Smith, 51, served as assistant coach for the Edmonton Oilers the past four seasons. The Glasgow, Scotland native also spent one season as an assistant coach for the Calgary Flames in 1997-98 before returning to the ice as a player for the Flames for three more seasons.
"Steve had a solid career as a player and has gained valuable coaching experience with two teams, especially when it comes to working with young defensemen," Hurricanes general manager Ron Francis said.
Selected by the Oilers in the sixth round of the 1981 NHL Draft, Smith played 804 regular-season games and had 375 points (72 goals, 303 assists) and 2,139 penalty minutes as a defenseman with Edmonton, Chicago and Calgary. He was a part of three Stanley Cup championship teams with the Oilers, and advanced to the Stanley Cup Final twice more with the Blackhawks, scoring 52 points (11 goals, 41 assists) in 134 postseason games.