Ty Smith is going to be a major piece of the future of the New Jersey Devils franchise. The 2018 first-round pick has been marinating down in the WHL all season, dominating the competition and honing his skills for his inevitable jump to the professional ranks.
The Devils have been staying the course with the young player, wanting him to be fully ready for the NHL before he arrives. It's a strategy that often rewards that patience, especially with defensemen, who sometimes take longer to reach their peak. A lengthy stint in the American Hockey League might be the path forward for Smith, unless he shines and earns a spot out of camp. However long it takes for Smith to reach the NHL, the Devils are confident it will be worth the wait.
In our first installment of our Thursday's Three Things series, we take a look at three things to know about Smith's season.
1. RECORD SETTER
While Smith is a defenseman by position, explosive offensive numbers are a common occurrence. Smith had one particular extraordinary evening late in February.
Smith broke the Spokane Chiefs franchise record with an eight-point night against Seattle on Feb. 28. It was a record Smith had previously set himself with seven points.
Smith had three goals and five assists on the night in a 9-2 victory for his Chiefs. His teammates had the perfect plan to celebrate such an achievement.
The good ones get better and better as the season rolls along. Ty Smith is dominant in the month of February over the course of his career. He has 60 points (17-43-60) in February WHL games.
2. GOLDEN BOY
For those playing junior hockey, fewer achievements are sweeter than winning World Juniors gold. Smith secured his ticket to World Juniors this season, representing Team Canada.
Smith recorded three assists in seven tournament games and took one penalty. Canada beat Russia 4-3 in the Final, spurred by a three-goal third period.
Smith wore the "A" for the Canadians and played 17:08 in that final game, the third most minutes among Canadian defensemen.
3. CAREER HIGH
As expected, Smith has taken strides in each of his WHL seasons. Last year, the Devils prospect was named CHL Defenseman of the Year.
He followed up that campaign with a whopping 19-goal 2019-20 shortened season, scoring that many in just 46 games. He had a total of 59 points, which is fourth in WHL scoring amongst defenders. His 19 goals are third among the same group and are a career-high.
The Chiefs captain had a remarkable season and moves forward into the next stage of his hockey career in 2020-21.