Calgary announced the re-signing of Derek Smith today. The journeyman defender found a home on Calgary’s blueline against long odds this season. The deal is two years at $775k per year. Notably for Smith, who has battled to stay in the big league for a long time, it is a one-way contract.
The contract is a decent one. Before being injured, Smith was a capable depth option for the Flames. He never quite consistently cracked the top-four rotation of Giordano, Hannan, Butler and Bouwmeester, but he seems to be a better option than, say, Anton Babchuk or Corey Sarich. Smith is 27-years old and was averaging about 17 minutes before his injury.
In terms of quality of competition, Smith faced the 5th toughest behind the four aforementioned guys above. His zone start has also been the second easiest behind rookie TJ Brodie (50.9%). I’ve seen some superlatives thrown around about Smith in various places since the signing, but let’s put this into perspective: he’s a depth defender who survived in relatively soft minutes. He’s also only been around for 32 games, which a really small sample to judge a player by.
The contract is cheap and short, though, so there’s little to no risk attached. If Smith runs in place or improves, he’s good value. If he regresses, it’s not a hard ticket to demote or trade away. He’s at an age where he should be in his prime professionally and his skillset of mobility and puck distribution are good assets to have on the back-end.
Put me down as in favor.