Former Chiefs defenceman Ty Smith making early impact with Devils

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Ty Smith, Defence
New Jersey Devils (2021-present)
2 GP – 1G – 1A – 2 pts.

Spokane Chiefs (2016-2020)
240 GP – 45G – 190A – 235 pts.

Awards: WHL First All-Star (West, 2017-18); WHL Scholastic Player of the Year (2017-18); WHL First All-Star (West, 2018-19); WHL Defenceman of the Year (2018-19); CHL Defenceman of the Year (2018-19); WHL First All-Star (West, 2019-20); WHL Defenceman of the Year (2019-10)

Newsfeed photo courtesy Andrew Maclean / New Jersey Devils

It hasn’t taken long for former Spokane Chiefs defenceman Ty Smith to make his mark on the New Jersey Devils.

The product of Lloydminster, Alta., was selected by the Devils in the first round (17th overall) of the 2017 NHL Draft, and made his long-awaited debut with New Jersey on January 14 against the Boston Bruins. Skating in his first NHL contest, the two-time WHL Defenceman of the Year scored his first NHL goal. In his second NHL game, the 5-foot-11, 175-pound rearguard registered a primary assist.

“I felt their guy coming a little bit, made a bit of a move and just tried to put it on net, get it through,” Smith said, recounting his first-career NHL goal during post-game media on January 14. “I think it just kind of went off a couple guys and I just got lucky.”

Smith hasn’t been completely sheltered in his first week of full-time NHL duty either, skating an average of 17:18 per night through those two outings and seeing some time on his team’s second power-play unit.

“I just wanted to get the first shift underway,” Smith said of the excitement of his first NHL game. “After that, I felt settled in. Once the first shift ended, I got back on the bench, took a depth breath and just played.”

This level of play from the smooth-skating rearguard will come as no surprise to Chiefs fans, or WHL fans for that matter. But it comes as much-welcomed contribution for a Devils squad that has found itself rebuilding in recent seasons.

Ever since having his name called first overall in the 2015 WHL Draft, big things have been expected of Smith and he has followed through in impressive fashion. He earned WHL Scholastic Player of the Year recognition in 2017-18, and served up an encore by winning back-to-back WHL Defenceman of the Year honours in 2018-19 and 2019-20 – the first to repeat since Kris Russell with the Medicine Hat Tigers (2005-06, 2006-07). A three-time WHL First-Team All-Star, Smith also represented Team WHL on two occasions at the CIBC Canada Russia Series, including captaining the squad in 2019-20.

Though the Devils dropped their season opener to the Bruins in a shootout by a 3-2 margin, they avenged the opening-night defeat by knocking off the Bruins 2-1 in overtime on Saturday afternoon.

Next up, Smith and the Bruins face former Moose Jaw Warriors captain Brett Howden and the New York Rangers on Tuesday, January 19 at 5 p.m. MT.

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