Colin Smith was not projected to be drafted in 2012, but the Colorado Avalanche took a chance and chose him as the 192nd overall pick. He was not expected to play at the NHL level, but made his NHL debut last season. Now, looking ahead, Smith plans to do whatever he can to make the Avalanche roster this year.
This is not Smith’s first time at Avs training camp and he said he wants to make an impression.
“This is my third time, and I really want to try and make a statement and solidify myself,” Smith said after a day of rookie camp this week. “There are a lot of guys and I just want to do anything I can and stick out in their eyes.”
The 2014-15 campaign was his second season with the Lake Erie Monsters. He improved his shooting percentage from 6.3 to 11.3 and saw his points per game increase from .447 to .585. The 22-year old finished with 31 points (12 goals and 19 assists) in 53 games before an injury ended his year.
“With getting injured at the end of the season, I really feel that I’m flying under the radar, and I’ve been doing that my whole life,” said the Edmonton native.
Before the Monsters, Smith played five seasons in the WHL with the Kamloops Blazers. During his first season in 2008-09, he earned four points in eight games. In his final campaign with the Blazers in 2012-13, Smith tallied 106 points (41 goals and 65 assists) in 72 games.
Despite his improvement, Smith wasn’t selected in 2011, his first draft-eligible year. In fact, his name was not called until the seventh round of the 2012 NHL Draft.
“It hasn’t been easy for me going through a whole draft and then almost going through another, getting picked in the seventh round,” Smith told ColoradoAvalanche.com after being selected. “But that’s why I carry a chip on my shoulder and try and prove that I’m worth more than that.”
The 5-foot-10, 175-pound forward knows that people see his size as a disadvantage, but he plans to change their mind.
“Everyone is going to look at my size and that will probably stick out as a negative. I want to show what I can do with the rest of my game and try to be relentless, work hard, and use my skill when I can.”
However, despite his stature Smith was called up to play a game with the Avalanche last season, on Dec. 1 against the Montreal Canadiens. He was on the ice for 6:06 and finished with one shot, one hit and he won 40 percent of his faceoffs.
“I’m so grateful for the opportunity, but now I want to get back there and make an impact,” Smith said of his taste at the top tier of the sport. “First time around, you feel lucky to be there and kind of taking it in. I really want to try and get there and prove that I can play there.”