This time last year, Ty Smith looked like the future of the New Jersey Devils’ blueline.
The four-year WHL standout’s game translated to the NHL almost immediately and he earned Calder Trophy votes. By the end of the 2021 season, Smith led the New Jersey Devils defencemen in scoring while averaging over 20 minutes per game, the third-highest rate on the team.
But last season, a revamped Devils’ blueline pushed Smith to the bottom pair, and just like that, his effectiveness evaporated. He was recently traded to the Pittsburgh Penguins for John Marino and a third-round pick in the 2023 NHL Draft.
Now, Smith represents an opportunity for the Penguins to help turn a once-top prospect into a bonafide top-four defenceman.