Nashville, Tenn. (March 18, 2020) - Nashville Predators President of Hockey Operations/GM David Poile announced today that the team has signed forward Cole Smith to a one-year, two-way deal for the 2020-21 season.
Smith, 24 (10/28/95), recorded a career-high 11 goals and 18 points in 34 games this season with the University of North Dakota, his senior campaign. His 11 goals - including a tally in his final game on March 7 vs. Omaha to help the Fighting Hawks win the NCHC regular-season title - were the fifth-most on his team and helped lead North Dakota to a 26-5-4 record. Smith was a factor on the power play and penalty kill during his senior season - he finished fifth on North Dakota in goals on the man-advantage with three, and he was one of three players on his team to tally a shorthanded goal. The 6-foot-3, 197-pound forward was named an alternate captain by his peers in 2019-20, and he finished his four-year career at North Dakota with 51 points (24g-27a) in 137 games.
"He is a big, strong guy who has gotten better every year," Predators Assistant General Manager and Director of Player Personnel Jeff Kealty said. "If you talk to the people at North Dakota, they just rave about the character traits that he has - his competitiveness, his drive, his physicality, all those ingredients he adds to a team in a winning environment. We feel like he's going to be able to add all of that to our organization."
Undrafted, the Brainerd, Minn., native earned multiple team honors while at North Dakota, including the Cliff "Fido" Purpur Award in 2018-19, given to the Fighting Hawks player who exemplifies hard work and determination, and the Most Improved Player Award as a sophomore in 2017-18. He also skated three seasons (2017-19) with Predators prospect Grant Mismash, a Predators 2017 second-round draft pick. Prior to enrolling at North Dakota, Smith spent two years with the Steinbach Pistons of the Manitoba Junior Hockey League, leading his team in goals (26) and points (61) in 2015-16.