Oshawa Generals right wing Hunter Smith is one year removed from slipping through the cracks at the 2013 NHL Draft at Prudential Center in Newark, N.J.
The expectations are much greater this year when the 2014 draft is held at Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, June 27-28.
"I didn't expect to be drafted after the year I had [in 2012-13], so it just gave me motivation to want it more this year and clearly it has paid off," Smith said. "I wanted to prove to teams [at the NHL Scouting Combine] that even though I'm a year late I still have a lot to bring. I wanted to give them a reason to draft me and show them that I'm going to be a pro one day."
After being passed over at the 2013 draft, following a season in which he played just 30 games after sustaining a hand injury, Smith rebounded in 2013-14 with 16 goals, 40 points and 100 penalty minutes in 64 games for the Generals. He followed that up with a great postseason, generating three goals, 11 points and 25 penalty minutes in 12 OHL playoff matches.
A gifted power forward projected to be a future second-line performer, he has a propensity for dropping the gloves whenever needed to defend a teammate.