nashville Predators defeated the Columbus Blue Jackets 3-2 in Nationwide Arena to win their third consecutive season opener, it was a line of three Americans that stole the show.
The Predators drafted Ryan Ellis, Taylor Beck, Michael Latta, Mattias Ekholm, Craig Smith and Gabriel Bourque in the first five rounds of the 2009 NHL Entry Draft.
Could it become David Poile’s masterpiece?
The last time David Poile lured a Wisconsin player out of school was when Ryan Suter left the Badgers to join the Predators organization.
Craig Smith, a Madison native like Suter, is the next, foregoing his last two years of eligibility to sign a with Nashville. Drafted in the fourth round in 2009 behind Ryan Ellis, Zach Budish, Charles-Olivier Roussel, Taylor Beck, and Michael Latta, Smith has spent the last two seasons at the University of Wisconsin. During those two seasons, including a freshman season where he was teammate to Hobey Baker winner and current Nashville Predator Blake Geoffrion, he scored 76 points (27 G – 49 A) in 82 games. In addition, Smith earned a spot on Team USA during the 2011 IIHF World Championship, where he scored 6 points (3 G – 3 A) in 7 games, ranking him as the #2 scorer for Team USA in the tournament.
While he isn’t the answer to the Predators’ goal scoring conundrum – he’s more of an assist guy – Smith is the type of playmaker that simply makes things happen. A good all-around player, Smith should be able to compete for a spot in the NHL coming straight out of camp.
Press release after the jump.