Detroit Red Wings
General Manager Ken Holland announced Thursday that defenseman Brendan Smith
, the team's first pick in the 2007 Entry Draft, has signed a three-year, entry-level contract. No other terms of the deal were disclosed.
Smith, 21, spent the past three seasons playing for the University of Wisconsin of the Western Collegiate Hockey Association under the watch of coach Mike Eaves, the father of Wings forward Patrick Eaves
. The Badgers made it to the championship game this season before losing to Boston College.
"Brendan improved tremendously in each of his three seasons at Wisconsin," Holland said in a statement. "He was a dominant player at the collegiate level, in particular at his position, and we feel he is ready to take the next step in his career at the professional level. We look forward to having him at training camp in Traverse City in September."
Smith, taken with the 27th pick in the '07 draft, enjoyed a stellar junior season at Wisconsin in 2009-10, leading the nation's defensemen in scoring with 15 goals and 52 points. He was one of 10 finalists for the Hobey Baker Award, given annually to the nation’s top collegiate hockey player.
The 6-foot-2, 190-pounder was named to the All-WCHA First Team and was chosen as the WCHA Defensive Player of the Year. Smith became the first Badger defenseman to record 50 points in a season since 1989-90 and the first to score at least 10 power-play goals in a season since 1979-80. In three seasons at Wisconsin, Smith scored 26 goals and 61 assists for 87 points, along with 177 PIM.