C.J. Smith--Left Wing
DOB: December 1, 1994 (age, 25)
Draft: Undrafted college FA
How acquired: Signed by Buffalo out of UMASS-Lowell (3-30-2017)
Last contract signed: July 16, 2018, 1yr. $874,125
Final year of contract: 2018-19
2018-19 Stats: 11 games | 2 goals | 0 assists | 2 points | even | 10:39 ATOI
Buffalo Career Stats: 13 games | 2 goals | 1 assists | -1 | 10:47 ATOI
What we wrote preseason: N/A
What we wrote mid-season: N/A
Impressions on his play this year: C.J. Smith did most of his work in the AHL with the Rochester Americans this season and built upon the foundation he laid out two years ago. In his second season with the Amerks, Smith was second on the team in goals (28,) assists (30) and points (58) while also leading the team with a +26 rating and it should also be pointed out that only six of his goals came on the powerplay. In 119 AHL games Smith has 102 points (45+57) and is a plus 30.
Smith was incredibly consistent in an all-situations role for Rochester last season and of all the prospects on the Amerks, he was the one that stood out with his speed, quickness and overall sense for the game. In his 62 games last seasons he never went more than two games without a point. The 5'11" 181 lb. Smith got the call from Buffalo last season and never really looked out of place. Although his ice-time was limited he did manage to score a couple goals on a team that was out of whack.
It would seem as if Smith has all the qualities general manager Jason Botterill likes in a player and to their credit, the Sabres have not rushed his development. In the end Buffalo could have themselves a versatile player on a low-dollar contract that would be beneficial to the club in a number of ways.
Questions moving forward: Will Smith slot into a bottom-six role in Buffalo? How much quality penalty kill time can they get out of him? Can he continue his development at the NHL-level? What might that development look like? Has he shown enough promise to land a two-year deal?
Contract info via CapFriendly, stats via sabres.com and hockey reference.com.