Player evaluation: Smyth
This season: 82 games, 23 goals, 24 assists, 35 penalty minutes, 18:02 average ice time.
The good: Smyth turned 35 during the season and has now played more than 1,000 NHL games with a fearless style that leads to him absorbing much punishment. It seemed reasonable that Smyth’s production might start to dip, but once again he was a 20-goal scorer and a power-play contributor. A couple Kings prospects also singled out Smyth for his willingness to help them, on and off the ice, transition to the NHL His work ethic is among the best on the team.
The bad: Never the fastest, strongest skater to begin with, Smyth now has to work even harder simply to keep up. He is particularly effective when parked to the side of the net, or with the puck behind the net, but transition plays, going through the middle of the ice, have a tendency to expose Smyth a bit, particularly on defense. The Kings should be getting more than 47 points from a $6.25-million salary, but that’s not Smyth’s fault for getting himself a good deal.
Going forward: Smyth has one season left on his contract, and turns 36 in February. At this point, he shows no signs of wanting to retire — he’s still one of the last players off the ice every day — so perhaps he will be motivated to show teams that he is deserving of a contract beyond this season. Based on his experience and smart play, Smyth is still a top-six forward, but does his body have the ability to crank out yet another 20-goal season?