Skip to main content

Jerred Smithson

Jerred Smithson was a classic late bloomer.

A solid but unspectacular player for five seasons with the WHL Calgary Hitmen, he was never drafted into either the WHL or NHL. The native of Vernon, BC had to walk on to the team. Even though he only scored 47 goals total in give seasons in junior, he became a mainstay through his dogged determination.

After getting not even a sniff at multiple NHL drafts, the Los Angeles Kings signed him as a free agent late in his last WHL season. He turned pro in 2000-01, though his pro career almost got derailed before he got started. He required surgery on both shoulders that sidelined him for all but 27 minor league games.

"That first year was tough. Getting my right shoulder operated on in the summer and then coming into camp and finding out my left needed to be done, too," he told Randy Sportak of the Calgary Sun. "I only played about 20 games and was out of shape from the operations. I wasn't having fun coming to the rink because my shoulders were pretty sore."

The NHL must have seemed pretty far off Smithson's radar at that point. But he worked hard at rehabbing his shoulders and returned the next year, surprising to play a full season and develop his game.

That determination paid off in 2002-03 when Smithson played in 22 total games for the Los Angeles Kings.  The Kings, decimated by injuries, appreciated Smithson's play.

"He's been good for us and a guy that's taken advantage of the opportunity. He's getting bigger and stronger and is willing to hit everything that moves. The way he played in Calgary is the way he's playing here now," said Kings' coach Andy Murray.

"What Jerred has to do is make sure it's not a 20-game career," Murray continued. "What this should do is help him come to training camp thinking, 'I'm an NHL player.' "I don't know, in his own mind, if he totally believed that before."

Murray's words proved to be very prophetic, though Smithson would have to wait until after the 2005 lockout to catch on with another team.

Smithson would play nearly eight full seasons with the Nashville Predators. He achieved such unusual certainty in hockey by being a favorite of coach Barry Trotz thanks to his excellent face-off ability and penalty killing prowess. He could play all three forward positions getting somewhere around 10 to 12 minutes a night. And those minutes were usually defensively tough minutes. It was rare that he would get to start in the offensive zone. He did exactly what he was asked to do - block shots, clear the puck, dump it into the other team's zone and get off the ice.

"It shows you never know," Smithson said. "You just go out there and play hard, control what you can.

"I don't put up a lot of (offensive) numbers, which I'd like to change. But I know what got me here and I know what's going to keep me here - being strong defensively. All the little things."

Smithson would wind down his career with quick appearances in Florida, Edmonton and Toronto. All in all, Jerred Smithson beat the long odds and played in 606 NHL games, scoring 39 goals and 96 points.

After taking a year off in 2014 Smithson came out of retirement and signed with the Danish club Herning.

“It will take some time for me to adjust to the larger ice surface but I love the idea of handling the puck more and not being forced to dump it in as much as I had to in the past. I’m really excited about being back on the ice playing again and having the opportunity to travel the world with the family.”


Terry Dill said…
Nice article. Always appreciated what he brought to Nashville.

Popular posts from this blog

100 Greatest Hockey Players Of All Time

What follows is a listing of the 100 greatest hockey players of all time, in my opinion. As discussed earlier, the definition of greatness is a very personalized endeavor and there is absolutely nothing wrong with it.
While there is no way of ever truly ranking the top 100 definitively, it is important for the creators of such lists to be open and transparent of how the came to their conclusions. That accountability allows the reader to better understand the process. 

Although admittedly I'm using a completely unscientific formula, I weigh career achievements (era statistics, awards, championships) and legacy (impact on and off ice, peak dominance) equally high. I rank player ability as the third most important ingredient, as first and foremost as a tie breaker. Hence, I'm not necessarily looking for the better player, as in text book definitions of what a hockey player should be, but for players with the greatest careers and greatest legacies. Therefore the best player is not n…

Top Ten Junior Players Of All Time

Let's take a look at the Top Ten junior players of all time. For the purposes of this list we will at players in the WHL, OHL and QMJHL only.

10. Pat Lafontaine, Verdun, QMJHL Rookie-record 104 goals, 234 points in 1982-83; major junior player of the year.

9. Denis Potvin, Ottawa, OHL 254 games, 95 goals, 234 assists, 329 points. Broke Bobby Orr's junior records.

8. John Tavares, Oshawa, OHL 215 goals, 433 points in 247 games; most goals in OHL history; eligibility rules changed to admit him at 15; 2006 major junior rookie of the year, 2007 major junior player of the year; two world juniors, named 2009 all-star, top forward and MVP.

7. Sidney Crosby, Rimouski, QMJHL 120 goals, 303 points in 121 games; two-time major junior player of the year; silver and gold with Canada at two world juniors.

6. Eric Lindros, Oshawa, OHL 97 goals, 216 points in 95 games; one Memorial Cup victory; three world junior tournaments; major junior player of the year in 1991.

5. Mike Bossy, Laval, Q…

Greatest Hockey Legends: M